First launches new naval-themed Star buses in Portsmouth

STAR BUSES It was a special day for bus driver Liam Chalk, 22, from Eastney, when he and several fellow drivers for First showed their very latest buses beside HMS Victory in the dockyard   Picture: Malcolm Wells (132885-5876)
STAR BUSES It was a special day for bus driver Liam Chalk, 22, from Eastney, when he and several fellow drivers for First showed their very latest buses beside HMS Victory in the dockyard Picture: Malcolm Wells (132885-5876)
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Luxury buses named after Portsmouth-based warships have been unveiled in the city for the first time.

First has launched its new Star buses at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard today.

HMS Victory and her namesake bus artwork of the ship. The Royal Navy features on a new fleet of buses launched in Portsmouth on Wednesday the 16th October 2013.  Bus company First has unveiled 26 new vehicles named after ships, with 23 bearing the title of a Portsmouth-based warship.  The 26 buses go into service on October 20 on routes 7 and 8 into the city, with partners First, Hampshire County Council and the city council choosing a brand reflecting Portsmouth's maritime heritage.   They are called Star buses, making reference to the North Star or Pole Star once used by sailors for navigation purposes, and the star emblem that forms part of the Portsmouth city crest.  The warships represented are HMS Illustrious, HMS Daring, HMS Dauntless, HMS Diamond, HMS Dragon,  HMS Defender, HMS Duncan, HMS Kent, HMS S

HMS Victory and her namesake bus artwork of the ship. The Royal Navy features on a new fleet of buses launched in Portsmouth on Wednesday the 16th October 2013. Bus company First has unveiled 26 new vehicles named after ships, with 23 bearing the title of a Portsmouth-based warship. The 26 buses go into service on October 20 on routes 7 and 8 into the city, with partners First, Hampshire County Council and the city council choosing a brand reflecting Portsmouth's maritime heritage. They are called Star buses, making reference to the North Star or Pole Star once used by sailors for navigation purposes, and the star emblem that forms part of the Portsmouth city crest. The warships represented are HMS Illustrious, HMS Daring, HMS Dauntless, HMS Diamond, HMS Dragon, HMS Defender, HMS Duncan, HMS Kent, HMS S

The 26 new vehicles go into service on Sunday on routes 7 and 8 into the city.

Marc Reddy, the managing director of First in Hampshire, says the buses will help convince people to leave their cars at home and use public transport.

He said: ‘Today is a proud day for us.

‘As one of the three partners who delivered the bus priority corridor back in 2008, we were delighted to work with Hampshire County Council and Portsmouth City Council to rebrand the route.

‘We think the Star brand does just what we set out to do, linking the bus services to the city and its proud seagoing history.’

With the delivery of the 26 new vehicles, First, Hampshire County Council, and Portsmouth City Council decided to review the way the buses are branded around the city.

Working with the historic dockyard and the Royal Navy, they decided to name each of the buses after a ship.

The name of the service, the Star, is a reference to the North Star or Pole Star, once used by sailors for navigation purposes.

Each of the new buses is named after a different ship.

The three historic ships are represented with the Mary Rose, HMS Warrior, and HMS Victory each having their own bus.

The other 23 are named after the Royal Navy’s current Portsmouth-based warships, including: HMS Illustrious, HMS Daring, HMS Dauntless, HMS Diamond, HMS Dragon, HMS Defender, HMS Duncan, HMS Kent, HMS St Albans, HMS Lancaster, HMS Iron Duke, HMS Westminster, HMS Richmond, HMS Tyne, HMS Severn, HMS Mersey, HMS Ledbury, HMS Cattistock, HMS Brocklesby, HMS Chiddingfold, HMS Atherstone, HMS Hurworth, and HMS Quorn.

Liam Chalk, 22, from Eastney, is one of the lucky First drivers who will be driving the new buses.

He said: ‘I think they’re great and hopefully people will like them.

‘I think the connections they have with the naval heritage of Portsmouth is a really nice touch.’