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Subsidised bus routes shake-up plan 'too radical', say campaigners
PLANS to cut around 80 subsidised bus routes have been condemned as “too radical” by a campaign group.
Dorset County Council is set to revamp the subsidised bus services in 2014 in a bid to save money and several routes into Bournemouth and Poole are among those heading for the chop.
The leader of Dorset County Council, Cllr Spencer Flower said the changes would save £850,000, but he raised some concerns about rural isolation.
Bournemouth’s cabinet member for transport, Cllr Michael Filer, said: “Our main priority is to ensure nobody will be left without a service. It’s really just some tinkering on the fringes.”
The new arrangements include withdrawing rural services which are said to cost the county council more than £5 per passenger and carry less than seven people per journey.
Cllr Flower said: “My main concern is rural isolation, but many of the buses have very little usage and we have had to look at ways of providing a better value for money service by empowering local groups to work together.”
Dorset County Council is now looking into community-based travel schemes including voluntary car sharing to try and reduce the impact of the cuts.
One of the bus services put forward to be withdrawn is the 322 service which runs between Milton Abbas and Poole.
An elderly resident from Corfe Mullen said: “These changes completely lack forward thinking as for so many people these buses represent a real life-line.” Simon Thompson from Dorset Community Action said: “There has not been enough work on the impact these cuts will have on those who rely on buses to get into work on time. The changes are far too radical and there needs to be further investigation.”
Bus users are currently being asked what impact the planned changes to Dorset services will have on them in an online survey on the travel section on dorsetforyou.com which closes on September 24.
Results from the consultation will be presented to the Dorset County Council cabinet on October 2 and a final decision will be made.
If you want to have your say visit the travel section of dorsetforyou.com or write to Dorset Passenger Transport, Dorset County Council, County Hall, Dorchester, DT1 1XJ clearly stating which bus service you are commenting on.
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