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Commuters on South Hampshire UK Buses to Get Free Wi-Fi Internet Service

Thursday, Aug 16th, 2012 (7:38 am) - Score 718

A successful £4.5m bid by the Hampshire County Council‘s (HCC) transport division to the UK government’s £50m Better Bus Area Fund (BBAF) means that commuters travelling on local bus services in South Hampshire (Southampton, Portsmouth etc.) will soon gain free wireless internet (wifi) access.

The Transport for South Hampshire (TfSH) project is supported by additional funding from Black Velvet Travel, First, Stagecoach and Go South Coast (includes Bluestar, Uni-link, and Wilts & Dorset), which brings the total investment to £7.5m. The FREE wifi service itself is expected to start being rolled out to 565 local buses from this month.

Councillor Mel Kendal, Chairman of Transport for South Hampshire, said:

By the end of August the first-phase of work to install free WiFi on buses across South Hampshire will have been completed for services in Southampton and the surrounding area, including parts of Test Valley, Winchester, Eastleigh and the Waterside.

The second phase this autumn will see the programme rolled out in the south east of the county, including Portsmouth. Free Wi-Fi is just one of a range of initiatives we are working on with bus operators to improve bus travel in South Hampshire. We believe that by improving the overall passenger experience, this will encourage more people to travel by bus – and this, in turn, will help to stimulate the local economy.

This investment, added to other successful bids for Local Sustainable Transport Funding for this area, will bring significant transport improvements for all forms of road-based travel. Attracting new customers and encouraging people to leave their cars at home will help save them money by avoiding high fuel costs, boost their fitness levels and help them develop a more active lifestyle. As more and more people switch to alternative ways of travelling, we should start to see some positive benefits such as gradual reductions in traffic volumes, allowing the local economy to grow so that more jobs are created.”

Indeed it should be stressed that free wireless connections are only a small part of the project. The plan also involves the refurbishment of 137 buses (e.g. new wooden-effect flooring, LED lighting and upholstery for seats), installation of next stop audio visual systems, extra customer training for bus drivers, smart card ticketing systems and communication tags at bus stops providing up to date bus timetable information via smart phones.

The cost of the wifi project itself is expected to be £900,000 over two years with the bus operators picking up the ongoing costs after that time.

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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