A BUS service linking two Hampshire towns is celebrating its first birthday.

The Eclipse BRT system, run by First between Gosport and Fareham, is marking the milestone next Monday by giving away 2,000 free bus tickets through an initiative called “AnniversaFree Day”.

Birthday cakes will be handed out to some lucky travellers on the same day.

The company has also organised a special pre-birthday event in Gosport town centre on Thursday, giving people the chance to pick up birthday cake, free balloons and information about the E1 and E2 services.

First will also be giving those people attending the chance to win free travel or an iPad at the event outside the Discovery Centre from 10am to 4pm.

Eclipse BRT was developed in response to a need to provide a fast and efficient public transport link between Gosport and Fareham.

Passenger numbers are said by the company to have risen steadily, with more than 1.3 million passenger journeys made since the service began last year.

Overall the number of people using public transport to travel between Gosport and Fareham has risen too, by 11.86 per cent.