Sunday, 22 April 2018

Pound Tree Road travel shop: GONE!

The First travel shop in Pound Tree Road in Southampton City Centre closed for the last time on Friday. First chose to notify passengers by issuing this message on ... err ... Friday. There's been a travel shop from First/Citybus/SCT on Pound Tree Road for decades, since long before privatisation. Can anyone remember when it originally opened?

First are steering people who used to use the travel shop to their website and app, which is fine for those of us comfortable with the technology, but some people will inevitably be left behind.

Southbourne Buses launch the S40 this Tuesday. It's a once-weekly shoppers' service from Ferndown via West Moors and Fordingbridge to Salisbury. See the timetable here.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Yellow B1 clings on / Bluestar upgrade

Yellow Buses' full network change came in this weekend just gone in Bournemouth - full details here and here. The lettered 'lines' have been abandoned in favour of simple route numbers.

The Bourne Line is now the 4/4a for example... except for when it isn't - the B1 is still running until 26th May when it will be replaced by new Yellow service 737 - yet another route number for Bournemouth Airport.

The council contracted routes that had been integrated into the 'lines', such as the Dolphin Line and Heath Line revert to their old route numbers 18, 33 and 36. More have taken over the 20 (which was half of Yellow D1) and the R4/R5 which keep their 'line' era lettering until the end of May when they'll be integrated into More 14.

More 32 has also has a slight route change.

In Southampton, Bluestar 1 and 2 are improved from this coming weekend. The 2's headline daytime frequency increases from every 20 to every 15 minutes and there are more evening journeys from Southampton to Eastleigh. The 1 has a few new journeys too plus posh new buses that are simply too nice to use on a route that doesn't go through Chandler's Ford.

Monday, 12 March 2018

New timetables in Bournemouth & Winchester / Summer starts for Weymouth & Marwell

Yellow Buses' network is completely reworked in Bournemouth and Poole from 8th April, with every route changing back to conventional route numbers. See the new timetables here. It looks like More are taking on the R4 and R5 routes, which are being abandoned by Yellow.

Stagecoach have new timetables on most of their Winchester routes from 25th March. See full details and the new timetables here.

Also on 25th March we have a timetable change to First X54 (Poole-Weymouth) and their entire Weymouth network.

Plus, First M1 (Southampton-Marwell Zoo) relaunches for the summer season from 30th March. First don't think you're interested in the timetable yet, as it isn't on their website, but you can see it on Traveline here.

See a summary of all changes on the way here.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Yellow numbers to return

Last January (2017), Yellow Buses revamped their entire network throughout Bournemouth and Poole. Route numbers were replaced by lettered 'lines', with the routes identified by a letter and a number. The burghers of Bournemouth have spoken and from 8th April this year, many of the changes are reversed. The lettered lines are replaced by numbers again, although some of them will still have 'a' versions (1a, 4a etc).

Here's how the new network will look from April:

Compared to the current network, this is slightly cut down. Bournemouth Airport is cut off from public transport and West Moors loses its Yellow link. Some of the council-funded routes are up for retender, so Yellow might retain them or they could go to another operator depending on what the councils decide.

Here's the current network, running since September 2017:

This is what the current lines looked like in April 2017:

Before the lines were introduced, this was how the numbered network looked prior to January 2017:

Timetables will be out in a few weeks, but the frequencies for the new routes are shown here.

At the same time, the Route One ticket is being withdrawn, which will present fare payers on some routes with a price rise.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

First X54 axed ?

Update 30.1.2018: It looks like just a convoluted timetable change rather than full withdrawal of the X54, for now at least. We'll scour the timetable as soon as the powers that be have determined that we mere passengers can see it! UPDATE 2.2.2018: See the new timetable here.

It's not just in Southampton that First are making savage cuts. In the far west of our region, route X54 has connected Poole and Weymouth in some form or another for several years, with a new timetable coming in on 25th March.

For end-to-end and many intermediate journeys, the train (now operated by First) provides an alternative. But there are many villages for whom the X54 was their main or only public transport. Dorset County Council no longer produce bus route maps of the county, but the last one in 2016 gives us an idea of the terrain:

This is an old map and many of the routes on it no longer run

More Purbeck Breezer 40 will continue to run more frequently between Poole and Wareham, so let's concentrate on Wareham to Weymouth. The following villages rely on the X54 as their only public transport link:

From Warmwell, Damory 5 also provides a limited service via Osmington and Preston into Weymouth.

The once great Jurasic Coaster service which used to run from Poole to Exeter is no more. The Exeter end has already been axed and the eastern leg is a pale shadow of its former self.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

January Round Up

First have released their new timetable booklet for Southampton, which takes effect from next Sunday 21st January. See it here. With the withdrawal of route 12, their network map now looks like this:

Compare it with September 2009 to get an idea of just how far First have run down their services in our city:

Passengers who rely on First 12 can switch to Bluestar 7 from 21st Jan, which is being extended to Lordshill via the 12's route. See the new 7 timetable here.

Much of the reason for First's long term local decline has been the intervention of the University of Southampton in the local bus market. They were unhappy with how First were serving their staff and students, so worked to bring about an alternative: Unilink. For several years, the Unilink routes have been operated by Bluestar and therefore integrated into the wider Bluestar network. The University are clearly happy with the job Bluestar are doing, as they've just renewed their Unilink contract for another 10 years. This makes any return of First to Swaythling and Bassett highly unlikely.

In other news, Stagecoach 66 has a new timetable since 8th Jan due to roadworks in Romsey.

Stagecoach 39 in Havant gets a new timetable from 28th Jan with only minor changes.

From the same date, some fares and ticket prices are going up on Stagecoach. Don't forget you can pay less by switching from paper tickets to their Smart card or mobile app.

Yellow Buses have revised times on their Uniline U6, U9 and U10 routes from Sunday 21st January. Details here.

Thursday, 28 December 2017

New Year's Eve 2017 and New Year's Day 2018

Here's how our region's buses will be running over the New Year weekend:

There's a normal Saturday service on all routes on Saturday 30th December 2017.

On New Year's Eve 2017, the same level of service will run as did so on Christmas Eve - click here for full details.

Then on New Year's Day 2018, here's what will be running:

  • Bluestar: Special timetable on routes 1, 2, 4, 9, 12, 17 and 18 only. Other routes will not run.
  • More: Special timetables operate on routes m1/m2, 5, 8/9, 13, 16/17 and X3. No service on other routes.
  • Salisbury Reds: Sunday service on X3. No service on other routes.
  • Stagecoach: Full Sunday service. Please note that Salisbury Reds journeys on Activ8 will not run
  • Yellow: Special timetable on routes B1/B3, P1/P2/P3, R1/R2/R3, U6 and V1/V2 only. No service on other routes.
  • Damory, First, Unilink, Xelabus: No service.

Here are your New Year's Day services in detail, by area:

Only the following routes will run in and around Southampton, with these special timetables:

No other services will run. There is no service at all on First, Unilink, Xelabus or Wheeler's.

Only the following More and Yellow routes will run, with these special timetables. There will be no service on any other route in Bournemouth and Poole.

In Portsmouth and Havant, Stagecoach will be providing a full Sunday service. See their network map here and find timetables here.

First however, will not be running any service whatsoever, so most of Portsmouth and all of Fareham and Gosport will be a bus-free zone.

In Winchester too, Stagecoach are providing a full Sunday service. See their network map here and find timetables here.

The only other route running in Winchester will be Bluestar 1, with this special New Year's Day timetable:

Only two routes will be running in Salisbury on New Year's Day: More/Salisbury Reds X3, with this special timetable:

... and on Activ8, Stagecoach will be running their journeys to a Sunday timetable, but Salisbury Reds aren't running any of their journeys. To make it clear, here are the journeys that will be running:

No other services will run.

Normal service resumes on Tuesday January 2nd, with a new timetable on More X8, which has a route change to serve the new Lidl in Blandford. There's also the launch of More X8A, which will be a new Blandford town service. Full details here.

Xelabus also have some minor changes from 2nd January on Eastleigh routes X4, X6 and X7. Details here.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Buses on 27th, 28th & 29th December 2017

Here's how our region's buses will be running on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday the 27th to 29th December:

Bluestar: Saturday timetables on most routes, plus some extra morning buses. Normal school holiday weekday timetables apply on Quayconnect, B*6, 35, 36 (Thurs only), 39 (not Thurs), H1/H2 (not Thurs), T3/T4 (Thurs only)
Damory: Normal weekday school holiday service.
First PortsmouthSaturday levels of service on all routes, except routes 21/21A, 28/28A and D1/D2, which have a weekday service.
First Southampton: Saturday service.
First Wessex X54: No service.
First Bath 265: Saturday service.
More: Normal Saturday timetable on all routes except Routes X1, X2, 24, 38, 112, 119, 125, 191/193 and Cango, which will run to a Monday to Friday timetable
Salisbury Reds: Saturday service on X3 and Activ8. Weekday service on all other routes.
Stagecoach Portsmouth: Saturday service, except routes 37, 38 & Hoverbus which will run a weekday non-schoolday service
Stagecoach Winchester: Saturday service, except routes 6A (Weds/Fri), 46 & 63 (Weds/Fri) which will run a weekday service
Unilink: Vacation Saturday service with no night buses.
Xelabus: Normal Weekday service for Hoppa, X6, X7, X8 (Thurs/Fri), X12 (Thurs), X17 (Weds as usual, plus also running on Friday). Saturday service for X4, X9, X10, X11. Reduced service for Route X15No service for Route X5
Yellow: Saturday service.

Look up the exact timetable for any particular day on Traveline.

Saturday 30th December sees a normal Saturday service on all routes.

See details of all festive service changes across the region here.