Thursday, 26 February 2015

First to launch direct Southampton to Marwell Zoo route


Marwell Zoo will be easier to get to by bus than it has been for several years, thanks to a new route from First.

The M2 launches on Sunday 3rd May and will run every Sunday and Wednesday during the summer between Lordshill and Marwell Zoo, via Southampton City Centre. More details on the exact route as we get it.

This is in addition to First taking over the Marwell to Eastleigh bus and rail stations route for 2015. It has run in previous years as Velvet M but will relaunch as First M1 on Good Friday 3rd April.

Passengers arriving at Marwell by bus will get 10% off admission to the zoo, so keep your bus ticket safe!

The M2 means it will be possible to get to the zoo using a FirstDay Hampshire ticket, which is considerably cheaper than Solent Go.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

New timetables tomorrow on Bluestar / W56 replaced / Marwell / Xela changes on the way

Bluestar have new timetables from tomorrow on routes 1, 2, 16 and 18. Full details and timetables here.

Some Bluestar tickets prices on The Key smartcard are changing too. Find details of them and all Bluestar/Unilink tickets here.

This Thursday just gone was the last day of Wheelers W56. From this coming Thursday 26th February, it will be replaced by two routes: Xelabus X56 and Brijan Tours 8B.


The route and timetable for Xelabus X56 can be seen here courtesy of Eastleigh Borough Council, but curiously not on Xelabus's website nor on Traveline. The route differs from the previous W56 route in that between Hedge End and Eastleigh it runs via West End and Mansbridge instead of via Horton Heath and Fair Oak.

Brijan Tours 8B is the new Thursdays-only route that fills in the other gaps left by the W56. It serves Botley, Boorley Green and Horton Heath before running along the same route as Brijan 8 via Fair Oak and Colden Common into Eastleigh. Timetable here. The 8B does appear on Traveline, so we have this route map:


Marwell Zoo has been connected to Eastleigh over the summer by Velvet in previous years. This year the honour goes to First, who will be running it from Good Friday 3rd April as route M1. We'll link to the timetable as soon as it has been released. The fact it's not gone to Bluestar means than anyone travelling by bus from beyond Eastleigh and connecting with the M1 will need a Solent Go ticket.

Xelabus have announced further route and timetable changes from 20th April. We'll cover these in more detail nearer the time, but you can see details here.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Rat run / Renumbering / Ringwood

First 6 is diverted on weekday mornings towards Southampton in order to avoid jams caused by traffic avoiding the roadworks on Northam Bridge. Details of the diversion are here.

Xelabus have given notice that from 9th February, the ex-Velvet routes will be renumbered. The S1 becomes the X11, the S2 becomes X12 and the B4 becomes X14. Confusingly their website says that the X14 will only run three days a week. The B4 has only just been increased from three to six days a week. Hopefully it's an oversight on their part.

This Saturday 31st January is the last day of Gardbus 139, after which Ringwood is yet again cut off from Southampton's bus network. After then, you'll need to use National Express if you can't drive to Ringwood.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

First fares & timetable changes this weekend

Some First fares are changing on Saturday. Full details here, but here are the highlights:
  • Adult single fares on the 8 between Hedge End and the City Centre cut from £4 to £3.50
  • FirstDay Southampton rises from £4.20 to £4.30 and is no longer valid to/from West End, Hedge End, Netley or Hamble - its boundary is now the city boundary. Those areas' cheapest FirstDay ticket is now FirstDay Hampshire, going up from £5.90 to £6
  • SouthamptonPlus weekly and monthly tickets will be introduced, covering the city plus West End, Hedge End, Netley and Hamble, costing more than the Southampton zone tickets that used to be valid, but less than the Hampshire zone tickets

Several First routes get a new timetable from Sunday. Timetables are in First's new timetable booklet and Traveline. Here are the main points:
  • 1: Mon-Sat daytime frequency cut from every 10 mins to every 15 mins, but all buses will run beyond Lordshill to Adanac Park
  • 2: Minor timetable changes
  • 3: Some poorly-used journeys will be cut. The last bus of the night will run earlier
  • 6: Sunday daytime frequency cut to hourly due to Hampshire County Council subsidy cuts
  • 7: Minor timetable changes, plus and extra late evening journey
  • 8: Evening route changes in Hedge End and some off-peak journeys are cut
  • 9: Minor timetable changes
  • 11: Revised Sunday timetable. Extra late evening weeknight journey
  • 13: Minor timetable changes
The timetable booklet has some excellent route maps. Here's the one for the 8 to show the new route in Hedge End:
Daytime journeys terminate on the Hedge End loop. Evening journeys don't serve Charles Watts Way (marked A334 above) but run two ways from the superstores, via the railway station to Barleycorn and then Botley.

They're also holding an online 'Meet the Manager' session this Thursday in which you can put your questions directly to them.

In other news, Bluestar have some changes to routes 1, 2, 16 and 18 from 22nd February. We'll have more on those nearer the time.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

The end for Velvet: Xelabus takes over

It was announced today that Velvet will close after the last bus on Saturday 10th January and that its routes will be run by Xelabus from next Monday.

This means the changes mentioned in the most recent post below will now be run by Xelabus.

How the news was announced on Xelabus's website.

Hats off to Xelabus for having a timetable leaflet already prepared for what will be the ex-Velvet routes.

In other news, First have new timetables on many routes from Sunday 18th January. Details here.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Velvet changes next Monday

We've just had a raft of changes this weekend gone (see previous posts for details), but there's more to come.

Next Monday, 12th January, sees Velvet A disappear to be replaced with an extension to the S1, with a frequency cut to match. See the new S1 timetable here. There's a route change too. All journeys will run via Central Station instead of the Polygon. In Hedge End, the A's circular route is replaced by a two-way route that runs via the town centre twice each way and terminates at the superstores. Here's how it will run:
Buses from Southampton will run via Oaklands first, then via Maypole to the superstores. Buses towards Southampton start from the superstores, then run to Maypole and into the city via Oaklands. The town centre is sure to be particularly confusing, where buses on route S1 will run in four directions from the main crossroads.

The S2 gets a new timetable too and is rerouted in the Polygon, partially replacing the S1. Here's how the S2 will now run there:

As well as that, the B4 between Bitterne and Windhover Tesco via Harefield, Thornhill and Sholing will now run every weekday, an increase from its current three days a week. Timetable here.

No mention of this as yet on Velvet's website. It would never have happened under Phil Stockley.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Changes this weekend

On Monday, we detailed the bus routes being withdrawn this weekend. Today, we look at those that are merely being amended.


  • Bluestar 5

This route between Eastleigh and Romsey gets a new timetable from Monday and is extended beyond Eastleigh Bus Station to Boyatt Wood, replacing the E1/E2, which are switching from Bluestar to Wheelers.


  • Bluestar 6

Some journeys are cut between Southampton and Lymington from Sunday. New timetable here.


  • Brijan Tours 7

New timetable from Monday between Southampton and Bishops Waltham. The main change is a cut in the Saturday frequency to one bus every 2 hours.


  • Brijan Tours 8

New timetable from Monday between Eastleigh and Bishops Waltham. The main change is a cut in the Saturday frequency to one bus every 2 hours.


  • Brijan Tours 15

This Hedge End to Hamble route is being cut from six to three days a week. From Monday, it will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays only. New timetable here.


  • Brijan Tours 17

This link between Bishops Waltham and Petersfield is being cut from two to just one day a week. The last Saturday service will be on 3rd January. After that, the 17 runs on Wednesdays only with a new timetable.


  • More X1/X2

New timetable from Sunday between Lymington and Bournemouth with some cuts. More are consulting regarding the long term future of these routes.


  • More 119

New timetable from Monday between Lymington and New Milton.


  • Salisbury Reds X7

New timetable from Monday between Southampton and Salisbury, with fewer journeys overall and some journeys diverted via Romsey and renumbered X7R to replace the 34.


  • Stagecoach 46

This link between Winchester and Southampton General Hospital is being cut back from Monday to run between Winchester and North Baddesley only, severing the General Hospital's direct links with many areas. New timetable here,


  • Wheelers W1

This route between Southampton and Romsey has been on a holiday timetable for a couple of weeks, but resumes its usual timetable from Monday.


  • Bluestar 11

Temporary terminus for the weekday journeys to and from Cadnam due to a road closure from Monday.


  • Xelabus X1

New timetable from Monday between Eastleigh and Stoke Common. Now five days a week instead of three, but with fewer journeys per day.


  • Xelabus X2

New timetable from Monday between Eastleigh and Boyatt Wood. Now five days a week instead of three, but with fewer journeys per day.


  • Xelabus X3

New timetable from Monday between Eastleigh and Asda with fewer journeys per day.


  • Xelabus X4

New timetable from Monday between Eastleigh and Hedge End. Evening journeys will no longer serve Derby Road, Passfield Avenue or Chestnut Avenue, running instead direct via Southampton Road.


  • Xelabus X7

New timetable and a revised route from Monday, combining with new route X6 to replace routes C3 and C4, which are being withdrawn.

Most of these changes are due to cuts being imposed by Hampshire County Council.

Friday's bus services

It's not yet all back to normal on Friday. Here's how the region's buses will be running:

Friday 2nd January:
First: Saturday service, except for routes B1, B2, B3, H1 and H2, which will have a weekday service.
Stagecoach: Full Saturday service, except for route 36, which will not run and route 46, which will have a weekday service.
Unilink: Vacation Saturday service with no night buses.
All other operators: Normal weekday services resume.


Full normal service resumes on Saturday, but major changes are coming this weekend. Details here and in our next post.