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Rural bus service in Chard will be scrapped
PEOPLE who use a “vital” bus in Chard have been left saddened after finding out the service will be scrapped.
The number 14 bus, operated by Dorset County Council, runs from the Guildhall in Chard through Forde Abbey and Thorncombe before finishing in Marshwood.
It is expected to stop next Sunday, April 6, but regular passengers say it is an integral part of the community and will be missed.
Pam Dowell said: “It’s awful because people like me have no transport, so we rely on the public services.”
Jill White said: “If it stops it means a community link will have gone.
“It’s not like any other bus because it helps the most vulnerable people in the area.
“People will turn over a chair outside their house so the driver and other passengers know where to stop, and I’ve even helped people take their shopping bags into their house.
“This bus means an awful lot to loads of people – it’s a vital service and hugely important to the area.”
Judith Every said: “This bus is a lot cheaper than the other ones and more reliable.”
Paul Taylor, who has driven the bus for 18 months for Dorset Community Transport, said it is a shame it will stop because it caters for 20 to 30 people every day.
He said: “A lot of people who don’t drive out in the villages will find it hard because they rely on the bus to get to doctor, dentist and optician appointments in Chard.”
In December, Dorset councillors voted through plans to withdraw bus services used by fewer than seven passengers a day – a spokesman said the number 14 is only used by five people.
He said: “All services were reviewed and a criterion was set – we had to make savings.”
The council also said all “urban services” costing over £3 per passenger would also be withdrawn – the number 14 bus costs the council £4.55 per passenger.
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