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November 01 2017
By Mel Holley

A former routeone editor, Mel has more than 30 years’ experience in road and rail transport journalism.

Eclipse gets green light for
£10m Gosport extension

Minister for Transport, Chris Grayling MP, has approved £6.93m from the £345m National Productivity Investment Fund to fund a £10.4m extension of the South-East Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) scheme.

The news has been welcomed by operator First and infrastructure partner Hampshire County Council.

Looking south along the old railway line towards Gosport, from the end of the existing BRT buses-only section

Stage two

The initial scheme opened in April 2012, with a conventional bus-only road on 3.4km of a disused railway, running south from Fareham railway station onto the Gosport Peninsula, bypassing the heavily congested main road.

With high-quality stops, real-time information and 14 new buses, with on-board information and free wi-fi, the scheme was an instant hit.

The Eclipse E1 and E2 services now carrying 60% more passengers than the two old bus services they directly replaced. There has been a 20% shift from people using cars to the bus since the scheme was launched.

Last year, First renewed the entire fleet with 17 Euro 6 single-deckers.

The extension will see the rest of the old railway converted to BRT, roughly doubling its length, to the terminus at Gosport Waterfront, facing Portsmouth, connected by ferry. Buses currently use the congested A27 on this section.


Marc Reddy, MD First Hampshire, Dorset & Berkshire, says: “We’re delighted that the funding bid to extend the BRT route has been accepted. We’ve worked tirelessly with our partners at Hampshire County Council to deliver the premium Eclipse service.  

“It’s fantastic that this has been recognised by the DfT as an innovative and well-executed solution to alleviate the towns of congestion.

“Not only has the BRT and Eclipse ticked all the boxes when combatting congestion, the buses are also the cleanest with regards to emissions, helping air quality.”

Councillor Rob Humby, Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Environment and Transport, said: “We have a strong track record in securing external funding for transport schemes, as evidenced by our capital programme for 2017/18 – 2019/20, which has a total value of £100m for new roads and improvements.

“The County Council is well positioned to secure external funding to help deliver the necessary transport infrastructure to address current and future growth pressures and improve access to employment and services, as well to strengthen the county’s wider connectivity.

“The South-East Hampshire BRT is one of a number of major road schemes which aims to support Hampshire’s growing prosperity, and enhance quality of life, as more and more developments are built.

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