The Transport for South Hampshire council partnership says local bus passengers will soon be able to enjoy free WiFi on their smartphones, tablets and laptops. The service will be rolled out from this month following a £4.5 million bid to the Department for Transport’s Better Bus Area Fund and additional investment from bus operators. As well as providing free WiFi, the funding will be used to improve & refurbish buses, for driver training and to offer up-to-date bus timetable information via smartphones.
Councillor Mel Kendal, Chairman of Transport for South Hampshire, said “By the end of August the first phase of work to install free Wi-Fi 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.”
The free WiFi project will cost £900,000 for the first two years, with the bus operators paying for ongoing costs after that time.