In September 2018, Portsmouth City Council and Hampshire County Council were one of twelve city regions shortlisted to bid for a share of the Department for Transport’s £1.28 billion Transforming Cities Fund. This fund is for public transport improvements across South East Hampshire.

Working in partnership with Hampshire County Council and the Isle of Wight Council, the Portsmouth city region bid was successfully awarded £55.6m from the Transforming Cities Fund in September 2020. This follows an initial grant of £4m.

Building on the success of the Star and Eclipse, the Hard Interchange and Portsmouth Park & Ride, the Transforming Cities Fund will enable the next phase of the South East Hampshire Rapid Transit network.

'Tranche 1' funding

The Department for Transport released two waves of funding for the Transforming Cities Fund. First, shortlisted cities could bid for ‘quick wins’ – projects that can begin in the financial year 2018/19 and support the overall bid. The Portsmouth city region business cases were successful for the ‘quick win’ funding, and received the full ask of £4 million from the initial fund. From this ‘Tranche 1’ funding, £2.6m will be spent on three junction improvements in Portsmouth and Real Time Information installation at bus stops across Portsmouth, Havant and Waterlooville. The remaining £1.4m will be used to support the extension of the existing Eclipse bus route in Gosport.

'Tranche 2' funding

The Portsmouth city region Strategic Outline Business Case, for ‘Tranche 2’ funding was submitted to the DfT in November 2019. In September 2020, the joint bid was awarded £55.6 million towards the total scheme package of £101.7 million, with match funding provided by each of the bidding authorities and their partners First Bus, Stagecoach, and the borough councils.

Funding will support 23 schemes across the city region which include improvements for walking and cycling. This is an important next step for the three authorities towards developing a rapid transit network for the area.

You can read the Portsmouth city region Tranche 2 re-bid document in the  Documents section of this page.

Productivity and competitiveness

At the moment, the Portsmouth city region lags behind the UK average in GVA (the unit which measures how productive an area is) and competitiveness. There is a high concentration of ‘left behind’ places, where poor connectivity is a key cause of poverty, poor health, and reduced productivity in the area.

The significant travel and transport challenges in this unique area hadn’t been looked into for many years. This caused a negative impact on productivity, air pollution and social exclusion. Without a significant intervention, the trend will continue to get worse.

Portsmouth city region’s South East Hampshire Rapid Transit (SEHRT) proposition unites the three authorities and our local bus operators in a unique partnership. Together, they will achieve huge changes and unlock the potential of this area by delivering:

  • Productivity growth through improved public transport links to high productivity employment and education and skills development opportunities for more people within the Portsmouth area.
  • Reduced levels of deprivation and increased levels of employment through improved connectivity by public transport, walking and cycling.
  • Enabling sustainable delivery of housing developments, through the creation of bus priority corridors across South East Hampshire, enabling developments such as Welborne and Tipner West.
  • Improved journey times and reliability for people using public transport through extensive infrastructure improvements and reallocation of highway space.
  • Improved air quality and reduced carbon emissions, through improved mode share for public transport and active travel, bus operator commitment for industry-leading low-emission vehicles, and an investment in walking and cycling routes.