Councillor Russell Oppenheimer, the County Council’s Executive Member for Highway Operations, has given the go ahead for a scheme to improve accessibility at bus stops, upgrade real time information and, where needed, to replace and enhance existing bus shelters and bus stop posts.
Cllr Oppenheimer said: “A green, clean and heathy recovery from COVID-19 means we need to use buses more than we did before the pandemic. If not, we will fail to achieve carbon neutrality targets and see congestion rise and increased poor air pollution levels - issues that we know affect Eastleigh town centre. Now more than ever, it is time to get back on board public transport. The measures agreed for implementation will create a more pleasant and comfortable environment for passengers waiting to board their bus.”
The works will focus on making it easier for passengers to reach the bus stops by improving pavements and kerbs. They will also provide clear and reliable, live information about bus services, and improve waiting facilities for passengers.
These are all key elements to improving the county’s bus infrastructure and will contribute to achieving the vision set out in the Government’s National Bus Strategy - ‘Bus Back Better’.
Andrew Wickham, Bluestar Managing Director, said: “We welcome the improvements Hampshire County Council is implementing that will support bus services in Eastleigh. Buses have the potential to take many cars off the road - leading to improved air quality across our area. These latest enhancements will make travelling by bus even more attractive, and that can only be a good thing for sustainable transport and the environment here.
“For our part, we are continuing our stringent on-board cleaning measures - including the use of anti-viral wipes on all touch points. So, travelling with Bluestar as we all cautiously emerge from lockdown, is safer and more comfortable than ever.”
The Eastleigh bus stop improvements scheme includes:
Improvements to X6/X7 service bus stop infrastructure - The X6 and X7 bus services, operated by Xelabus provide a vital hourly
link between Hiltingbury and Eastleigh town centre, via Chandler’s Ford. This project proposes to upgrade bus stop infrastructure, together with making accessibility improvements at up to 25 bus stops. These improvements could include enhanced footways in the vicinity of bus stops, dropped kerbs at crossing points so people with limited mobility can cross the road more easily, and raised boarding kerbs at bus stops to provide step-free entry onto buses.
Real Time Passenger Information and bus stop infrastructure:
The programme allows for the installation of high-quality bus stop posts with aluminium cases and flags. The materials have been chosen for their long lasting and low maintenance attributes.
Cases for displaying timetables will enable bus operators to provide printed timetable information at more stops, which include QR codes for passengers to access Real Time Information from their mobile device.
An additional 15 to 20 bus shelters would be provided to increase the number of covered waiting facilities. The shelters will be installed in locations where agreement on ownership with Eastleigh Borough or the local Parish Council can be reached.
Footways and kerbs at bus stops will be reconstructed to make it easier for passengers to get on and off buses safely.
Existing survey data will be updated to examine access from the footway to the bus, access to the footway, and access to suitable crossing points.
Whilst specific locations cannot be finalised until this survey data is updated, the likely locations for improvement are anticipated to be along the X9/Bluestar 3 routes through Boorley Green and Horton Heath, as well as The Square in Hamble.
It is expected that work will be carried out and completed by the end of December 2021.