MORE bus routes will be coming to Winchester and Romsey, it has been confirmed.

Hampshire County Council, as part of the Bus Service Improvement Partnership, has allocated £4.2m government funding to Stagecoach South, Go South Coast, and First Solent.

The money will enable them to increase service levels on 15 Hampshire bus routes - resulting in more day and evening services – as well as see three new services introduced on Sundays.

The funding comes from Hampshire’s £7.2m share of the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Bus Service Improvement Plan Plus money and has been awarded in line with the DfT’s direction that the majority should be used to protect existing commercial services (that might otherwise see reduced timetables) and to fund more frequent services.

Hampshire Chronicle: Bluestar busBluestar bus (Image: Archive)

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The Bluestar 1 between Winchester and Southampton will run every 15 minutes on weekdays and Saturdays.

There will be additional evening weekday services and new late-night services in each direction on Friday and Saturday evenings. Additional evening services will operate on the Bluestar 4 between Romsey and Southampton. Bluestar are also set introduce an earlier outbound journey on the Bluestar 4 from Southampton to Romsey on weekdays.

Meanwhile, the Stagecoach Service 66 between Romsey and Winchester will improve to every 30 minutes, Monday to Saturday daytime.

Cllr Nick Adams-King, Executive Member for Universal Services at Hampshire County Council, said: “This is a significant boost for the bus network in Hampshire which will help more people to make the choice to leave the car at home and to travel more easily and economically to get to and from work, college, shops or for an evening out which, in turn, will help support the local economy.

“Coupled with the Government’s support in capping single journey fares to £2 a trip means this is a tremendous opportunity for more people to step on board, give bus travel a try and experience the convenience!”

Additionally, the County Council has confirmed additional Bus Service Improvement Plan funding for promoting bus travel to encourage more people to take the bus for their everyday journeys.

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Bus operators will be introducing the additional services from April onwards. Seven bus routes will see an increase in daytime bus frequency, a number of other routes will see later or frequent buses in the evenings and a total of nine local bus routes will see services supported to continue at existing levels.

Richard Tyldesley, general manager at Bluestar, said: “We are excited to be introducing more frequent bus services in April on our Bluestar 1 and 2 routes. It means these services will be even easier and more convenient for people living in Winchester, Chandler’s Ford, Fair Oak and Eastleigh to travel around their areas and into Southampton.

“More frequent evening services on the Bluestar 4 route between Romsey, North Baddesley and Southampton will also bring considerable benefits to these communities - helping improve connectivity and making bus travel a great choice.”