‘Use it or lose it’ is the message, as the Durlston Explorer bus service returns for just six weeks – a much shorter time than previous summers due to rising costs.
Dorset Council said that there wasn’t enough money to fund the bus service, which loops round Swanage and up the hill to Durlston Country Park, for a longer period.
Up the hill to Durlston Country Park
The route starts at the Main Beach car park, then heads through town via the train station and the pier, up the hill to Durlston Country Park and then returns via Swanage Hospital.
For 2022 it will run daily from 10 am to 5 pm between Saturday 23rd July and Saturday 3rd September.
Full summer service would have cost around £15,000
Durlston Country Park has subsidised the bus in the past but this year the cost for a full summer service rose to around £15,000.
Even with a contribution from Swanage Town Council, it was seen to be unaffordable by Durlston Country Park, owned by Dorset Council.
However, rather than scrap the service altogether, it was agreed to operate the bus for the peak six weeks over the summer school holidays.
“Make a better case for next year”
Speaking back in May 2022, when it was announced that a full summer service wasn’t possible, senior ranger at Durlston Country Park, Katie Black said:
“If we want a bus service in the future, there needs to be more money from elsewhere, as we just can’t justify it on our own.
“The positive thing is that there will still be a bus service this year – just for a shorter period of time. Hopefully more people will use it, which will show that it’s worth running the service, and that way we can make a better case for next year.”
- The bus timetable for the D5 is available on the Morebus website
- Fares – Adult single £2.10; Return £3.20. Child single £1.80; Return £2.30