New ‘rapid’ bus will take longer to finish route

NEW BRT buses are due to start travelling between Fareham and Gosport from Sunday
NEW BRT buses are due to start travelling between Fareham and Gosport from Sunday
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SOME bus journeys between Fareham and Gosport will take longer on a new ‘rapid’ route than current services do.

Some of the services on the new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route, billed as being able to bypass congestion on the A32, will take up to 40 minutes to travel from Fareham to Gosport.

Currently, a number 82 bus leaves Fareham’s bus station at 8.55am and arrives at the Gosport Ferry 29 minutes later at 9.24am.

But the new 8.52am Eclipse bus arrives at 9.32am.

The company which operates the buses, First Group, says this is because Fareham Railway Station has been added to the route.

It hopes this will encourage more people to leave their cars at home and travel between the towns by bus.

But critics say the extra time taken will put people off using the service.

Bus user Darren Sellen, of Savernake Close in Gosport said the longer journey would deter him from using the new buses. The 44-year-old said: ‘I thought the new buses would be a lot faster than the ones they were replacing.

‘I don’t really want to take a detour all the way to the train station when I’m on my way to the bus station.

‘I will give the buses a go when they start to see what I think.

‘But if they take too much longer I would rather just get on my pushbike.’

Many other Eclipse bus journeys take around 33 minutes. The first buses will start operating on Sunday.

Karen Baxter, a spokeswoman for First Group, said: ‘The difference in journey times reflects the fact that the routes are slightly different.

‘The BRT buses will additionally serve Fareham Railway Station, which we see as a potential growth opportunity as people will be able to hop on and off trains as required, making public transport more integrated.

‘At present service 82 does not serve this area and to get there from Gosport you’d have to change buses.’

Mum Kelly Reid, of Tichborne Way in Gosport uses buses every day.

The 28-year-old said: ‘It doesn’t bother me too much but I think it will put people off using the new buses.’

And Christine Hall, 61, of Downside, said: ‘I thought these buses were going to be quicker but they’re actually going to take longer. It would actually be quicker for me to take the current bus. I don’t think people will switch.’