Public have their say on bus route changes

Rural areas could be cut off following bus route changes

Rural areas are in danger in being cut off amid upcoming changes to bus services in the Bournemouth area, according to a local councillor.

A public forum to address the removal of Yellow Buses services from 3rd November was held at the Lantern Church in Merley on Saturday.

Bearwood Community Centre also hosted a second meeting later the same afternoon.

Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Mid Dorset and North Poole Vikki Slade said, “We were notified on 11th September about the removal of buses in this area. We announced at that point we were already in negotiations.

“This is part of a much bigger problem. Merley and rural villages are being cut off.”

“This is part of a much bigger problem. Merley and rural villages are being cut off.” – Vikki Slade

The number of people that showed up in Merley meant that the meeting had to be move from the Lantern Lounge to the more expansive church.

A petition drawn up by the Merley and Bearwood council seeking to save bus routes attracted dozens of signatures.

Representatives from bus companies, including Yellow Buses, were expected to make an appearance to respond to public views, but none showed up.

The meeting was arranged by the local council to discuss the re-routing the 4D and 27 services, the former serving both Merley and Bearwood since 2011.

Liberal Democrat MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole Annette Brooke confirmed, “[Yellow Buses] wanted to meet me before this meeting, but I felt that seeing them after taking opinions on board was the best option.”

A statement from Yellow Buses Head of Development Jenni Wilkinson read, “In an ideal world, Yellow Buses would like to run buses to every destination in the area and provide a service for everyone.”

“Both the 4D and 27 services were introduced on a commercial basis with no support from local authorities.”

“Unfortunately the sad fact is there are not enough people travelling on both the 4D and 27 to justify the cost of a commercial service.”

“Changes were proposed with no discussions or consultations, which is very disappointing.” – David Brown

Public feedback to the changes in the buildup had been sizeable.

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Merley and Bearwood David Brown  said, “Up to 100 people got in contact to express issues.”

“Changes were proposed with no discussions or consultations, which is very disappointing.”

Fellow councillor Peter Maiden empathised with Yellow Buses but agreed that the process had not been handled well.

Mr Maiden said “Yellow Buses is a commercial company. If it is under-utilised, they have the right to close it down.

“[But] it is a social link, a social facility, not just a bus route.”

Discussions are continuing about the best solution.

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