Friday, 22 May 2015

Xelabus X24 to Paulton's Park starts tomorrow!

Tomorrow is the first day of Xelabus X24 running from Bitterne to Paulton's Park, limited stop via Woolston, the city centre, Central Station, Shirley, Lordshill, North Baddesley and Romsey.

Here's the timetable:

And here is a list of all stops served. Please note that it only serves the stops listed, so even though it runs through Peartree and Maybush for example, you can't board the bus there:

See local area maps with the stop locations here.

If you need to connect from another route run by a different operator, you can use a Solent Go regional ticket.

For those travelling from further afield, the X24 also calls at Southampton Central and Romsey railway stations.

Further buses to and from Paulton's Park are provided by Salisbury Reds X7, on which Solent Go is also valid.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Summer New Forest route revealed / First managers online

First are having another 'Meet the Manager' session online this Thursday. Details here.

In other news, the route and timetable of Bluestar's Hythe to Ringwood summer-only route have been revealed. It has the provisional route number FBB and will serve Hythe, Beaulieu (including the National Motor Museum), Brockenhurst (including the railway station), Ringwood and Moors Valley Country Park. It will run hourly every Saturday, Sunday and bank holiday from 24th May until 31st October. See the timetable here. Here is the route:

Also from 24th May, all routes serving Lymington get a new timetable due to the closure of the bus station. All buses will now terminate at on-street stops on the town. Here are your links for the new timetables:

Bluestar 6 will also have a new timetable, but it's not yet been released. We'll let you know as soon as it's out. Edit: Bluestar 6 becomes more frequent from that date. See the new timetable here and a leaflet for the Forest Bus network here.

More 112 will become The Beach Bus again this year, but not until 26th July.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Election this Thursday: It's Labour and Green for bus passengers

It is customary for the newspapers to back a political party when it comes to a general election. With their importance waning, it is only right that blogs can do the same thing too.

When it comes to buses, there is a clear choice. We have seen many cuts in the last five years, administered by local authorities, but absolutely as part of a grander plan by the national government.

If the Conservatives form the next government, you can expect more bus services to be cut. Many areas that are connected now are likely to see their bus services lose subsidy and therefore cease to operate. Some lucky areas will only lose evening and Sunday services, but others, especially rural areas, could be cut off completely. For anyone without a car it would represent a major curtailment of the freedom of movement. It would also be bad news for the wider local economy as people are more limited in what jobs they can apply for, meaning companies have a smaller pool of people to recruit from. Those switching to the car will mean more congestion, so that everyone's journeys will take longer and cost more.

This blog therefore believes that a Labour-led government would be best for the country as a whole and for local bus passengers in particular. In seats where they stand a chance, I urge you to vote for the Labour Party.

In this multi-party age however, we can't ignore the smaller parties who often have even better and more sustainable ideas than the larger ones. So in those areas where Labour doesn't have a chance of being elected, I urge you to find out more about and vote for the Green Party.

In Southampton Itchen and Southampton Test, vote Labour.

In Eastleigh, Winchester, Romsey & Southampton North and New Forest East, vote Green.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

First M2: Details

First have released details of route M2, which will run from Lordshill via the city centre, Bitterne and Hedge End to Marwell Zoo. Here's the exact route it will take:

In Lordshill, it will start from stop LC and then run via Romsey Road, Wimpson Lane and Redbridge Hill:

It then goes through Shirley, using stops SI and SJ near the precinct. Then it's past Central Station and through the city centre using stops SA, SG, HE, AB, CB and IF. The blue line is for journeys towards Marwell:

Then it's over Northam Bridge and through Bitterne (stops BD and BE in the centre) and Thornhill Park:

Then it's to Hedge End Superstores and direct to Horton Heath:

Then onwards to Fair Oak and Marwell Zoo:

Here's the timetable from First's new timetable book:

Note the days of operation: Sundays from 1st May (not bank holidays - seriously?) and Wednesdays from 29th July with the last service running on 31st August (which is a bank holiday Monday!?!?)

Here is a list of all stops that will be served:

I hope this works out for First. It's been absolutely years since Southampton had a direct bus to Marwell Zoo (I remember the predecessor of Bluestar 2, then numbered 48, extending beyond Fair Oak to Marwell Zoo every Sunday when I was little), so this really does deserve to do well.

Marwell Zoo offer a 10% discount on the admission price to anyone arriving by public transport too, so keep your bus ticket handy when you leave the bus!

Monday, 13 April 2015

Sunday parade & marathon / Xelabus changes

This Sunday 19th April is the Vaisakhi Parade, which will cause some disruption to bus services. Expect delays and keep an eye on the bus companies' Twitter feeds, which are conveniently all in one place on the right hand panel of this page.

From Monday 20th April, we have new timetables on the following routes. Xelabus and Wheelers don't have the new ones on their websites yet, but we're linking to them on Traveline:

Here are a few maps to help make sense of the changes. First in Fryern Hill, Xelabus X6/X7 will run the full length of Oakmount Road in both directions with the exception of evening X7 journeys that terminate in Fryern Hill:

The X11 will run as follows in Hedge End, running clockwise around the loop and using stops A and H in the town centre:

The X11 will run differently in the city centre, but Traveline is disastrously showing the incorrect route, so see a description of the new route here.

The following Sunday 26th April is the Southampton Marathon, which will be causing a lot of disruption to bus services. Bluestar and Unilink have issued emergency timetables for that day only. First have also detailed their plans although there is some confusion around certain routes. First say the X4 and X5 will terminate in Woolston in the morning, but will run to Central Station in the afternoon, while Traveline says those routes will terminate in Woolston all day. The smaller operators must be relieved that they don't run in the city on Sundays.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Route changes / X24 timetable / Hythe to Ringwood link

First 7 and 11 get new timetables and slight route changes from tomorrow. Details of the changes to the 7 here and the 11 here.

The 7 will no longer serve West Quay towards town, with buses in both directions running via Above Bar Street.

The 11 will no longer serve Ocean Village, running instead via Central Bridge and Bernard Street.

In other news, Xelabus have released the timetable for route X24 to Paulton's Park, which starts from 23rd May. It will run from Bitterne via the city centre and Romsey.

From 24th May, Bluestar will be running a new route across the New Forest from Hythe via Beaulieu and Brockenhurst to Ringwood. It's is supported by the National Park Authority as part of a grant they've been given by the government. More details when the timetable is released.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Paulton's Park & Marwell Zoo by bus this summer!

Xelabus have announced a direct bus from Southampton to Paulton's Park. Route X24 starts on 23rd May and will start from Bitterne, running through the city centre on its way to Paulton's. We'll let you know as soon as the timetable is released. It will be a useful alternative to Salisbury Reds X7.

First M1 starts on Good Friday, providing the seasonal link between Eastleigh bus and railway stations and Marwell Zoo. Timetable here.

First M2 launches on 3rd May and will run from Lordshill, via the city centre providing Southampton's first direct link to Marwell Zoo in years. We'll let you know once the timetable is out.

This is definitely the summer to take a few days out by bus!

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

More Woolston routes divert from Monday

First X4 and X5 have a route and timetable change from Monday 16th March.

The main change is a weekday morning peak diversion on journeys towards Southampton. Because the traffic on Portsmouth Road is so bad approaching Woolston, all X4 and X5 buses due to arrive in Southampton between 0700 and 0930 will divert as follows via Weston Lane and Archery Road:

At those times, the last stop to be served as normal is Laxton Close on Upper Weston Lane:

After the diversion, buses rejoin the usual route at Itchen Bridge Link Road:

The following stops will have no X4 or X5 buses towards the City Centre at those times:

Wrights Hill: the 5 and 6 will still stop here

The Swan: with the 6 having its own peak diversion (see below), only the 5 will still be stopping here in the weekday morning rush hours.

St Annes Road: the three and 5 will still be stopping here.

Fort Road: the three and 5 will still stop here in the rush hours.

Woolston Library: only the three and 5 will stop in the weekday morning peak:

Buses on route 6 due to arrive in the City Centre between 0730 and 0900 are already diverting away from Portsmouth Road as follows via Radstock Road:

See the new all-stops timetables here: X4 X5.