New Forest National Park gets funding for pedal buses

A pedal bus used in North Carolina in the USA Pedal buses are powered by all its passengers and usually a driver

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The New Forest National Park has received £3.6m in government funding to improve its cycling facilities for families - including 15 pedal buses.

Visitors can hop on board the eight-seater bus and help power it to locations within the 220-sq-mile (570-sq-km) Hampshire heath and woodland.

Local schools will design the buses, which will cost about £500,000 of the Department for Transport (DfT) money.

They will run from March to October and operate to published timetables.

The DfT money is part of a drive to promote cycling in cities and national parks across England.

Other projects for the National Forest include a family cycling centre adjacent to Brockenhurst rail station, a network of rental bike docking stations and improvements to signage on existing cycle routes.

The New Forest National Park Authority estimates the improvements would replace an estimated 127,000 car journeys with bike trips every year.

Park authority chairman Julian Johnson said the schemes would mean that "leaving your car at home and choosing to cycle to and around the National Park will be much more appealing for families".

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