Southern Vectis has produced its wishlist to make the Island's bus service better.

Bus lanes, increased frequency of rural services and better reliability are among the bus firm's visions.

However, its partner, the Isle of Wight Council, has reacted today (Friday) calling the list an 'operational heads up' of issues, saying it would be wrong to assume any item from the list would be delivered over the next 20 years.

In its half of the Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP), Southern Vectis, part of the Go South Coast group, created 116 proposals it believes could improve the current bus network.

A number of the proposals relate to bus gates or bus lanes, including one all the way around Coppins Bridge, in Newport, and one to avoid the congestion on Fairlee Road by using a 'Fairlee Bus Transit Route', created on the former railway lines.

To improve journey times and reliability issues, it also suggests bus lanes in the following areas:

  • Around the junction at Newport Road, in Northwood
  • Blackwater Road, in the run up to the Shide Junction
  • From the approach to the Asda Roundabout, along St George's Way and the entire length of Church Litten
  • Brading Road, Westridge, between the traffic lights and Tesco roundabout
  • Between Lake Hill and Newport Road on Sandown Road
  • In the run up to the Racecourse roundabout from Lushington Hill and Whippingham Road
  • Alum Bay New Road, Totland, between Alum Bay Old Road and the roundabout

Also on the list are: fixing poor quality bus shelters, adding more stops at Newport Bus Station and removing on-street parking and widening some Island roads.

The partnership agreed with the sentiment and included the target of introducing a bus priority scheme around the Island by 2040, although the Isle of Wight Council said bus lanes were not being discussed at the moment.

In a statement, Cllr Phil Jordan, the council's cabinet member for infrastructure and transport, called the list aspirational but said the 116-point list was not agreed works nor part of any discussions to date.

He said the suggestion of bus lanes being built at Coppins Bridge is 'simply not being discussed at this time'.

However, he said there was every chance road infrastructure talks would take place before then.

Cllr Jordan: "The list will form part of discussions, as we jointly work towards finding the final strategy for the Enhanced Bus Partnership and then on into the future until 2040 as we work to improve public transport for our Island.

"We have much work as we continue to improve our transport services on the Island and we are working hard, and with clear direction, to deliver a sustainable and better service which more people will want to use.

"Talking at this stage about the final detail of how we do that is very premature indeed."

Andrew Wickham, managing director of Southern Vectis, said the partnership was a welcome boost for the Island, as buses were an 'excellent solution' for reducing congestion.

Mr Wickham said: "The BSIP would lead to more frequent buses, and faster journeys — and would mean our customers can be sure our schedules will match their plans, whatever their reason for travelling.”