Bus service axed after six months

First published in News Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Politics and business reporter

SOUTHAMPTON'S bright yellow City Clipper buses are being axed just six months after the service was launched.

Public notices have been put up on the fleet of buses which "breeze around Southampton" city centre every 15 minutes.

Ten bus drivers, dubbed "ambassadors for the city", are also to lose their jobs, bosses confirmed yesterday.

Managing director Nick Farthing said the decision was made because the company was facing a £200,000 shortfall by the end of the year.

He blamed circumstances beyond his control and having been "let down by financial partners".

Mr Farthing said passenger numbers - from a potential 2,500 - were on target and insisted: "We are not in debt to anyone."

The air-conditioned environmentally-friendly City Clipper buses, launched in April, run in clockwise and anti-clockwise circuits designed to suit workers, residents, students and tourists.

As well as stops near major offices, housing developments and the city centre's museums, shops, hotels and leisure and education facilities, the buses takes passengers straight to other transport links.

There are stops by Southampton Central railway station, the coach station and connections to other bus routes.

The service was launched as a partnership between Ocean Link (Southampton) and Princess Coaches.

Mr Farthing said the buses were something the city has been crying out for and had high hopes to fill a gap in the market.

He said business and colleges had lobbied for the service.

With tickets at just £2 for all-day travel or £1 for a single ticket, he hoped also it might help ease Southampton's congestion and parking problems.

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