It is nearly time for Eclipse to be launched, and First Hampshire & Dorset's second bus priority corridor to be launched. Eclipse is the redeveloped Fareham-Gosport connection link, using some of the former railway between Fareham and Gosport. 14 brand new Volvo B7RLEs have been purchased for the route, and the first one is ready. See the First Hants & Dorset facebook site for photos.
It has been reported that the start date will be Monday 23rd April. Branded as "Eclipse - Above and Beyond" this new bus priority corridor is far more impressive and expensive than the last corridor on the A3 (Portsmouth - Clanfield), and should mean traffic congestion around Gosport on the A32 is alleviated. Maybe, passenger numbers will rise so high more buses will have to be purchased!
Buses have wi-fi, wood effect flooring, leather seats, GPS, real time updates, luggage space and more - all the features you would expect across any of the more inner city high profile bus corridors.
BRT1 - Fareham Bus Station - Fareham Rail Station - Bridgemary - Brockhurst - Elson - Forton - Stoke Rd - Gosport.
--- loosely a combination of routes 83 and 86 today, with added timing points.
BRT2 - Fareham Bus Station - Fareham Rail Station - Bridgemary - Brockhurst - Ann's Hill - Stoke Rd - Gosport
--- loosely a combination of routes 82 and 85 today, with added timing points.
BRT 3 - Fareham Bus Station - Fareham Rail Station OR the A32 - Bridgemary - Rowner - Privett - Stokes Bay - Alverstoke - Stoke Rd - Gosport --- loosely route 88 today.
There are several points of interest which will be revealed over the next few months -
1. What route renumbering will take place?
2. What will happen to the likes of route 33, 36 and 87 which still use the A32 but then head off to Newgate Lane? Will they use BRT to Palmerston Drive?
3. There still will be a service along the A32 to Gosport. Will this simply be the off peak BRT3 route, or will the 87 be increased in frequency? Will a brand new route appear?
4. What will the routes do to serve Gregson Avenue and Nobes Avenue in Bridgemary? It looks like BRT1 will be the only main BRT route to pass through Bridgemary.
5. Frequencies - what will they be? Routes 85/86 at present take about an hour (49 mins trip, with 10 turn-a-round time). Trips should be quicker on BRT - say 50 minutes - so a frequency of every 10 mins on BRT 1 and 2, with every 20 or 30 minutes on BRT 3? The service is already every 5 mins across the 82, 83, 85 and 86 in the weekdays and this probably won't be allowed to drop.
6. Which Darts will subsequently be withdrawn from Hoeford?
Ah well, all interesting and will be revealed in a few weeks. There is already a section for "Timetables" on the Eclipse website, but no link yet.