Sunday, 1 May 2016

Solent Bus Update: Regional roundup

As part of a new series, once a month, we will look beyond Greater Southampton for a summary of the upcoming changes to bus services right across South Hampshire, Salisbury and Bournemouth & Poole. My aim is to do one of these posts on the first Sunday of each month, with the usual, more regular posts concentrating on our core region in and around Southampton.

So here are the changes coming up right across the region. Click the route numbers to see the new timetables:

8th May:
First X53 Poole-Exeter
Split, with the Poole section renumbered X54 and running as far as Weymouth.

10th May:
Stagecoach 37 Havant-Petersfield
A change had been scheduled for this route, but seems to have been cancelled.

29th May:
Stagecoach 23 Southsea-Leigh Park

Stagecoach 30/31 Havant-Hayling Island

Stagecoach 700 Portsmouth-Brighton
Only the Portsmouth-Flansham section is shown here:
There is a route change in Central Portsmouth as follows:

Damory 152 Poole-Rockley Park
Sunday service and route variation introduced.

More 14/16 Poole-Kinson/Bournemouth

More 5/6 Poole-Canford Heath

More M1/M2/N1/N2 Poole-Castlepoint/Southbourne

More 60 Poole-Sandbanks
The existing route 52 is being renumbered 60. Sunday service introduced.

More 50 Bournemouth-Swanage

Bluestar 6 Southampton-Lymington

31st May:
More 38 Ringwood-Ferndown

More 32 Poole-Bournemouth
Cut to either two or three journeys each way Mon-Sats only.

More X6 Poole-Bournemouth
Fewer buses between Verwood and Ringwood. More buses between Ringwood and Bournemouth.

More 15 Poole-Bournemouth Hospital

More 40 Poole-Swanage

4th June:
More/Salisbury Reds X3 Bournemouth-Salisbury

5th June:
More 50 Bournemouth-Swanage

Our next Solent Bus Update post will appear on 5th June, by which time we should have the timetables for the following changes:

6th June:
More 125 Ringwood-Christchurch

10th June:
More 13 Bournemouth-Wimborne

More 4 Poole-Wimborne

1st July:
Stagecoach Winchester Park & Ride


Here are links to the websites of the bus operators serving the wider region:



Wider region local transport authorities:




Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Departure boards / Obelisk rat run / Sunday

All bus operators in our region will have a Sunday service on Bank Holiday Monday 2nd May.

Bluestar have introduced live departure boards on their website. From the panel on the left hand side of their front page you can select your route, direction and stop and then see something like this:

Do leave a comment and let us know your experiences of using the new system. The times are supposedly more real than those that appear on NextBuses, which covers all operators nationwide, but tends to rely more often on the timetable rather than actual bus locations:

First three will be rerouted during weekday morning rush hours from 29th May to run via Obelisk Road towards the city centre in order to avoid traffic on Portsmouth Road. Obelisk Road used to have regular bus services until First cut them before this blog started. Do you remember when they were cut?

Stand by for a new type of regular post from Sunday, which might interest our friends in Winchester, Portsmouth, Salisbury and Bournemouth!

Sunday, 10 April 2016

New timetable summary

A reminder that this week just gone, we had new timetables on the following routes. Click the route number to see the new timetable:




From today, 10th April, we have new timetables on the following routes:



From next Sunday, 17th April, there's a new timetable on:





Friday, 1 April 2016

April fool!

As you may have guessed, that last story was indeed an April fool's joke!


First are staying, but hopefully Xelabus will be able to expand anyway.

Normal service resumes...

Farewell First, hello City Green!

After using the comments on this blog to publicise upcoming service changes before they appear on their own website, local bus company Xelabus will announce later today that they are to expand significantly in Southampton, by purchasing First's operations in the city.


First's Southampton network has seen considerable reductions in the last few years. Compare this map of their network back in 2009...


... with their current network:


A Xelabus spokesperson told this blog exclusively that First's core City Red network will change colour: "The successful City Red routes are the foundation from which we can build a major locally owned regional bus network. The branding will change to City Green to bring it into line with our current Village Green rural network."

From this...
...to this...
...alongside this...

The Solent Ranger X4 and X5 routes to Locks Heath, Fareham, Gosport and Portsmouth will remain with First, being operated from their Hoeford depot.

The future of First's non-City Red network hangs in the balance as Xelabus decides whether it's worth continuing to run routes like the 6 to Hamble and the 8 to Hedge End. If they do pull out, Bluestar will no doubt fill the gap in the market.

The official changeover will take place on 1st October.


First have been in our city since 1997 when they bought the former municipal Citybus from its then employees. First has already pulled out of several towns and cities over the last few years, such as Northampton, Wigan, Chester and Hereford.

More as we get it...

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Sunday service on bank holidays / M1 route / Changes next week

Don't forget it's a Sunday service from all operators on Good Friday and Easter Monday.

This Thursday, the 24th, is the final day of First running the Bitterne Hoppa routes. Does anyone know when they started? They've certainly been running for as long as I can remember.

Good Friday is the first day of First M1 running to Marwell Zoo this year. Here's the route for those journeys that start from Southampton City Centre:


and here's the list of stops served towards Marwell:


The Bitterne Hoppa routes resume after a makeover with Xelabus on Wednesday 30th March. Details of the route changes and new timetables here. They will now only run on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Next Tuesday, there are new timetables on Xelabus routes X9, X10 and X12, with the X12 being cut to run on just two days a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays).

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Marwell, Harefield and cricket


First have released the timetable of the M1 for 2016. That's the summer seasonal link between Eastleigh and Marwell Zoo. New for this year is that a couple of journeys a day are extended from and to Southampton City Centre via Portswood. See details and the timetable here.

First 13 to Harefield is getting some extra journeys from 11th April. Details and timetable here.

First 8 is to get an extra Sunday evening journey to cope with the cricket-watching crowds at the Ageas Bowl. It will depart from Hedge End Station at 1850 each Sunday and starts on 10th April.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Out of town in 1978 / Fareham routes then & now

From the 1978 Southampton public transport guide I found the other day, here's how the routes beyond the city's borders used to run:


Here's a close up of Eastleigh's bus network in 1978:


...and as a comparison, this is how it looks now:

A commenter to the previous post asked for the 1978 timetables of routes serving Fareham and Gosport from Southampton. Happy to oblige. We start with the equivalent of today's First X4, which back in 1978 was the limited stop Solenteer X71 running all the way to Southsea via Locks Heath and Fareham. Today's X4 only runs as far as The Hard in Portsmouth, but the rest of the route is fairly similar:



There was no direct motorway express service to Portsmouth in 1978, as that stretch of the M27 still hadn't been built. Today, the motorway bus to Portsmouth is long gone, but the motorway is still there and you can get to Portsmouth fairly quickly with National Express. Plus there's always the train.

For Gosport, you'd use First X5 today, which runs via Fareham. Until recently, buses to Gosport were more direct and that was certainly the case in 1978 with a dedicated express route, the X70 via Bitterne and Locks Heath:


For Fareham, the options are far simpler now, a combined 15 minute daytime frequency on First X4/X5. In 1978 however, you also had the 78 and 80 stopping services running via Woolston and Locks Heath:


The 80 route number was still in use on this very stretch, albeit with a few tweaks, by First until April 2014.

In 1978, you had another two routes running to Fareham, the 53 and 76, both via Bitterne, Hedge End and Botley, where they split with the 53 continuing via Curdridge, Shedfield and Wickham and the 76 going via Park Gate and Catisfield, both terminating in Fareham.



Bluestar 3 is the direct modern day equivalent as far as Botley. To go further, you could have caught First 26 between Hedge End and Fareham via Park Gate until it was withdrawn in January 2015. Now that part of route beyond Botley is unserved. There be dragons!

Any more routes from 1978 you'd like to see?