improve the bus services to and from Lulworth a new initiative was
in June 1998, assisted by grant funding from the Rural Development
Dorset County Council, National Trust and Lulworth Weld
Estates. Called the Dorset Linkrider, two operators provided
services to Lulworth where they met and interlinked and provided
through connections. The two new operators were Swanage Taxis
Limited running service 29 between Swanage, Wareham and Lulworth Cove;
the other operator was Weaverbus running service 30 between Weymouth
and Lulworth Cove. The route numbers were deliberately chosen
as reincarnation of the long gone previous Southern National
Similarly a common livery of dark green was used for the Swanage Taxi
Renault and MCW and the Weaverbus Mercedes.
Swanage Taxis from the eastern end of the route was Nick Hubbard, based
at the railway station there, whilst Weaverbus was run by husband and
wife team Rory and Joyce Weaver from the western end. The
first summer of operation went well and in 1999 Dorset Linkrider was
honoured by landing a place in the highly prestigious National Bus
Industry Awards - dubbed ‘the Oscars of the Bus and Coach Industry’.
Dorset Linkrider was one of three services short-listed nationally in
the ‘Bus in the Countryside - Visitors’ category of the 1999 awards,
and were Highly Commended in the results.
Also in 1999, with money from the Rural Bus Grant
county council revamped bus services in the area and new hourly
services were supported through operator Dorset
Transit from Dorchester to Wool and Bovington, with five a
day running through Lulworth Cove. Dorset Linkrider continued
to serve Lulworth from both Weymouth and Swanage and a "Packhorse"
facility was proposed to enable walkers to send their backpacks ahead
for later collection.
After the summer of 2000 the
two halves of the Linkrider route tended to develop independently and
the connections at Lulworth Cove (and the opportunity for passengers to
travel through) decreased in number and frequency and finally ceased,
as below. During the summer of 2002 (only) the 30 was extended to
operate Weymouth to Wareham station.
no longer operate to Lulworth at all but
Weaverbus continues from the Weymouth end, with the timetable and
service frequency adjusted seasonally. The “link” in
Linkrider went after four and a half years on 8th September
Operations on the 30 then included a morning and afternoon return
facility between Weymouth and Winfrith Technology Park as
the main route to Lulworth Cove.
Mercedes 608 twenty seater C311 SPL (new in 1986, ex-London Country)
served the route for several years. An ex-Western National Bristol SU /
ECW EDV 338 worked on the route from 1997 to 2000 (Rory Weaver had
spent five years from 1992 renovating it and preparing it, including
reseating it to 34 passengers). By 2001 the regular performer was
Dennis Dart twenty-eight seater G515 VYE (new in 1990, ex London
Buses), which worked the route until closure. The Mercedes
passed to Linco Travel of Henstridge, based just across the county
boundary in Somerset. EDV 338 is now in preservation as Southern
National 624 and has appeared at several rallies.