Dorset Community Transport (DCT) has this month announced that holders of a national bus pass can travel for free on its PlusBus service – keeping even more rural residents connected with their communities.
PlusBus is a door-to-door minibus service for people who lack access to ordinary public transport, whether they are young or old – or have mobility difficulties. Passengers can pre-book seats on any of over a dozen routes across the county which link rural villages to market towns.
Tim Christian, general manager at DCT, is delighted that Dorset Council has agreed to extend its bus pass scheme to include the PlusBus: “Now that national bus pass holders can travel on PlusBus for free, we hope even more local people will use the service – whether that’s to go shopping, to a GP appointment or simply to visit friends and family.”
“Dorset is a very rural county and many of our villages aren’t served by any buses whatsoever – residents often have no access to basic amenities such as post offices and banks. For those who can’t drive and have no public transport options nearby, our PlusBus is a lifeline.”
Passenger Mr Parrett is delighted that he is now able to travel on his regular PlusBus service to Blandford for free. “I have had a national bus pass for many years but haven’t been able to use it in my area until now.”
Another regular passenger, Mrs Turner, says that this development has meant that her friends are now considering travelling on the PlusBus for the first time. “I am absolutely thrilled, and I know there are neighbours of mine who are thinking of travelling on PlusBus now.”
In addition to its PlusBus service, DCT also operates four local hail-and-ride bus routes – 14, 97, 88 and 688. These routes were previously run by Dorset County Council but were withdrawn due to funding cuts – leaving many rural communities completely isolated. Working in partnership with local parishes, DCT stepped in to keep these routes up and running and worked with the Council to ensure that national bus pass holders could travel on them for free.
Tim Christian notes that the introduction of the national bus pass onto PlusBus is especially important in the wake of recently released figures from the Department of Transport which demonstrate that local bus passenger journeys in England decreased by 29 million in the year ending March 2019.
“With the number of people travelling on local buses at a national all-time low, DCT’s community transport services are more crucial than ever. We will continue to work hard to ensure that our rural communities are able to remain connected to local facilities and market towns.”
Could you travel for free on our PlusBus services in Dorset? Call 01258 287980 to find out which options are available for you.