£6.4m bid submitted for new fully-electric buses in Hampshire
THE future of public transport in Portsmouth and Hampshire lies in fully-electric transport, subject to new government funding.
A joint submission has been made to the Department for Transport by Portsmouth City Council, Hampshire County Council and First Hampshire Dorset and Berkshire for 34 new, zero-emission electric buses.
Costing £6.4m, the money will come from the Zero Emission Buses Regional Areas Fund.
A full business plan has been submitted for review, with the buses running more smoothly and quietly than the fleet’s diesel vehicles – which it’s hoped will make public transport more attractive.
The 1 route between Portsmouth and Southsea, 3 between Portsmouth and Fareham and 9/9A in Fareham and Gosport would all benefit from these new vehicles.
Councillor Rob Humby, deputy leader of Hampshire County Council and executive lead member for economy, transport and environment, said: ‘I am really pleased that our bid has moved to the next stage and demonstrates the value of our strong working partnership. What will be important now, is to ensure we have a watertight business case developed for submission by the end of January.
‘This will stand us in good stead for the work we will be undertaking as part of ‘Bus Back Better’ – the government’s National Bus Strategy; and in supporting a green economy locally to fulfil our county council's commitment to be carbon neutral by 2050.’
If the funding bid is successful, 26 of the buses will be used on the First Solent routes 1 and 3 and eight buses would operate on the 9/9A routes.
This will save more than 1,734 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year, it is believed.
Marc Reddy, managing director of First Hampshire Dorset and Berkshire said: ‘This is a great example of collaboration between First, Portsmouth City Council and Hampshire County Council, and we will be working hard with our local partners to secure the funding for this path-breaking project.’
The News launched the Going for Green campaign to highlight action being taken around Portsmouth to improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions.
But readers of The News say it will take more than electric vehicles to get them back onto buses.
Michael Tumber said: ‘Buses that run reliably and on time would encourgae me to make better use of public transport.’
Ron Male added: ‘A better service would be a start.’