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Campaigner Launches Petition to Save Martinstown Bus

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8:04am 16th April 2014

Cut off from the outside world.  That's what Jon Walker says villagers in Martinstown will be, when First Bus cut the Number 31 service.

The bus route currently calls through the village every hour, taking passengers to Dorchester, but from the 24th May it will run just twice a day.

First Dorset say it's no longer financially viable ti run the service that often as its not used enough.

Jon's now started a petition - he says the impact will be huge.

"It's obviously going to affect everyone who uses the bus service during the day time going to Dorchester. Elderly people who have hospital appointments, people who don't have cars to rely on and mum's with kids."

" We've got 173 supporters to date.  I felt the need for action immediately.  And unless the voice of the people is heard quickly I feel it will be too late."

To sign Jon's petition to keep the number 31 service CLICK HERE.

A First spokesperson said: "The main reason for the change is to improve the reliability of the service and match the resources in use against demand.  This service fulfils a large number of roles across the length of the route, including school movements and links to Axminster and Dorchester South railway stations. It also provides the local service between Bridport, Lyme Regis and Axminster where most customers are carried.

"At times, this route had been failing to fulfil these roles including missing trains at stations and not getting to the school on time. We therefore recognised that the timetable required a wholesale review because, with the resources available, we could not continue to serve everyone.  The timetable was therefore realigned to provide journeys where most customers are travelling, including as a priority meeting the trains at Axminster and Dorchester South stations.  We have consulted with TravelWatch South West and with Bus/Rail Integration specialists and we believe that we will now be successful at achieving these connections.  In order to do this, however most journeys during the day will no longer serve Martinstown.  We have managed to retain the two busiest peak journeys to and from Dorchester through the village which accounts for around a third of the passengers travelling.  Most other journeys are made off peak by concessionary travellers.

'We have met with Dorset County Council in order to discuss the situation and to see whether alternative provision can be made for the off peak concessionary customers, but at this time no firm replacement services have been identified except for Service 61 which operates on Wednesdays through the village to and from Dorchester.

'We are happy to meet with the residents of the village and Dorset County Council in order to explore every opportunity to find a solution for those people where the two peak journeys do not meet their travel requirements.'

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