'Anger and dismay' over bus cuts in Bridport

'Anger and dismay' over bus cuts in Bridport

Published by Maria Greenwood at 12:01pm 5th February 2020. (Updated at 12:14pm 5th February 2020)

We are angry and dismayed that our citizens who rely on bus services have been deserted." That's from the Leader of Bridport Town Council - Dave Ricker.

"He said:

"We are angry and dismayed that our citizens - who rely on bus services for their livelihood, health and wellbeing - have been deserted.  

"Dorset Council is the transport authority in our area and we need them to act now to reverse the decline."

First Wessex have announced they'll be stopping Service 6 which serves Bridport in May as it's no longer financially viable.

First Wessex Bus (Steve Bulley)

The Town Council says it's the latest in a long line of reductions that have caused job losses, reduced access to hospital and education services, increased rural isolation and loneliness, and prevented potential visitors from contributing to the local economy. 

The Council says fewer buses will also mean increases in car use, in direct conflict with the climate and ecological emergency.

According to a 2019 report published by the Campaign for Better Transport, spending on buses in Dorset reduced from £5.8m per annum in 2010/11 to £1.2m in 2018-19, a reduction of 79% over the course of nine years.  

By comparison, over the same period spending in Cornwall increased slightly, and in neighbouring Devon spending was up by a huge 86%.    

bus seats generic

Cllr Rickard said:

"These similarly rural counties have recognised the vital role that public transport plays for our communities, and in combating the climate crisis.  

"This must also be our objective in Dorset."

The Town Council has called on Dorset Council to take urgent action to provide financial support for previously withdrawn services on key routes, and to arrange a 'stakeholder summit' as a first step towards understanding and delivering the bus services that meet both the needs of the local community and the challenge of climate change.

Dorset Council, south walks house

Cllr Ray Bryan, Dorset Council's portfolio holder for Highways, Travel and Environment said: 

"We're aware of First Wessex's planned withdrawal of this bus service.

"While we do not subsidise this route, we're concerned about the impact this commercial decision will have on the wider public transport network in the area.

"We intend to work with all interested parties to help find the best possible outcome for affected local residents, within our existing budget."