Buses for £20m Fareham and Gosport anti-congestion scheme unveiled

UNVEILED  An artist's impression of an Eclipse bus along the route
UNVEILED An artist's impression of an Eclipse bus along the route
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BUSES to be used along a controversial £20m route aimed at cutting congestion on the A32 have been unveiled.

There will be 14 new vehicles – costing £2.3m – running along the bus rapid transit (BRT) route between Fareham and Gosport.

NOT FINISHED Work is still going on

NOT FINISHED Work is still going on

Each will be fitted with leather seating, wood-effect flooring, free wi-fi and internal display screens showing local travel and route information.

And they all will run under a new brand – Eclipse.

Later this month more than 8,000 homes and businesses along the route will be sent information about the new service, which will be run by First Hampshire and Dorset.

It is expected to start in April next year, but no date has yet been set.

The start has been delayed by more than a year as the result of a legal battle that ended in the Supreme Court.

Councillor Mel Kendal, in charge of transport and environment matters for Hampshire County Council, said it was important the buses had a clear identity to get people to use them.

He said: ‘This is one of the most congested areas in the south of the county and I believe Eclipse will help to relieve that congestion.

‘Although I appreciate that, for some, it will be a big step to leave the car at home and go by bus, I believe the combination of reliable journey times, comprehensive travel information together with top quality buses and waiting facilities, offers a persuasive and convincing reason to do so.’

He added: ‘Frequently running, reliable, high specification buses on a dedicated, bus-only route must be a better option than driving in heavy traffic.’

Local design and web agency, The Escape, was commissioned to develop the brand and the marketing materials.

The council and First are planning a wider marketing campaign in the coming months, including billboard, information days and timetable and special offer leaflets.

This is intended to be phase one of a wider scheme that will have links across south Hampshire.

No other phases have yet passed the planning stage.