Record year for green transport in the New Forest

New Forest Tour

Published Tuesday 23 September 2014

It’s been a record year for green transport in the New Forest after 50,000 visitors and residents switched from cars to buses.

The open-top New Forest Tour and Beach Bus enjoyed their best summers, thanks to new stops and discounts, improved ferry links and the warm weather.

The New Forest Travel Concierge at Brockenhurst rail station also enjoyed a bumper summer, helping more than 4,000 people to enjoy car-free experiences.

The services are run by the New Forest National Park Authority in partnership with operators More bus and Bluestar, as part of a Department for Transport (DfT) funded campaign to encourage more people to travel without a car in the National Park. 

  • The New Forest Tour attracted 41,877 passenger journeys on its three routes during its 11-week season this summer, beating last year’s record of 40,653. This saved around 226,000 private car miles. 
  • The Beach Bus attracted 7,993 passenger journeys during its five week season to Hythe, Lepe, Beaulieu and Lymington – a 35% increase from 5,898 passengers in 2013. 
  • The New Forest Travel Concierge gave travel advice to 4,441 visitors and residents, selling 1,445 New Forest Tour tickets and handing out hundreds of car-free leaflets and 1,200 cycling route maps.

The New Forest Tour in particular also provided a boost to local businesses, contributing an estimated £680,000 to the local economy whilst stopping at local villages and attractions such as New Forest Wildlife Park near Ashurst and Ringwood Brewery. 

Alex Harrison, Brand Manager at Ringwood Brewery, said: ‘Being part of the New Forest Tour red route has been a real benefit to the brewery, helping to bring in visitors and support the business. We’re delighted that the Tour continues to grow in popularity.’ 

Andrew Wickham, Managing Director of operators More bus and Bluestar, said: ‘We’ve had another wonderful summer of good weather which undoubtedly has been part of the success story in the New Forest. The easy access to New Forest attractions and villages, plus close links to Southampton via Hythe Ferry, have all helped attract large passenger numbers.’

The New Forest Tour, Beach Bus and New Forest Travel Concierge are supported in part by a £3.8m sustainable transport fund from the DfT, which is shared with the South Downs National Park. The aim is to encourage 370,000 people to get out of their cars and use greener transport by the end of March 2015.

Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre, Chairman of the New Forest National Park Authority, said:  ‘The New Forest Tour, Beach Bus and Travel Concierge have all played an important role in reducing the impacts of congestion and carbon emissions on the National Park’s landscapes. By encouraging visitors and residents to travel without a car, we can help protect its fragile beauty for future generations.’

For more information on the New Forest Tour, Beach Bus and New Forest Travel Concierge visit www.thenewforesttour.info, www.thebeachbus.info and www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/travel_concierge

-ends-

Picture caption: The New Forest Tour green route.

Notes to editor:

The New Forest Tour


The New Forest Tour was awarded a ‘Certificate of Excellence’ by Tripadvisor in 2014 for being listed in the top 10 per cent of businesses on its website.

In 2012 the New Forest Tour won a ‘Highly Commended’ award in the Best Responsible Transport category at the Virgin Holiday Responsible Tourism Awards.

The New Forest Tour follows three routes known as red, green and blue.

  • Green Route: serving Lymington, Beaulieu, Exbury Gardens, Hythe Ferry, Lyndhurst and Brockenhurst
  • Red Route: serving Burley, Ringwood, Fordingbridge, Sandy Balls, Ashurst, New Forest Wildlife Park, Longdown Activity Farm and Lyndhurst
  • Blue Route: serving Brockenhurst, Burley, New Milton, Barton-on-Sea, Milford-on-Sea, Keyhaven and Lymington.

New Forest Tour customers can enjoy five days’ travel for the price of two with a five day ticket. It’s valid for any five days in a two week period.

New for 2014, customers from Southampton can enjoy a free cruise across on Hythe Ferry to join the Tour in Hythe, when they buy a New Forest Tour ticket from Hythe Ferry in Southampton.

Tour passengers can also enjoy free bus travel to and from Salisbury, Southampton and Bournemouth on selected scheduled services. Simply buy your New Forest Tour ticket on scheduled bus services leaving these locations.

The New Forest Tour is supported by the New Forest National Park Authority, and Hampshire County Council.

About the New Forest National Park Authority

Protect - Enjoy - Prosper

The New Forest National Park Authority’s statutory purposes are to:

  • Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Park - Protect.
  • Promote opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities – Enjoy.

 We also have a duty to:

  • Seek to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities within the Park – Prosper.

The New Forest National Park was designated in March 2005. Its unique landscape has been shaped over the centuries by grazing ponies, cattle and pigs which roam free. Majestic woodlands, rare heathland and a spectacular coastline provide fabulous opportunities for quiet recreation, enjoyment and discovery.

Visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk to find out more.

Media Contacts:
Sion Donovan, Communications Officer, New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646639
Email: sion.donovan@newforestnpa.gov.uk

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