A BUS operator has joined forces with Eastleigh Borough Council to encourage more people to be eco-friendly on their commute.

Bluestar is teaming up with the council to urgeurging Eastleigh residents to leave their cars at home and take a bike or bus instead.

The council has now installed cycle parking at stops along the bus operator’s Bluestar 1 route between Chandler’s Ford and Otterbourne, in a bid to help people get fitter, save money and to ease traffic congestion.

Bluestar communications manager, Nikki Honer said: “Walking to your bus stop is a great way to be more healthy but we understand that, for some people, this is just not possible. They may have time constraints or live just that little bit too far away. “Now our customers can cycle to their local bus stop and leave their bikes at special parking bays across our Bluestar 1 route for the day, before travelling with us for the remainder of their journeys.”

Cycle parking can be found at stops on Chilworth Roundabout, Chandler’s Ford, Chandler’s Ford precinct, Fryern Hill shops, Thornden School and Otterbourne Hill.

Nikki added: “Our buses run every 15 minutes across this route –- so passengers will never have to wait for long, and there are free Wi-Fi and individual USB charging points onboard too –- for those with smart devices.

“Anyone who doesn’t already own a bike can take advantage of our competition. We’re offering £150 of vouchers to spend at Peter Hansford Cycles in Chandler’s Ford for our winner. So there’s plenty of incentive to take advantage of the warmer months, get fit and save money this summer.”

Cabinet member for transport and street scene, Cllr David Airey said: “This is a great idea coming from Bluestar in partnership with EBC. Bluestar 1 is the perfect route to encourage the bike to bus initiative locally and has the potential to be popular with commuter and leisure travellers alike.”

For more information about the scheme –- and the Bluestar bike competition –- visit bluestarbus.co.uk.