GETTING around Gosport will be easier thanks to a £1m investment in bus services.
Public transport operator First plans to run nine new buses, each worth £115,000, along the 9 route between Fareham and Gosport via Bridgemary and Rowner.
From July 27, the busses will also operate on the route 9a along Grange Road and Nimrod Drive.
First regional managing director Marc Reddy said the busses were a ‘huge step forward’ for services on the Gosport peninsula.
He said: ‘We hope customers will enjoy travelling on our new vehicles and that these new additions to the fleet will encourage more people will chose to travel by bus because of the comfort and convenience they now offer them.’
Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage said the new busses followed consultation with bus users, councillors and herself.
She said: ‘We have had constructive talks with First which is always willing to listen to our views on local road changes and has been open to our suggestions.
‘We are really grateful our views have been taken into consideration by First to such an extent that they have invested so significantly in new vehicles.’
Gosport Borough Council deputy leader Councillor Graham Burgess thanked First for listening to the recommendations of councillors and Ms Dinenage.
He said: ‘This will benefit anyone who gets the 9 and 9a. One thing is that you’ll be able to do is get to Tesco in Rowner which you couldn’t do before.
‘It’ll also give options to people who didn’t use to be on the bus route.’
But Cllr Burgess said more improvements to bus services could be made, particularly in Bridgemary, Lee-on-the-Solent and Clayhall.
‘There are still some other routes in which we would like to see improvements and we’ll be having meetings with Marc Reddy to see if we can improve the shortfalls any further.’
The new Optare Solo midi buses are First’s biggest investment in Gosport since the Eclipse services started two years ago.
Each bus can carry 35 seated and 10 standing passengers and will run every 15 minutes on the 9 route.
Mr Reddy said: ‘We are delighted to have had the chance to consult extensively which has resulted in us introducing the new 9a service from July 27.’