Thirteen bus routes linking Somerset and Dorset are slashed
Thirteen bus routes linking towns and villages in Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire will be cut because they are no longer economic.
The 13 represent one third of the routes operated by South West Coaches.
The firm said the closures are “regrettable” and is urging the public to press councils to help subsidise the services that the public think are most vital.
None of the services is currently supported by a local authority but all have been hit by cuts in the bus operator grant and concessionary fare reimbursement schemes and by the rising costs of fuel.
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Lewis Trahar, the firm’s service manager, said that the rising cost of fuel alone has made the routes uneconomic. Most are long distance, including the Sherborne to Salisbury and Templecombe to Salisbury services.
The cuts will not lead to redundancies because the buses involved also operate on school runs. Mr Trahar said: “Regrettably for some people in the rural parts, it’ll mean the bus that comes once a week won’t come any more. We realise it is a difficult time for local authorities because budgets are under severe pressure. The only way things change today is through political pressure.”
Services affected (and dates when they end)
Gillingham to Yeovil (November 30); Sherborne to Poole (November 26); Sherborne to Salisbury (November 27); Templecombe to Salisbury (November 27); Wincanton to Poole (November 29); Castle Cary to Salisbury (November 29); Gillingham to Yeovil (November 30); Yeovil to Sherborne (November 30) Wincanton to Dorchester (November 28); Wincanton to St Newton (November 26); Chard to Dorchester (November 28); Portland to Weymouth (December 1); Weymouth to Downclose (December 1).