A crucial local bus service has been saved by Dorset Community Transport (DCT) after it was nearly lost forever following council funding cuts.
When Dorset transport funding was withdrawn in July 2017, many users of Service 97 - which connects residents from a number of East Dorset villages to their nearest towns - feared their route out of isolation would be cut forever.
Luckily DCT was able to step in, continuing its bright green buses on the route without subsidy since the end of July, and saving the crucial local lifeline from being withdrawn.
Since then, a group of councils led by Alderholt Parish Council came together to fund the route, and a new timetable was introduced on 2nd January.
Tim Christian, General Manager of DCT, said:
“In a time of austerity cuts, and ever-dwindling facilities in rural villages, bus routes into town like Service 97 are the only way many people can access basic necessities.
“Since DCT has been running this service for the last six years, we were keen to ensure continuity for residents, despite the lack of subsidy while local communities were formulating a long-term solution. This is a prime example of what can be achieved when neighbouring parishes come together and work in partnership with a local community transport operator to provide a much needed service.”
Cheryl Arnold, a Service 97 driver, said:
“People need a reliable regular service: it’s their lifeline. We have many elderly or less mobile passengers who tell me that the Service 97 is their only route into town to buy their groceries or visit relatives. I don’t know what they would do if it were to end.”
Service 97 timetables are available from the parish offices or on our website here.