Thursday, 4 June 2020

Frequencies up, capacity down

Most of our region's bus operators increased their timetables to something approaching 'normal' from the start of this week. What isn't back to normal is the capacity of each bus. To ensure social distancing, many seats are out of use, meaning that each bus can carry about 25% of the number of passengers it is designed for.

As a result, bus travel is still reserved for essential travel only. See the tips and bus company links in our previous post.


First have announced an enhancement to their app which will enable passengers to see how full approaching buses are before they arrive. Sounds great if they can get it working right.


Xelabus start resuming their services from Monday 8th June. From that date, the X4 will run a Saturday service six days a week. Two weeks later, on 22nd June, the X6/X7 resume with a special timetable and the X9/X10 start again with a Saturday service six days a week. All other routes resume on 6th July, with the X11 having a Saturday service six days a week.


First Wessex have further changes to routes 1, 10, X51 and X53 in and around Weymouth and Dorchester from Sunday 7th June.

Sunday, 17 May 2020

Not yet back to normal

Nothing is yet back to normal. Public transport should still be used for absolutely essential travel only and passengers are advised to practise social distancing and to avoid paying by cash where at all possible. Bluestar have a good list of tips to follow if you do need to travel here.

The usual notice periods for bus service changes are suspended, so services can change at very short notice. If you do need to make an essential journey by bus, we therefore recommend you check the website of the operator to see what level of service will be running. Most services are running emergency timetables with a greatly reduced level of service compared to normal.

Here are direct links to the operators' current service level pages...



Apologies for the gap between posts. I've been preoccupied with the aftermath of a death (not due to Coronavirus) in my family.


Thursday, 9 April 2020

Easter weekend, ticket acceptance and more changes


It's no normal Easter weekend by any means. Most operators, including Bluestar, More, Salisbury Reds, Yellow Buses and Southern Vectis, will be running a Coronavirus Sunday service on Good Friday and Easter Monday, but check the operator's websites before you travel just to make sure.


A bit of good news amongst all the service reductions: many of our local operators are accepting each others' tickets. There's a mutual agreement between More and Yellow Buses in Bournemouth. In Southampton, First are accepting Bluestar tickets on common sections of route. In Portsmouth, First are accepting Stagecoach tickets on common sections of their routes. Not yet clear whether Bluestar and Stagecoach have reciprocated, but hopefully they will.

No sign yet of any temporary replacement for Xelabus's service, which are all currently suspended.

More semi-temporary changes are on the way in the next few days:




Stay safe!

  • Please only travel if absolutely necessary, otherwise stay at home
  • Check the bus operator's website to make sure what level of service they are running
  • Please don't use cash. If you can, pay by contactless, smart card or mobile ticketing app

Sunday, 5 April 2020

Update 5th April


Further changes have occurred since last week, with many taking effect today. Generally, there are further reductions, especially on Sundays. A couple of routes that had been suspended have been reinstated with an emergency timetable, mainly in Weymouth and Waterlooville. Select your operator below for the full details...




Further changes are highly likely, so don't forget the three golden rules of bus travel during the lockdown:


  • Please only travel if absolutely necessary, otherwise stay at home
  • Check the bus operator's website to make sure what level of service they are running
  • Please don't use cash. If you can, pay by contactless, smart card or mobile ticketing app


Friday, 27 March 2020

Coronavirus: Changes this weekend

It seems that not a day goes by without some pretty major changes in our bus service at the moment. Remember...


  • Please only travel if absolutely necessary, otherwise stay at home
  • Check the bus operator's website to make sure what level of service they are running
  • Please don't use cash. If you can, pay by contactless, smart card or mobile ticketing app


Here are the latest changes:


All Xelabus services are temporarily suspended after Saturday 28th March. This is sad to see, as Xelabus are the great survivor of Southampton's independent operators. Hopefully they'll be back on the road after the current restrictions are relaxed and will still be around in another ten years.

This does leave some significant gaps in the public transport network, mainly around Eastleigh and Bishops Waltham, but also in Lordswood and Bellemoor. Maybe another operator might step in to provide a skeleton service on the key routes.


Bluestar are further reducing services from Monday. There are new temporary timetables on routes 1, 2, 5, 8, 9, 11, 12, 16, 17 and 18. Routes 3, 4 and 7 are sticking with the temporary timetables from 23rd March. The 6 and other minor routes are still running a normal school holiday timetable.


First are moving generally to a partially enhanced Sunday service every day from Sunday (see our previous post). This would have meant the 13 in Southampton would be suspended, but First have listened and will now be running an emergency timetable on the 13 on weekdays only, meaning Peartree and Harefield are not cut off.

First Bath have a temporary timetable on the Discovery D1 service between Salisbury and Bath from Monday.


Unilink in Southampton reduced services yesterday. See the new timetables here.


Also reducing yesterday to generally a daily enhanced Sunday service is Yellow Buses of Bournemouth. See their full temporary timetables here.


Salisbury Reds and Stagecoach are reducing service on their joint Activ8 service between Salisbury and Andover from Sunday. See the new timetable here.


Stagecoach have until now been running a standard school holiday service in Winchester, Portsmouth and Havant. From Monday, that changes with the introduction of temporary reduced timetables on all routes. See the details for Winchester here and Portsmouth/Havant here.


Stay safe out there. Stay home unless your journey is absolutely essential.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Coronavirus: Further changes today, tomorrow and Sunday

In a very fast changing situation, the following changes have taken effect today:


More X3 and X6 have moved to temporary timetables offering generally an enhanced Sunday service.


Southern Vectis have moved to temporary timetables on routes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9 and 37. Other routes (except 51/52) are still running normally.


Xelabus are moving to a Saturday service across the board, with the X6/X7 running between Eastleigh and Velmore only. Route X15 is now suspended. All services are suspended on Sundays.

From tomorrow,


Unilink in Southampton are introducing temporary timetables, which haven't yet been published on their website. Check with them before travelling.


From Sunday..


First are moving to generally a Sunday service every day across all of their bus operations in Southampton, Portsmouth and Weymouth.



More as we get it.

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Coronavirus: Further changes

The following additional changes apply from today:


Bluestar have some early morning changes on routes 9 and 17, following feedback from key workers, making it easier to get to the General Hospital for a 0730 shift.


More are moving to an enhanced Sunday service on routes M1, M2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 13, 14, 16 and 17. A weekday school holiday service remains on routes 7A, 7B, 7C, 10, 11, 15, 20, 24, 32, 38, 40, 50, 60, RouteONE, Ringo 1, Ringo 2, X1, X2, X3, X6, X8, X8A, 112, 119, 125 (Wednesday and Friday only), 191 and 193. Routes 3, N1 and N2 are temporarily suspended.


Xelabus is suspending the X12 and Bitterne Hoppa until further notice.


First Wessex is running a weekday service on the X54. They had initially said it was suspended, which is now not the case.

Following last night's announcement, more changes are inevitable, so watch this space and check the operators' websites before travelling.


See all upcoming changes across the region at-a-glance here.


Saturday, 21 March 2020

Coronavirus: Service reductions from Monday 23rd March

The Coronavirus is affecting all areas of our lives, despite the selfish and deluded hopes of those who foolishly crowded into pubs on Friday night, well aware of the reason they were being closed.

Current government advice is to only make essential journeys.

This means that demand for bus travel has plummeted, and bus companies are starting to respond. They clearly cannot afford to run nearly-empty buses for long.

If you are using the bus, please avoid using cash if at all possible, in order to minimise the opportunities for the virus to be transmitted between bus workers and other passengers. All of our major operators and most of the minor ones now accept payment by contactless card. Some also have smartcards and/or mobile ticketing apps that all help to reduce the need to use cash. If I was running a bus company, I would stop accepting cash immediately, but so far no operator has chosen to take that step to protect their staff and passengers.

Let's get on with those service reductions, kicking in from Monday across our region. Brace yourselves...

Southampton & Eastleigh:

Bluestar:

  • Enhanced Sunday service will run Mon-Sats on most routes from Monday.
  • Route 19 (Central Station-Thornhill) withdrawn with immediate effect.
  • Weekday school holiday service on routes 3, 5, 35, 36, 39, H1/H2, T3/T4, X7 and Quay Connect.
  • The 6 will have a weekday schoolday service on Monday, then school holiday weekday service from Tuesday.


First Southampton/City Red:



Unilink:



Xelabus:

  • Saturday service on weekdays on routes X4, X9, X10 and X11.
  • Normal weekday service on routes X6, X7, X12, X15 and Bitterne Hoppa.
  • Service suspended indefinitely on route X17 (Eastleigh-Petersfield).


Stagecoach:




Bournemouth & Poole:

Yellow Buses:

  • Saturday service on weekdays from Monday on all routes except 21, which will have a normal weekday service. 
  • Additional journeys on 8 and 737
  • No service on night routes N1 and N5.


More:



Unibus:

  • Emergency timetable on U1.
  • Saturday service on U3 on weekdays.
  • Routes U2 and U4 suspended until further notice.



Portsmouth, Fareham and Havant:

First Portsmouth:



Stagecoach:




Winchester:

Stagecoach:



Bluestar:




Salisbury:

Salisbury Reds:



Stagecoach:



First Bath:




Weymouth:

First Wessex:

  • Saturday service on most routes on weekdays from Monday.
  • Overnight services on route 1 suspended.
  • Route X54 (Weymouth-Poole) suspended until further notice.



Isle of Wight:

Southern Vectis:





See all upcoming changes across the region at-a-glance here.