By Connor Steel
FIRST BUS have announced they have formally submitted their proposals to Fareham Borough Council as they look to create a new bus depot to ‘house and charge’ a fleet of sixty-two electric buses; the company planning to demolish two buildings at their current depot site on Gosport Road as part of their recent pledges to achieve ‘zero emission’ by 2035.
There are no plans to move buses away from their current site in Hoeford which provides the daily fuelling, service and maintenance needs for the multiple vehicles owned by First Bus. The company instead hopes to install a ring main unit equipped with substations, transformers and many chargers aimed at boosting a new fleet due to start running in 2024.
Implementation won’t be easy and involves the ‘southern side’ demolition of the bus maintenance side; which will allow the creation of a ‘point of connection’ (POC) to the local power network. This is proposed to be housed in the ring main unit, which is due to be moved from the centre of the current yard to the southern side and will allow for ‘better access’.
Bus parking will be greatly improved as this will allow vehicles to undertake ‘drive in / drive out’ movements on site and also reduces a need for reversing; the company arguing this can be dangerous due to’ proximity’. Due to the ‘southern’ building being destroyed a new canopy should be provided to cover a break tester needed for most daily maintenance.
The new facility may accommodate approximately 90 electric buses in addition to the proposed 62 buses once opened in 2024, provided it is approved by councillors at the next planning meeting. Customers are advised that all work is not due to prevent timetabled public transport services across the winter and early spring, with any issues to be publicised.
First Bus is a national bus company with headquarters in Aberdeen which runs services across in Portsmouth, Gosport and Fareham. It used to run buses for users in Southampton until 2022 when it closed many routes and a vast majority were ‘taken over’ by Bluestar, with further information on a range of national and local services available to view online.
PICTURED BY GOOGLE MAPS: Bus depot in Hoeford could see development until plans to house / charge EV buses.