‘New bus route will see increase in passengers’

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A TRANSPORT boss predicts bus usage will increase when a new £25m route is opened.

The Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) scheme through Fareham and Gosport will finally be launched on Sunday, April 22.

With direct access to Fareham College and Fareham train station, a councillor said he expects a rise in passenger numbers.

It comes as First, which will run the route, unveiled changes to their timetables.

Services 82 and 86 will be renamed E2 and E1 respectively and will operate every seven to eight minutes during the day, six days a week.

Cllr Peter Davies, public transport representative for Fareham Borough Council, said: ‘I think there a number of very positive changes.

‘The BRT gives you the opportunity to have buses using the bus lane to get to the train station and the town centre.

‘It gives the opportunity to get from Gosport to Fareham in less time in peak times than sitting in your car on the A32.’

Cllr Davies added that he is pleased with the brand new high specification buses which include free on board wi-fi, leather seating, extra leg room, and real time information including audible and visual next stop displays.

He said: ‘It’s excellent. It will be a 21st century bus unlike the buses you have ever seen before.

‘It’s very exciting, I will be there on the first day. In other parts of the country where BRT buses have been introduced, ridership does increase.

‘And I hope it does in Fareham.’

Hampshire County Council hope people will get out of their cars and use the buses instead to ease congestion.

Matt Kitchin, general manager of First in Hampshire and Dorset, said: ‘The BRT scheme is a very exciting project and it will deliver real benefits for local people.

‘It will improve links between Elson, Rowner, Bridgemary and Fareham Railway Station giving people a variety of new travel opportunities.’

Other changes to services will include a direct service from Gosport to Fareham College and a direct route to the train station from Rowner and Alverstoke.