TWO new bus fleets saving thousands of tonnes in carbon emissions are coming to the streets of Winchester.

Stagecoach has unveiled a £2.5 million investment in its city centre vehicles while carbon-saving park and ride buses have been approved by council chiefs.

The new Stagecoach fleet includes free wifi, USB charging ports, CCTV and GPS tracking.

The gold and purple buses, inspired by King Alfred, were unveiled on Tuesday after the firm restored evening service on many routes which had been hit by county council cuts.

As of this week, routes 1, 3, 5 and Spring are running until 11pm. The company has also announced a Nightrider service offering unlimited travel after 7pm for £2.

Stagecoach managing director Michael Watson said: “We are proud to announce this investment in new buses and the investment in the fleet and evening gives something back to our many bus users in Winchester and we hope to encourage even more people to use the bus further into the evening.”

More than 4.3 million passengers used Stagecoach buses in Winchester last year, with 70 per cent being tourists, commuters and students.

Meanwhile, the efficiency of the new park and ride fleet has been questioned by city councillors.

Cllr Janet Berry said the council could have improved on the Euro VI vehicles, which will serve the city from 2016 to 2024.

She said: “I am disappointed that the council did not apply for funding for the lower emission buses.

“We are all aware of the serious problems that air pollution can have on people living in the city and nearby road.

“I would hope at the least that the option for three years rather than eight years is taken to allow the option for the council to upgrade to better technology and lower emissions.”

Cllr Stephen Godfrey, leader of Winchester City Council, said: “I think this is a really exciting opportunity for us to make a contribution to reduce emissions in Winchester as well as saving money, and the two rarely come together. I think it is absolutely right we should go for the best solution in pollution reduction and go for the Euro VI and make sure that we minimise the cost of these on the eight year contract."

The last park and ride contract was extended by a year to allow civic chiefs to review the service.

Meanwhile, bus operator Bluestar has celebrated the launch of its new timetable and vehicle in the city.

Changes have been made to several routes and times, including the Bluestar 1 between Southampton and Winchester.