BUS passengers on the busiest route around Bognor Regis are enjoying better vehicles.
The new buses for the renamed Star route between the town centre and Elmer and North Bersted have been officially launched.
The event took place on the Place St Maur ahead of the relaunch of the route next Monday by Stagecoach South.
Managing director Andrew Dyer said: “This is about launching our new fleet of vehicles on our busiest network in Bognor.
“We have made an investment of more than £500,000 in the six vehicles.
“They are replacing a fleet which is about seven years old and we are re-naming the route from Star 1 to Star.
“It is our policy to put new vehicles on the busiest route to ensure the maximum number of people benefit from them.”
The route carries some thousands of people a year.
The Optare Solo buses have the same capacity of seated passengers – 28 – as the previous buses but are slightly longer to provide more legroom.
“We carry a lot of mums with buggies and people with lots of shopping on our off-peak services in Bognor and have put the importance on their comfort rather than cramming more people in,” said Mr Dyer.
The new buses began to be used in the past few weeks. The route takes five buses. The spare is used on other routes if it is not needed to cover for one being serviced.
The route’s new name reflects the fact the former Star 2 service was altered last year.
Mr Dyer said he was confident about bus services around Bognor. “Bus services have a very bright future.
“We are obviously seeing a lot of new houses and I see more bus routes in the years to come as we respond to that growth. People are also becoming more environmentally aware and realise catching the bus can be good for the environment.”
Felpham county councillor Graham Jones caught the Star to the launch from Elmer. “They are nice and comfortable,” he said. “There is also a good frequency for six days but it would be good to have buses on Sundays as well.”