BUS passengers can now surf the web for free while on the move in the West Country .

Operator First has installed free wi-fi on more than 420 buses in the West of England region, allowing those with smartphones or other devices, such as tablet computers, to make the most of their travelling time.

The installation was made possible through a link-up between First and the four councils in the former Avon area, which helped secure funding from the Department of Transport. But First also topped up the fund to ensure more of its buses had the service.

As a result, all First buses in Bristol and the vast majority of those operating into and out of Bristol bus station are fully fitted with free wi-fi.

Paul Matthews, managing director of First West of England, said since the wi-fi units started to be fitted last summer, more than 81,000 people had logged onto the system.

Cllr Brian Allinson, chairman of South Gloucestershire Council's planning and transport committee and chairman of the West of England Joint Transport Board, said: "Wi-fi on the buses makes it possible for people to access their email and keep in touch with business contacts or friends while travelling. It makes so much sense and helps make bus travel more attractive to more people, which keep our roads moving.”