The fight is on to save Merley bus service
THE re-routing of the 4d bus will not only leave Merley residents without a service to Bournemouth, it will mean that people living in Kinson and Bear Cross will be unable to travel into Wimborne.
Yellow Buses introduced the Bournemouth to Wimborne service in 2011, but the operator has announced that from 2nd November it will operate via Parley, Ferndown and Leigh Road to Wimborne but will no longer serve Kinson, Bearwood and Merley.
Aware of the huge public concern - The Stour and Avon Magazine has already received a number of letters on the subject - the local MP Annette Brooke, together with Councillor David Brown who represents Merley and Bear Wood on the Borough of Poole, has set up bus service public meetings.
The first is on Saturday 19th October, from 1-3pm at Lantern Lounge, Chichester Walk, Merley and the other is on Saturday 19 October. 3.30- 5.30pm at Bearwood Community Centre, King John Avenue.
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Annette has invited representatives from Yellow Buses, Wilts & Dorset / Damory buses and Borough of Poole. The times of the meetings have been scheduled to fit in with bus timetables for people to get to the meetings and the venues are on the main bus routes.
Mrs Brooke said: "We don't want to put one area against another, but I am concerned about the people of Merley and Bear Wood."
Councillor Brown said he had been contacted by 50 local residents who would be disadvantaged.
"It will affect children who need to travel from Merley to Allenbourn and QE Schools plus those who work in the town," said Councillor Brown. "Also young people going from Merley to Bournemouth and Poole College at the Lansdowne."
He added that he had been in contact with Yellow Buses and Poole Council's transportation officers over the past week and presented the case to a meeting of Poole Council's Route and Branch Member Working Group - which looks at bus services - last Friday 27 September.
"At the meeting I was able to get them to agree a recommendation that transportation services officers will urgently continue to liaise with Yellow Buses, other bus operators, Bournemouth Council, Dorset County Council, schools and Poole Borough ward councillors for the affected areas to look for amended or replacement services." he said.
Councillor Brown said he realised that it was unlikely that Yellow Buses would back down, but he was hoping they might agree to adjust their plans.
"However, I am hopeful that a replacement bus service to Allenbourn Middle School and QE in Wimborne will be secured, although it is unclear at the moment if this will cover just Merley or Bearwood and further afield as well," he said.
Mrs Ozdemir, who lives in Merley said: "I have been using the 4d bus for over 18 months to commute to work in Bournemouth and have just renewed my glo-card for a further three months. This is the only route from Merley to Bournemouth and, at a time when the government are encouraging use of public transport and reduction in car travel, this is an irresponsible thing to do apparently based only on cost even though passenger numbers have been steadily -if slowly - increasing.
"There should be more buses provided, not less, backed up by suitable advertising and incentives to encourage people to use them more.
At the very least there should have been a consultation period with the public and alternatives such as link buses between Wimborne/Merley/Bearwood, small more cost efficient buses, etc considered."
She added that she would have to revert back to using her car.
"This will increase pollution and traffic for Dorset. For those residents who rely on regular, safe public transport and are not lucky enough to be able to afford and maintain their own car there is no option at all.
"Whilst I am sure Stapehill residents are delighted to have a new bus service, this will be the fourth bus service for that area and is done at the expense of leaving Merley residents stranded."
Beryl Luff lives in Kinson, but she picks up a copy of the Stour and Avon Magazine in Ferndown or Wimborne.
"I am very disappointed as I like to go to Wimborne every week, as it has so much to offer. I love the shops and the Minster, but now I won't be able to get there."
Jenni Wilkinson, head of marketing, Yellow Buses, said: "We appreciate that our decision to re-route the 4d, while welcomed by residents in the Leigh Road area of Wimborne, has disappointed our customers in Merley.
"These decisions are never taken lightly. As we stressed in 2011, when the service began, we needed people to vote with their feet and use the route in order for it to be sustainable in the long-term. Sadly, and despite our best efforts including extensive marketing of the route, that has not been the case."