Portsmouth City Council and Hampshire County Council have announced ambitious plans for an enhanced public transport network that will transform travel into Portsmouth. Known as 'Bus Rapid Transit', the proposed scheme is now one step closer to becoming a reality thanks to funding from the Department for Transport (DfT).
The announcement that Portsmouth City Council was one of ten successful local authorities to be shortlisted to benefit from the government's Transforming Cities Fund was made on Thursday 27th September. By progressing to the next stage of the funding process, Portsmouth, working in partnership with Hampshire County Council, will now have an opportunity to bid for a share of £840 million to deliver this critical infrastructure for Portsmouth and the wider Solent area.
The proposed multi-million pound Bus Rapid Transit scheme will cover the Portsmouth travel to work area creating a step change in public transport provision. The network will focus on four corridors from Havant, Fareham, Waterlooville and Gosport into Portsmouth delivering transformational infrastructure enhancements.
Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Leader of Portsmouth City Council, said: "For Portsmouth City Council to be shortlisted to bid for this major transport funding is fantastic news, and an incredible achievement. The funding will have significant impact on the city's infrastructure providing much improved connectivity to the surrounding environment.
Our proposed bus rapid transit scheme will connect communities in Waterlooville, Havant and Fareham to Portsmouth to improve economic productivity. Through enhanced services and an improved network we want to make sustainable travel more attractive, supporting our aim to reduce congestion and improve air quality it in the city.
We are now focussed on working with the DfT to develop our business case, and further progress our bid."
Cllr Rob Humby, Executive Member for Environment and Transport at Hampshire County Council, said: “This bid is an opportunity to improve how people travel to work in and around Portsmouth, and has the potential to have a huge, positive impact on quality of life of residents of South Hampshire and productivity in the area. I’m delighted the Government has recognised the strength of the bid we’ve developed in partnership with Portsmouth City Council and we look forward to progressing the proposals.”
The BRT network will link new housing developments in Fareham, Havant and Waterlooville with Portsmouth, as well as key business parks such as Lakeside and Dunsbury Park.
The ten shortlisted city regions will each receive an initial £50,000 as well as bespoke support from government to co-develop the strongest cases for investment. Once finalised, funding decisions will consider the relative strength of each bid and their impact on improving connectivity, supporting employment and driving up productivity.