MANY rural Dorset bus routes are of little, or no use – according to some Dorset councillors.

One told of the impossibility of making certain journeys, including from East Dorset to Poole, which would only allow 22 minutes in the town before having to catch the last bus back.

The claims are backed by an online public survey which shows only 29 per cent of those who responded being satisfied or very satisfied with bus services.

The debate about buses came after Dorset Council failed to win any Government funding to improve services, while the Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch area, won £8.9million.

Head of Dorset Travel Sue McGowan told the council’s place and resources scrutiny committee that it remained a mystery why the Dorset bid failed to achieve any Government funding.

She said that the lack of award was not a reflection on the quality of the Dorset bid with only 31 out of 79 applications getting the help they asked for and not all of those which were successful being funded in full.

She said that many of those who did win awards concentrated on capital spending; creating bus lanes for example; projects which, she said, were generally more suited to an urban rather than a rural environment.

Cabinet member Cllr Ray Bryan said the county already had a depleted bus network at the time it put in “an absolutely cracking” £130m bid for bus service improvement – and was still waiting for an explanation why the county received nothing.

“I’m sat here seething because we’re left trying to defend something when we don’t know what the problem was in the first place.”

Cllr Bryan said he had made a presentation to the Parliamentary Transport Select Committee about how Dorset and other rural areas were neglected when it came to public transport funding.

St Leonards and St Ives councillor Cllr Barry Goringe cited problems for bus users in his area getting to Poole.

“You would have no chance at all of doing anything in Poole. If you had a hospital appointment, for example, you would have 22 minutes to get that over with and back on the bus again…the 38 bus is not fit for purpose and ends at 1.10pm every day. There is no service after that time,” he said.