End of the story for the Martyrs’ 387?

19 April 2012

Half term in Dorset.  Visited Tolpuddle to learn about the Martyrs’ story and took the opportunity to check out bus stops which looked well-kept. The 387, operated by Damory, now part of the Go-Ahead group stops there, but maybe not for much longer. Posters in the shelter urge residents to write to their local MP and the Council protesting about the imminent closure.  Not the whole story. Apparently this is a fully commercial route which is not supported by the local authority. However, Damory decided the figures did not work so planned to cut the route. The local authority protested and a stay of execution was granted while a procurement exercise is gone through to get support. The procurement was done wrongly and restarted. Meanwhile the local authority is paying to keep the service going until a decision is made in June about who might run the service and on what terms. The number of school kids using the service means something needs to be done. This seems a shame. Tolpuddle is a well-established tourist destination, has some new housing and seems like a prosperous place. Still has a pub, but the post office seems long gone. Looks like it might just get a bit quieter still. I suspect this story is being played out all over the country. How can people plan their lives around this uncertainty? Anyone who can buy a car, will get one.

There must be better ways for local authorities to procure services and for bus companies to give their passengers more certainty. Often it just seems the attitude is, “here’s a service – use it if you want or have to”, rather than really planning long-term services around passenger needs.

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