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Monday, 3 November 2014

New Forest Beach Bus shortlisted for UK Bus Awards

A New Forest bus service has been nominated for a national award after a successful summer.

Beach Bus team after being shortlisted for an UK Bus Award: (front row from l-r) Nat Taplin from the New Forest National Park Authority (NFNPA), Annie Lawrie from NFNPA, Paul Goddard from morebus, (middle row from l-r) Nigel Philpott from Exbury Gardens, Alistair Strong from morebus, Mark Holroyd from NFNPA, Gary Rose from morebus, and (back row) Wayne Clarke from morebus.
In only its second season, the Beach Bus attracted 7,993 passenger trips to Hythe, Lepe, Beaulieu and Lymington in just 37 days - a 35% increase from 5,898 passengers journeys in 2013.

As well as hourly services and a free ferry link from Southampton to Hythe, passengers also enjoyed discounts at attractions and free ice creams at Lepe beach during its five week season (26 July – August 31).

Now, the Beach Bus has been shortlisted as one of five finalists for Local Authority Bus Project of the Year at the UK Bus Awards.

The service is run by the New Forest National Park Authority in partnership with operator morebus, as part of a Department for Transport (DfT) funded campaign to encourage more people to travel without a car in the National Park.

Andrew Wickham, Managing Director of operator morebus, said: ‘We’re very pleased with this recognition from the UK Bus Awards which is one of the most prestigious industry awards in the country.

‘It can take some time to establish a new bus service, but the Beach Bus hit the ground running in its first year with substantial growth this summer. It became so popular that we had to run extra services at the end of the day to take people home from the beach at Lepe.’

Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre, Chairman of the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘We’re delighted with this nomination from the UK Bus Awards. The Beach Bus has been very popular with residents and visitors, helping take cars off the road and reduce carbon emissions.

‘We’ve developed an excellent partnership with operators More bus and we’re grateful for the support from local businesses and organisations.’

Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in London on 18 November.

For more details about the Beach Bus visit www.thebeachbus.info.

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