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COMMUTERS will be able to get a cheap ride into Southsea as part of a new agreement between the city council and a bus company.

Portsmouth City Council assistant head of service Mark Griffin announced at a meeting of the Southsea Association that groups of up to eight passengers would only pay £2 to get to the seafront using the Hoverbus if they had used the park and ride bus to get into the city.

The Hoverbus

The Hoverbus

Mr Griffin said it was a great step forward in addressing the demand for a park-and-ride service into Southsea.

He said: ‘They will be able to use the park and ride to the city centre or The Hard interchange. Following that they can show their ticket to the Hovertravel bus driver and pay an additional £2 and get a return ticket to the seafront for an additional eight passengers.’

About 30 people were at the meeting at St Jude’s Church in Southsea last night.

Mr Griffin said the council was considering at least two different options for having park-and-ride buses drive all the way to Southsea, a plan which could involve doubling the cost of the scheme.

He said: ‘We’re keen to do whatever we can with the budgets we have.’

The council’s cabinet member for traffic and transportation Cllr Ken Ellcome said he would meet bus companies this week to discuss the plans and establish how much they would demand in subsidies for business lost due to an extension of the scheme.

He said: ‘We’re trying to see if we can do a deal to get the park and ride direct to Southsea. That’s a commercial decision for the bus companies to make and then it’ll be up to us to see if we can afford it.’

Mr Griffin said that from August 14, commuters would be able to buy a combination park-and-ride/Hoverbus ticket from the Tipner Interchange for £4.

The current park and ride price is £2 per vehicle, an introductory offer that lasts until the end of August when it is due to rise to £3.50.

Southsea Association chairman Tony Brown said he was pleased at the council’s efforts to extend the park and ride.

He said: ‘It’s excellent. The park and ride is very important to the people of Southsea and it can’t be ignored.’

Lionel Salway, of Southsea, said he supported the plan and hoped it would make parking easier for residents.

He said: ‘I’m surprised it wasn’t on the agenda from the beginning. If we can find a way of having fewer cars driving into Southsea the better.’

Mr Griffin and Cllr Ellcome also fielded questions about the planned opening of Palmerston Road south to traffic and a regeneration scheme for Osborne Road.

The next Southsea Association meeting will be in October.