'Essential' new bus service in Portsmouth to start this weekend between the Hard and Hayling Ferry
AN 'ESSENTIAL' new bus service in Portsmouth will start this weekend, providing a link between the Hard Interchange and the Hayling Island Ferry.
The trial number 25 bus will begin operating on Sunday, August 30 with stops along the route including Gunwharf Quays, Albert Road and Bransbury Park.
It will replace and extend the previous First Solent routes six, 15 and 16, which were taken out of operation during lockdown restrictions imposed during the coronavirus pandemic.
Portsmouth City Council's transport boss, Councillor Lynne Stagg, urged passengers to make use of the service. 'The new number 25 will provide an important link between our transport hubs at the Hard Interchange, Portsmouth Harbour railway station and the Hayling Ferry as well as providing an essential service for commuting, shopping and leisure activities,' she said.
'I hope we will see a positive take up of the service which residents and visitors have been missing during past months.'
Funding for the scheme has been provided by the council using the Better Deal for Bus Users grant from government.
Cllr Stagg addded: 'Passenger support is vital to the success of this service so that we can continue the route past March when funding ceases.
'I am delighted that we have been able to provide funding from the Better Deal for Bus Users to support this essential service, working closely with our transport partners at First Solent.'
Bus services to the Hayling Ferry have proved controversial previously with a trial to reinstate it through the number 15 last year was branded a 'failure' after not attracting enough passengers.
The new 25 service will run every 45 minutes off-peak between Monday and Saturday and every 90 minutes during peak hours and on Sundays and bank holidays.
Customers can find the full timetable on the First Solent website firstgroup.com/portsmouth. A review of the number 25 service will take place in March 2021 once the trial period is complete.
Passengers travelling by public transport are reminded to wear a face covering whilst in the vehicle and at the station, and should follow government guidance by regularly sanitising hands and maintaining a social distance of two metres.