Service 6 bus route contract up for renewal later this year

The contract for the Service 6 bus route between Bridport and Yeovil will be up for renewal later this year.

While the Council remains fully supportive of this bus route, Buses of Somerset – which operates the Service 6 bus – has notified the Office of The Traffic Commissioner that the service will be deregistered at the end of October 2022 when the current contract comes to an end.

Buses of Somerset subcontracts some of the journeys to First Wessex, and this part of the contract will also end at the same time.

Passenger numbers on the Service 6 bus were hit hard during the pandemic and it has been a real challenge for the service to recover from this in its current form.

Dorset Council will be looking to work with the local community and transport action groups to create a new service that is fit for purpose and is sustainable into the future. We will also work in collaboration with Somerset County Council and other stakeholders.

A contract for the new service will be put out to tender to local bus operators so that the service can continue.

Cllr Ray Bryan, Dorset Council’s Portfolio Holder for Highways, Travel and Environment, said: –

“It was hoped that passenger numbers would improve as we exited the pandemic, but there has not been enough of a rise to cover the costs of running the service.

We are unable to keep extending our contract with Buses of Somerset as we have reached our regulatory limits, and the Council did not receive any funding for our Bus Service Improvement Plan. Therefore we will have to work within existing funding levels.

We are fully aware of the challenges of improving bus travel across Dorset, and I intend to use every opportunity to find solutions that make bus services more attractive, cheaper, easier to use, faster, more reliable, and greener.

We will work with local bus operators, key stakeholders, passengers and partners to build a sustainable travel offering in this area that puts the passenger first.”

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