Less than a month after buses started running on the new Eclipse Bus Rapid Transit network in Gosport and Fareham, ticket machine data has shown more than 100,000 people have travelled on the new routes.
The 100,000th passenger travelled on the bus on Thursday May 17. Data from First Hampshire and Dorset suggests there has been an overall increase in bus use in the area, with some people making the move from car to bus for travel between the two towns.
Matthew Kitchin, General Manager of First Hampshire and Dorset, said: “In the first few weeks we saw a massive increase in bus use when compared to the passenger loading data from services 82 and 86, the routes which previously operated in the area.
“While we had expected that to a large extent, as people swapped from conventional services to use the vehicles operating on the Eclipse network, what we have been particularly pleased with is the additional 23% growth we’ve seen on the corridor as a whole. This means instead of just attracting customers from other bus routes in the area, the Eclipse BRT network has, it seems, encouraged more people to use our services as well.
“Overall we are pleased with how it is going so far and we hope the trend continues.”
Councillor Mel Kendal, Executive Member for Environment and Transport at Hampshire County Council, said: “As more and more people begin to realise the benefits of travelling by Eclipse, we should start to see congestion on the A32 reducing. Assuming this momentum can be maintained, the case for attracting Government funding for future phases of the bus rapid transit network will be a strong one.”
While the 100,000th passenger boarded Eclipse without any on board celebration, First has plans to mark the millionth customer when they travel later this year, rewarding the lucky person with free travel and a special commemorative certificate.