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Hampshire goes it alone with new transport initiative

HAMPSHIRE COUNTY Council is set to appoint its own passenger transport executive in a bid to speed up development of its proposed rapid transit scheme.

Initial agreement has been made with transport operators to create the public transport body to help implement the authorities' policies. However, unlike a PTE it will not be appointed by the Government or have the backing of ministers.

Negotiation is under way with Railtrack and bus companies First Group and Stagecoach to create a long term partnership to improve public transport in Hampshire. Central to the plan is the development of a light rail/guided busway scheme from Gosport to Fareham near Portsmouth.

Fully integrated ticketing using smart cards and real time information will be introduced to the new transit system. It is hoped that the new body will be better equipped to attract capital funds for the project. Government approval is expected within months, now that quality partnerships have been agreed for the bus priority and guided busway parts of the scheme.

Hampshire's Head of Transportation Tony Ciaburro said: 'We have a tentative agreement that the concept of working together in this way - subject to competition laws - is a good one.

'What we are doing is sharing basic principles and planning ideas at an early stage.'

He added: 'We are still looking at the extent to which this body should be private sector led or county council led.'

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