Contract work not the ticket for hard-up bus service

Axe Valley and West Dorset Ring and Ride directors rule out more fixed bookings to raise cash

Directors of the cash-strapped Axe Valley and West Dorset Ring and Ride service have ruled out raising extra funds through additional contract work.

Members of the Axminster and District Seniors’ Forum heard that the idea could actually have a detrimental affect on the existing operations.

Spokesman for the service, Uplyme parish councillor Jonathan Clarke-Irons pointed out that if they took on additional work it would curtail shopping trips and outings as the bus would have to be back at a set time to deal with the contracts.

He said that many other areas had taken on the extra work and could no longer give the public the service they had enjoyed before.

In the meantime the Forum has been promised that Devon County Council will continue to look into its request to provide and Axminster town bus service, which, up to now, has been frustrated by a lack of funding.

* Currently the ring and ride service has to rely on just one bus having been forced to hand back its second vehicle to the county council earlier this year because it could not afford the hire costs.

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Chairman Sandra Ward said at the time: “It’s a shame because we can offer so much more of a service with two.

“We really do need help with money at the moment – many, many peoples’ independence, by using our services, need it.”

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