£25m and three years and BRT’s ready to go!

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1 Bats have been given their own crossing points on the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route to keep the flying mammals out of harm’s way.

High trees have been planted at certain points along the busway to allow the creatures to hop over to get to where they roost.

One of the first Eclipse buses for the BRT route

One of the first Eclipse buses for the BRT route

2 The First bus company has pledged the route will never be used by buses more than five years old.

It has committed to limiting service changes to four dates each year and fare reviews to once a year.

3 Planning permission for the construction of the BRT route was first given in July 2009.

4 A railway bridge once used by Queen Victoria to get to her seaside retreat was demolished to make way for the new busway.

The bridge, over Gosport’s Wych Lane, was knocked down in March last year.

Queen Victoria would travel over it on her way to Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, until her death in 1901.

5 More than 100 bus stops have been refurbished throughout Fareham and Gosport as part of the scheme.

6 A new website will let people search for their nearest BRT station by visiting eclipsebus.co.uk.

7 Bus stations along the route will all have real-time information displays which tell you when the next buses are arriving.

8 To limit light pollution, no street lights have been installed along the busway.

Instead there is lighting at junctions and bus stops.

9 As well as buses and the emergency services, a number of other vehicles are allowed to use the route if needed.

They include special forces vehicles, road maintenance vehicles, breakdown vehicles, community safety service vehicles and undertakers.

Taxis, private cars and motorbikes are banned.

10 The sleek new purple buses were built by Wrights of Ballymena for the First bus company.

11 Each low-emission bus has leather seats, CCTV, information screens and wood-effect flooring.

They also have free wi-fi and carry information on bus arrival times.

12 Bus drivers who work along the route are trained to drive carefully to reduce emissions.

13 The new busway has been built on Gosport’s disused railway track.

14 The railway line to Gosport was closed in 1953.

15 Neighbours tried – and failed – to have a stretch of land on the proposed route given village green status.

They hoped it would prevent the route from being developed on and so put a halt to the busway.

But in April last year Hampshire County Council ruled against giving the land, off Tichborne Way in Gosport, protected status.

16 The BRT route cost £25m to build.

17 Most of the 14 new bus stops being built along the busway come with secure bicycle parking. All of them are covered by CCTV cameras.

18 Buses using the new route are treated to immediate green signals at traffic lights on the busway’s junctions with roads.

19 Motorists braced themselves for chaos on Gosport’s roads when one of the town’s main routes was closed for 10 months.

Construction work on the route at Wych Lane involved demolishing a railway bridge and changing the height of the roadway. The road was closed in March last year and reopened in November.

20 The busway provides 14 new bus stops along the route.

21 Automatic barriers and anti-ram bollards have been installed along the route to stop unauthorised vehicles using the busway.

22 Controversy struck the BRT plans in 2009 after protesters halted work on the busway by taking the matter to court.

Hampshire County Council eventually won the right to continue with the scheme, but the legal action delayed the opening date.

23 The BRT scheme is an alternative to the Light Rapid Transit project.

This would have seen a tram system linking Fareham and Gosport to Portsmouth through a route under the harbour.

24 BRT buses will stop at Fareham Railway Station as well as the route’s previous destinations.