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Local bus operator announces new vehicles for region

By Connor Steel

FIRST BUS has announced that a small number of new electric buses are now in service across the Gosport, Fareham and Portsmouth regions this week; which marks the first use of such vehicles in this area and continues their combined £28.6m “scheme” that has gained funding from local authorities (Hampshire County Council / Portsmouth City Council).

The buses were introduced at special public events in Fareham Town Centre and Portsmouth Guildhall Square back in late March, before they picked up their ‘first passengers’ from Monday morning (08/04). It is hoped that further vehicles will enter service late this summer with sixty two set to be used by this company across a huge number of travel routes.

The new buses have been created by manufacturer Wrightbus and offer a more comfortable ride for passengers with a number of positive features; including accessibility design, USB charging points and on screen / audio announcements. Quieter streets and a cleaner air is further promised for residents; the listed routes covering two local ‘Clean Air Zones’.

Those travelling via the 1 (Gunwharf – Southsea), 3 (Fareham – Southsea), 9 / 9A (Fareham – Gosport), X4 (The Hard – Fareham – Southampton) and the X5 (Gosport – Fareham – Southampton) could have already experienced this new bus fleet, alongside the Eclipse routes from Fareham to Gosport since they entered service to start the “working week”.

These new vehicles have been funded by a £28.6m project carried out over recent years and features an £15.9 million investment from First Bus South, which is joined by a £12.7 million share of Government “ZEBRA” funding. When they are all in service, it would mean that forty-two percent of the region’s fleet will be electric and boosting the environment.

The buses will operate from First Bus Solent’s Hoeford Depot in Fareham, where works are taking place to support the infrastructure for charging and operation of the new electric fleet.  And in Portsmouth, the Spinnaker Tower was lit up in green last week to mark the arrival of the new buses at The Hard; which will be a ‘regular’ stop for most of the vehicles.

Readers can see the quotes from First Bus South Managing Director, Simon Goff, and the WrightBus CEO, Jean-Marc Gales by clicking the downloadable file; whilst further details about the region’s bus routes and timetables is seen here.

PICTURED BY FIRST BUS: New electric bus vehicle is showcased to a quiet backdrop and a ‘green’ Spinnaker Tower.