A round-town bus service in Bridport has been introduced, it aims to fulfil a public transport need and reduce social isolation.
The Number 7 (Bridport Local) bus will operate on Wednesdays and Saturdays for a six-month trial period across Bridport, West Bay, Bothenhampton, Lower Walditch, Bradpole and Allington. First Wessex will run the service under contract to Bridport Town Council, with a £2 single/£3 return fare. Concessionary passes can be used, and while buses will stop at all First Wessex stops, they can also be hailed along the route.
The initiative has been championed by a working group of town and parish councils. The Bridport Local Area Partnership and the Western Area Transport Action Group and is a response to the withdrawal of services previously subsidised by Dorset County Council. Bridport town Clerk Will Austin said that the group was keen to see the service fulfil a social function – ‘So many people say to me that the bus used to be a sociable place where they would meet and chat and this service will provide that opportunity.’
The trial period will show whether or not the service can be sustained in the long run and concessionary pass users will be encouraged to help meet the cost. ‘Its very much a ‘use it or lose it’ service said Mr Austin. Allmoney collected will go directly back into funding the service.
Timetables and route maps will be available from local outlets including Bridport’s Bus Station and Tourist Information.