There was a chance that services 14 and 688 would not go ahead during the week of Christmas, because Boxing Day Bank Holiday falls on a Thursday this year – the one day when both services run every week.
But luckily for regular passengers, DCT will not be taking a break, and will instead run both services on Monday 23 December – giving people living in and around Dorset’s rural villages a chance to access market towns just two days before Christmas.
David Marsh, Parish Councillor for Thorncombe – the village where both bus routes begin – says that ensuring the routes are running just before Christmas is important for residents, many of whom have no other means of travelling to their nearest market towns, which they need for shopping, interconnecting, or for getting to urban bus routes and trains.
“It could have been that there was no service in Christmas week up until 2 January, but DCT is a wonderful charity when it comes to arranging this sort of thing,” says David.
David himself travels on service 14 to get to the town of Chard, and says he enjoys the social atmosphere onboard. “There’s a good feeling on the bus. It’s one of the few times in a week when people get to talk to others.”
His wife Mary Marsh, who is a member of a local group to support the continuation of the local bus services, adds that they provide passengers like herself a chance to stay mobile and independent. “I can’t drive anymore due to a hand injury, and so the local buses mean that I can keep going out.”
“When you are alone this time of year, just being out – amongst the crowds, shopping, having a coffee, chatting away – makes all the difference in the world. We would be literally lost without DCT in our area.”
Tim Christian, general manager at DCT, is pleased that he and his team have been able to adapt to the needs of local people during the festive period. “Thanks to DCT’s ‘can-do’ attitude, we have been able to keep people living in rural villages connected to shops and important local services just before Christmas.
“Hopefully it will also be a great help to those who have left their shopping until the last minute, too!”
Do you know someone that could use Dorset Community Transport to stay active and independent? Contact the team on 01258 287980.