BOURNEMOUTH’S famous open-top bus service has been axed after transporting day-trippers and holidaymakers along the coast for more than four decades.

Transdev Yellow Buses has announced that it will not be running the loss-making number 12 service this summer.

The company blames the decision on poor passenger numbers and the need to concentrate on its core services across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

Three years ago TYB issued a “use it or lose it” plea to open-top bus service fans after plans to axe the service sparked protests from outraged users and a reprieve.

Since then the company has tried a number of initiatives including running buses on just the busiest sections and extending the service to include Bournemouth railway station.

“Seafront 12” took passengers on a scenic coastal route via Sandbanks, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Hengistbury Head using four buses painted in traditional Bournemouth Corporation plum and custard livery, dating back to the 1980s.

Jenni Wilkinson, TYB’s head of marketing, said: “We have examined and, where possible, put into action every possible initiative to increase passenger numbers but to no avail.

“The fact is that in these tough economic times we cannot afford to continue running a loss-making service carrying so few passengers.

“We recognise that this will cause disappointment but our focus must be on the routes we operate throughout the year for our 12 million passengers.”

Andrew Young contacted the Daily Echo after emailing TYB to enquire about the open-top coastal service.

He slammed the decision to axe the service stating that it signalled the end of “more than 40 years of history of a Bournemouth institution.”