WORK is due to start this month on extending the Eclipse Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route.
Hampshire County Council was awarded £6.9m in October for the 1km extension which will see the current service run from Tichborne Way, in Gosport, to a new junction with Rowner Road.
This extension has been designed to help more people get to areas of employment and education using public transportCouncillor Rob Humby
Preliminary ecological survey work along the route is expected to start soon as the first step in completing the service.
Councillor Rob Humby, executive member for environment and transport at the county council, said: ‘Since we heard the good news at the end of October that we had been awarded £6.93m from the government, we’ve been working on plans to get this scheme off the ground.
‘The Eclipse buses which run on the existing route between Redlands Lane in Fareham and Tichborne Way in Gosport have proved a huge success.
‘More than 20 per cent of Eclipse passengers previously made their journeys by car.
‘This extension has been designed to help more people get to areas of employment and education using public transport, reducing traffic delays and supporting investment in the area.’
The start of the work has been welcomed by bus operator First which has run the Eclipse service since it opened in 2012.
Marc Reddy, managing director for First Hampshire, said: ‘We’re delighted the bid for funding to extend the BRT route has been successful.
‘It’s fantastic this service has been recognised by the Department for Transport as an innovative and well-executed solution to alleviate congestion in the towns that we serve.’
Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage added: ‘Addressing our area’s crippling congestion problems has always been a priority of mine, and I’m thrilled the DfT has recognised the substantial benefits of extending the BRT.
‘This will build on the significant improvements the busway has already delivered.’