Merley residents protest at loss of bus service
SUCH is the disquiet about the loss of a Merley bus service, that around 200 people attended a meeting at the weekend organised by local MP Annette Brooke and Merley and Bearwood Councillor David Brown.
Councillor Brown said: "We anticipated up to 70 people would attend, but in great part due to the recent coverage of this issue in the Stour and Avon Magazine around 200 people arrived - too many to fit in to our original venue so we had to relocate to the Lantern Church to accommodate this massive turnout."
Yellow Buses introduced the 4d Bournemouth to Wimborne service in 2011, but from 2nd November it will be re-routed and will operate via Parley, Ferndown and Leigh Road to Wimborne no longer serving Kinson, Bearwood and Merley.
Mrs Brooke said: "The meeting was very constructive and a number of problems were identified, including isolation of the elderly."
Buy One Dorset Cream Tea (1 large scone, clotted cream, jam and a pot of tea for 1) get one FREE. Why not try our delicious ginger & treacle scones with plum jam?
Terms: Offer available Thursdays and Fridays only. Please note that we are open 10am-4pm. Offer only available to each customer once throughout the period. Check our website for Christmas opening times
Contact: 01929 500509
Valid until: Friday, January 31 2014
She said it had been suggested that the loss of the 4d bus would be bad for Wimborne trade.
Mrs Brooke added: "There is no move to try to poach back the services now allocated to Colehill; I made it very clear, this exercise is not about robbing Peter to pay Paul but looking for solutions for all bus users."
John McVey, passenger transport & accessibility manager at Borough of Poole announced that Poole Council have awarded a contract to Damory Coaches to run the Allenbourn Middle School bus service from Bearwood and Merley to Wimborne after half term to solve one of the problems caused by the withdrawal of the 4d service.
Councillor Brown added: "Merley and Canford Magna residents explained the wide ranging impact the re-routing of the 4d bus will have on their lives. It will stop them from getting in to Wimborne or Bournemouth for shopping and prevent young people getting to Bournemouth University and Bournemouth and Poole College. In addition the time to get to appointments at Bournemouth Hospital could increase from about three quarters of an hour to two and a half hours as they will have to travel via Poole."
No-one from Yellow Buses attended the meeting. However, Jenni Wilkinson, the company's head of marketing sent a statement to the Stour and Avon Magazine.
She said: "In an ideal world Yellow Buses would like to run buses to every destination in the area and provide a service for everyone. Regretfully this is not realistic and ultimately a commercial service is based on demand.
"The 4d service was introduced on a commercial basis with no support from local authorities. We have done significant marketing to try and develop the service and encourage patronage.
Unfortunately, the sad fact is there are not enough people travelling on the 4d to justify the cost of a commercial service."
She added that Yellow Buses had discussions with the local authorities about supporting these services due to a social need, but the level of subsidy required to continue operating is far beyond what is available.
"Merley residents have two other bus services operated by Go Ahead, which are the 4 from Poole to Wimborne and the 32 from Bournemouth to Poole via Winton, Kinson, Bearwood and Merley. We understand that both these services are financially supported by local authorities whereas the Yellow Bus services are completely commercial."
However, Annette Brooke and David Brown have managed to get a meeting with senior management of Yellow Buses today (Friday) when they will put forward suggestions made by residents to improve bus routes.
In addition to Councillor David Brown, the meeting was also attended by Councillors Sandra Cox and Peter Maiden, representing Merley & Bearwood ward and Broadstone Councillors Mike Brooke and Vikki Slade, who is also Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the Mid Dorset seat.