THE government holds the key to a bus route being extended after it has been deemed successful since opening.
The Bus Rapid Transport route (BRT) is a 2.8-mile road that takes passengers between Gosport and Fareham and avoids the congestion on the A32.
‘We want to see the Daedalus Enterprise Zone continue to grow and bring more ways of reaching it.’Councillor Sean Woodward
The link, which opened in 2012, follows the route of the disused railway from Redlands Lane to Tichborne Way.
First Bus runs its Eclipse vehicles along the route.
As reported by The News, it has recently introduced 17 new vehicles worth a total of £3m that have wifi and USB charging points, after a 20 per cent increase in passengers using the service.
A bid has been put in by the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership on behalf on Hampshire County Council and could be decided as early as November when Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond releases his Autumn Statement.
Councillor Graham Burgess, vice chairman of Hampshire County Council said: ‘The county council has submitted a bid and I am optimistic that we will get the funding.
‘In Gosport, the extension would mean that it would be more accessible for the people living in Bridgemary, Holbrook and Rowner.
‘This would mean they would be able to use the leisure centre much more easily.
‘It will also make a big difference to the traffic on the A32.’
The BRT route is in Phase 1 but Cllr Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council, has hopes for it to eventually extend to areas such as Cosham.
Cllr Woodward said: ‘I’ve always said that if public transport is clean and reliable, people will use it and that is what First Bus provide. We want to see the Daedalus Enterprise Zone continue to grow and bring more ways of reaching it. That is why we are so keen for the BRT to be extended and have put £90m into improving routes. The BRT has been the fantastic success that I knew it would be.’
Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage recently met Mr Hammond to stress the importance of extending the BRT.
Ms Dinenage said: ‘Phase 1 of the BRT has seen a big increase in bus use.
‘Extending it further south will improve connectivity for local residents and ease pressure on our congested roads.’