TRANSPORT chiefs at Morebus have pledged to keep 70 per cent of their bus services running, following a County Hall decision to cut travel subsidies.

From April, three Morebus routes – the X8 from Poole to Blandford, the number 13 linking Bournemouth, Ferndown and Poole, and the Swanage to Poole Purbeck Breezer 40 service – will lose more than £215,000 of Dorset County Council subsidies.

This money was paid to ensure there was off peak, including evening, and Sunday timetables on these routes.

Now Morebus managing director Andrew Wickham has pledged to keep 70 per cent of bus services running on the three routes.

He said: “I feel that we must support the public who have grown to rely on these routes running in the evenings and weekends.”

However, evening services on the number 50 Swanage to Bournemouth service remain under threat, as Borough of Poole – which pays a subsidy on this route – is currently consulting on whether or not to pull its financial support.

If borough council officials decide to remove the £12,590 subsidy for Monday to Saturday’s route 50, passengers could find that instead of the last bus from Bournemouth leaving at 7.38pm, it could be as early as 5.38pm.

Borough of Poole insist its consultation is not about cancelling the evening services but whether or not to pull its financial backing. If the council were to press ahead, it would be up to the bus company to amend any of its timetables, council officials said.

Asked to respond to that eventuality, a Morebus spokesman told the Daily Echo: “We cannot make any decisions about the number 50 until we find out what Borough of Poole has decided.”

Regular Swanage passenger Jo Gwinnett, who uses the 50 to get to work in Bournemouth, said: “I think it’s a shame we could lose this service. Our only alternative would be two buses and a two hour journey home.”

n On the current Borough of Poole consultation, council passenger transport and accessibility manager John McVey said: “We would encourage anyone affected by the council’s proposals to respond to the consultation before the closing date of February 14.

“However, we will not be making any changes to the routes before April 2014 and any changes to route 50 will be effective from September 2014.”