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.

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.