YELLOW Buses has announced a trial plan to save a route which faced the axe due to a squeeze in county council budgets.
Route 21 linking Bournemouth and Burton was under threat as part of moves by Dorset County Council to save £850,000 in bus subsidies.
Hundreds of residents in Burton signed a petition to save the route from cuts, arguing that the 21 acted as a vital lifeline.
Now Yellow Buses has agreed to commercially invest in the 21, initially on a trial basis, to retain an hourly daytime and Saturday service between Burton, Christchurch, the Royal Bournemouth Hospital, Boscombe and Bournemouth.
From April 6, route 21 will join with the Yellows’ 24 service which runs between Bournemouth and Alum Chine. The Alum Chine section of the route will continue to operate Monday to Sunday as it does now, while the Bournemouth to Burton stretch will operate hourly Monday to Saturday.
Mark Ambler, Yellow Buses’ Head of Network Development, said: “We must stress that these new arrangements are on a trial basis due to the substantial amount of funding which has been cut.
“It is absolutely essential that residents of Burton and River Way in Christchurch make full use of the service. We have worked really hard to try and save this route, at least in the short-term, but are now looking to the local community to support the service.
“Unfortunately, and with much regret, we will not be able to retain services in the late evening and Sundays between Burton and Bournemouth due to the loss of subsidy. We will, of course, review this should the funding situation change.”
Full details of the new 24 service, including timetables, will be available from week commencing March 17.