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Public and School Transport Review

View the results of the consultation on Dorset County Council proposals for the future of subsidised bus services.

Why we need the review

Central government is reducing funding for Dorset County Council which means we have to make big savings to balance our budget. As part of our budget setting process in February 2016, councillors reduced the overall budget for supported transport by around 50% (£1.5 million). The budget for school transport was also reduced by £850,000. As far as possible, we are trying to make savings to school transport by running services more efficiently. However, a different approach to both public and schools transport is needed to meet the savings targets required.

We must now reduce the public transport subsidy by £1m and we must also reduce the cost of school transport services by £850,000. These savings must be in place by 2017/18.

Proposed changes

It will not be possible to retain the current public bus network within our revised budgets; many existing services will change.

  • we propose to prioritise remaining subsidy on those core routes that are able to serve the most people and contribute the most to the economic well being of the county. Core routes are the regular interurban services that link Dorset's towns and serve around 80% of Dorset's population
  • we propose to open many more school services for use by the public, ensuring rural residents can access Dorset's market towns
  • we propose to work closely with community transport operators, community groups and councillors to develop Dorset's community transport network
  • we propose to work closely with operators to attempt to secure rural 'in-fill' routes. In-fill routes are rural services that operate between school opening and closing times, making use of empty vehicles travelling to and from schools services


Dorset County Council has consulted a wide range of people about these proposals. The consultation period has now ended. The results of this consultation will help us to decide how to proceed with the review and help to form the future shape of Dorset's transport network. Future service change decisions and any implementation information will be published on this page. The outcome of the review will be implemented in summer 2017.

Results of the consultation

Affected services

Community transport schemes

Community schemes can be more responsive to people's needs for social and leisure journeys. Many areas in Dorset have access to a community transport scheme, ranging from volunteer car schemes and Dial-a-Ride services, to car sharing services and Car Clubs. Details of these schemes can be found on the Community Transport page.

Rural Bus Services Review

Earlier in 2016, Dorset County Council consulted the public about changes to rural 'market day' bus services that operate once or twice a week. This consultation ran from 11 January until 7 February 2016 and is now closed. The results of this consultation have been collated into the Rural Bus Services Review Response Report (pdf, 1Mb) (opens in a new window).   

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