First Solent announces £3m investment for 17 new state-of-the-art vehicles on its Eclipse fleet

Aberdeen, Scotland, 2016-Oct-13 — /Travel PR News/ — Customers travelling on the Bus Rapid Transport link between Fareham and Gosport will soon be travelling in brand-new, state-of-the-art vehicles after bus operator, First Solent, unveiled a £3m investment in 17 new vehicles.

The 17 new high-spec vehicles, which all come fitted with free wi-fi, USB charging points and the latest environmentally-friendly engine technology, entered service from Sunday 2 October and will help ensure customers enjoy the very best that bus travel has to offer across South England.

The buses all feature the distinctive purple Eclipse livery and take First Solent’s total investment in the BRT scheme to £6 million, less than five years since its first journey in April 2012.

During the launch ceremony, held on Friday 30 September at Fareham Shopping Centre, First Solent’s Managing Director, Marc Reddy, said: “The success of our Eclipse Service, since launching in 2012 has been overwhelming.  I’m delighted that we are rewarding more than 6,500 customers that use the service every day with a brand-new fleet of vehicles.  The buses look and feel fantastic and will deliver a first-class travel experience for our customers”.

First Solent, in replacing the existing fleet with these new vehicles, predicted that passenger numbers will continue to rise.  Since launching Eclipse the number of people using the service has risen by around 15% year-on-year, and in the last 12 months more than 2 million passengers have travelled on the service.

Marc Reddy added: “20% of customers that use Eclipse are former car users.  The investment in even better vehicles and an even better travelling experience will convert more car users.  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.

“Our Eclipse service is a wonderful example of how a strong partnership with a local authority can achieve shared objectives, such as encouraging more people to use public transport, reduce congestion and improve air quality.”

Councillor Rob Humby, Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Environment and Transport, said: “The new buses are an outcome of our continuing and effective day to day relationship with the bus operator, First Hampshire, which has created a public transport service that provides a real and attractive to the private car and so helps ease congestion and improve accessibility on the peninsula.”

All seventeen buses are fitted with the latest Euro VI engines, which produce 95% less oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions compared to buses with Euro V engines and as a result will help improve air quality across the route.

About Eclipse
The Eclipse service operates between Fareham and Gosport and isn’t just any bus service.:  The luxurious Eclipse buses have leather-like seats, are fitted with LED lighting and under-seat lighting and wood-effect flooring. Onboard technology includes Wi-Fi and USB charging alongside news updates and next-stop announcements and displays.

Travel is quicker as bus services use a traffic-free busway for part of the journey, avoiding the most congested part of the A32 to improve journey time and reliability.

Since the Eclipse launch, there were 15 high-specification buses running along the route, but passenger demand meant the service was increased to 17 vehicles in October 2013, which currently operate up to every six minutes during peak times of the day.

Eclipse facts:
• Since 2012, nearly 9 million passengers received a 5-star premium customer experience
• Year-on-year, the service has attracted 15 per cent more passengers who are now catching the Eclipse buses.
• 57 per cent more people now use the Eclipse services than the services they replaced
• A recent survey showed 20 per cent of passengers surveyed made the shift from car to bus.


Tel: +44 (0)1224 650100
Fax: +44 (0)1224 650140

Source: First Bus