THE West Dorset Western Area Transport Action Group (WATAG) will be discussing plans for summer bus services at their next meeting, to be held on Thursday, March 22.
The meeting will be held at the WI Hall in North Street, Bridport (DT6 3QJ) at 6.30pm and will cover summer bus services across the West Dorset area, which are due to start on Sunday, March 25.
Members also hope also to learn about community initiatives to fill some of the gaps in local bus provision and to have an update on the pattern of train services that South Western Railway plan to introduce later this year.
Local councillors, transport operators and Dorset Travel officials have been invited to attend and members of the public are invited to raise any concerns about transport issues.
Recent changes to bus services around Lyme Regis include the withdrawal of the First X52 service in January. Passengers for Beer and the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital no longer have a direct service from Lyme Regis and Stagecoach South West have no plans to alter the 9A service which operates seven days a week between Lyme and Exeter.
A summer timetable is being introduced on the First X51 and X53, which run between Axminster, Lyme Regis and Bridport, with a Sunday and Bank Holiday service reinstated for the holiday season.
The service frequency remains hourly, rather than half-hourly as seen in previous summers, with alternate journeys extended to Dorchester (X51) or Weymouth (X53). On weekdays, there will be some extra Bridport to Dorchester and Bridport to Weymouth journeys offering connections.
The buses will be given longer for their overall journeys to reflect traffic congestion and longer boarding times. Buses will generally be in Lyme about quarter past the hour going towards Axminster, and between 43 and 47 minutes past the hour towards Bridport.
Connections for early morning trains to London from Axminster are improved with buses from Lyme at 6.49am Monday to Friday, and 7.29am Monday to Saturday. They replace the current 7.09am Monday to Friday service and the 7.12am Saturday service, so passengers for the Exeter train will have to leave Lyme earlier than at present.
The school days’ diversion through Whitchurch Canonicorum will no longer operate.
WATAG are concerned about particular aspects of the timetable if it is not enhanced for the six-week high summer period.