SOUTHAMPTON residents are asked to ditch their cars once a week and use public transport in a bid to tackle air pollution.

The news comes a week after Southampton City Council (SCC) confirmed that it is looking into plans for a car-free day in the city.

Now Southampton-based bus company Bluestar has launched The Bluestar Promise – an initiative challenging people living and working in the city to replace their car journeys for bus trips just one day a week.

Talking about the proposed car-free day, the company said it welcomes any initiative designed to reduce the effects emissions have on the environment.

On Wednesday, company representatives were on hand at the Bargate to talk to people and businesses about signing up to the Bluestar challenge.

Andrew Wickham, Bluestar managing director, said: “It may not sound like much, but one of our new buses carrying 70 people gives off less harmful emissions than a brand new diesel car. If thousands of people committed to this change it could have a significant impact on the air quality here in Southampton. ”

The company claims to be the first operator in the world to test an air filtering system, which is fitted on the roof of one of its buses and cleans the air around it as it makes its way across the city.

“We won’t rest on our laurels though. Over the coming months and years, we will look to introduce more new additions to our fleet. And we welcome further cooperation with others – including Southampton City Council, other bus operators and car drivers – who share our stance on improving the local environment for people living and working in the region,” Mr Wickham added.

As reported, members of Clean Air Southampton and Southampton Friends of the Earth asked the city council to look into plans for a car-free day in the city centre.

The authorty said plans are being considered but stressed that no decisions have been made yet.

The plans were supported by GO Southampton, the city’s Business Improvement District (BID) while Southampton Itchen MP Royston Smith said the idea is imrpessive but “too radical”.