A Southampton bus operator has unveiled 16 brand new double decker buses that will ‘reduce congestion across the city.’

On Thursday, Southampton bus operator, Bluestar celebrated the arrival of 16 new buses at a special launch event in Guildhall Square.

Bluestar said that thanks to an investment of around £5 million, the bus company’s latest fleet is now in a better position to serve Southampton residents.  

The 16 new double decker buses operating will be operating both Bluestar’s number two service between Southamton and Fair Oak and the number seven route, between Lordshill and Sholing.

Managing Director at Bluestar, Andrew Wickham said: “Our aim is to help reduce congestion across the region - and we believe making sustainable transport more attractive is key to that.

Daily Echo: Andrew Wickham with two of the new buses Andrew Wickham with two of the new buses (Image: Submitted)“We have made a significant investment in these new buses, and we expect them to be well-received by those who use the two and seven services.

“The seating on-board is more comfortable than ever, and each vehicle sports the latest Euro six low emissions engine.

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“Just one fully-loaded double decker has the potential to take up to 75 cars off our roads, so we believe we have made the right decision, adding these impressive new buses to our fleet.”

The Alexander Dennis E400 MMC bus model also has on-board technology - offering USB charging points for smartphones and hand-held devices, and contactless ‘tap on tap off’ ticketing facilities.

In addition to the brand new buses, Bluestar is making further improvements - with 18 new single decker buses and 11 refurbished double decker buses, to be used elsewhere across its network.

Southampton City Council leader, Cllr Lorna Fielker told the Echo: “Bluestar stepped in to take over routes when First Bus pulled out of the city – with Bluestar pulling out all the stops to source buses at short notice.

“It is great that their new buses have now been delivered to replace the old ones being used, and that these have been designed to ensure more people with mobility, sight, or hearing difficulties can get around Southampton independently.”

It comes after Bluestar announced changes to several routes across the city which came into effect last month.

Among those was an increased frequency of the Bluestar 1, between Winchester and Southampton.

In line with the weekday schedule, the Bluestar 2 route, linking Southampton, Eastleigh, and Fair Oak, now also runs every 15 minutes on Saturdays, up from every 20 minutes.

Bluestar 2 also introduced improved evening services on weekdays and Saturdays from April 14, with the new buses serving the improved route.