Residents of Portsmouth are being asked to show their support for small and independent businesses on Small Business Saturday, whilst enjoying a host of festive activities and free travel on all bus routes in the city.

Portsmouth City Council have been working with local bus companies First Solent and Stagecoach South to bring free travel to Portsmouth on 2 December to celebrate the small and independent businesses that help to make Portsmouth great.

Activities on the day include a ‘Small Business Saturday Taster Market’ on Commercial Road, that will showcase a host of local makers and e-tailers and will run alongside the Christmas Market.

Free travel on buses in Portsmouth has been made possible as part of the £48 million Portsmouth Bus Service Improvement Plan. A scheme which will run until 2025 and is aimed at transforming bus services within the city. There are more changes planned for public transport next year, including new and improved ticketing deals on buses and much more.

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Cabinet Member for Transport, said:

“We are delighted to help with the Christmas shopping this year, by offering free buses on Small Business Saturday. Small businesses are at the heart of our economy, and this is a great way to shine a spotlight on them and give them a much-needed boost over this festive season. It’s also a great chance to encourage the people of Portsmouth to try using the bus, and to see how simple and easy it really is.”

Simon Goff, Managing Director, First Solent, said:

“Supporting our local community is so important to us, and we’re proud to help people travel for free by bus on Small Business Saturday. Whether you’re a regular bus user, or you haven’t been on a bus for years, I’d urge you to make the most of this initiative. As well as it being a great way to come and enjoy the best of small and independent businesses in Portsmouth, taking the bus is a greener, more sustainable way to travel.”

Marc Reddy Managing Director of Stagecoach South said:

“We’re delighted to once again be working in partnership with Portsmouth City Council on this great initiative.”

“By offering free travel, we want to encourage people to try the bus, to enjoy all the activities taking place and support our local businesses, whilst helping to reduce congestion and improve the air quality in the city”.

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