Passengers catching Portsmouth’s ‘The Star’ services 7 or 8 between Waterlooville and Portsmouth will soon be travelling in brand-new vehicles after an investment of £4m by First Solent in 24 new ADL Enviro200 buses featuring WiFi, USB charging points, and audio-visual route information. At a launch ceremony at Portsmouth Guildhall on Friday 25 January, First Solent’s Managing Director Marc Reddy said: “The buses look and feel fantastic and will deliver a first-class travel experience for our customers. With the new fleet, we expect to attract even more passengers, which will positively impact on congestion and air quality in the area whilst also supporting the local economy enabling even more people to access education, leisure and work.”
The 11.5m buses have a capacity of 73, including up to 39 seated, and all feature refreshed maritime-themed branding with an attractive Portsmouth-inspired livery and colour scheme. The earlier compass logo and Star wording has made way for a refreshed star logo, and the Star brand name was upgraded with a futuristic font type. Last year 2.5 million passenger journeys were made on Star services, the firm said, with contactless payments now accounting for 41% of all on-bus sales.
Councillor Lynne Stagg, Portsmouth City Council’s Cabinet Member for Traffic and Transportation, said: “I really welcome this significant investment by our partners, First Bus, to help improve our air quality and make Portsmouth a better place to live, visit, work and study. The new technology in the Euro VI buses reduces harmful nitrogen dioxide emissions and this will have a positive impact on the health of the people who live along this busy route. I hope that the new buses will encourage people who would normally drive this route to leave their cars at home more and enjoy the comfortable environment of the new vehicles.”
Marie Connell, Business Development Manager at Alexander Dennis, said: “We have tailored our Enviro200, to offer a safe and comfortable environment for drivers and passengers on the Portsmouth Star. Our SmartPack efficiency technology further reduces emissions from the Euro VI engines, helping to improve air quality and benefitting the environment.”
Ray Stenning, Design Director of Best Impressions said: “We were commissioned to give the Portsmouth Star brand an impressive lift to keep it fresh and appropriate to the market. The sharp, rich two-tone blue livery, powerful new star identity and detailing like the Portsmouth skyline on the buses, all combine to make bus a better choice for the people in Portsmouth and resonate with the character of the city and area. The maritime blue theme is carried into the inside with a bespoke seat fabric design and detailing to enhance the travelling experience. Look up inside and you’ll notice the stylish friezes running the length of the bus, and how different buses have different stories about iconic city sights, as well as useful information for getting the best out of travel by bus. The whole thing is designed to create desire, something Best Impressions is famed for.”