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Concerns raised over three East Dorset bus routes cut by county council
THREE East Dorset bus services used by thousands of people each year have been cut by the county council.
The services, which serve Wimborne, Colehill, Ferndown and Parley, have been lost following a public consultation as the council seeks to save £850,000 from its £2.8 million bus subsidy expenditure.
All three will change or be lost completely from April 1 next year.
Councillor Janet Dover said: “These three services are used by many, many people, and the effect this will have is huge.”
The number 13 service, which currently runs until 11.55pm at night, will stop at 5.30pm each day, while the circular 88 bus and the 89 Saturday service will be lost for good.
Cllr Dover, ward councillor for Colehill East, said: “I am absolutely dismayed about the loss of these services.
“I am concerned about each change, for different reasons. The 13 stopping at 5.30pm will affect many who use it to come home from work.
“The 88 allows people to get into Wimborne town centre for appointments, and is vital for elderly people who don’t drive. The 89 only operates on one day of the week, and takes people to Castlepoint and the Royal Bournemouth Hospital. It is so frustrating and the impact will be huge.”
Services saved following the consultation include the 844 service, used by children living on the Heatherlands estate in Ferndown to get to school.
Cllr Dover said: “I was optimistic that these three services would be saved after we heard that the 844 would keep going.
“I am shocked and very disappointed indeed about this decision.”
Detailed negotiations with bus companies enabled the council to find additional savings of around £120,000, which will be used to retain services in isolated rural areas.
Cllr Hilary Cox, the council’s cabinet member for the environment, said: “This review is not something we have undertaken lightly, and we fully understand that some bus services offer a lifeline to residents without transport of their own.
“Unlike many councils, we are still putting a substantial amount of money – £2 million – into supporting local bus services. And as part of this package we are also investing an additional £25,000 to help community transport schemes start up. There are already 60 voluntary car schemes, dial-a-rides and other community transport initiatives in existence across the county, helping overcome rural isolation.”
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