Thursday, 25 June 2015

Botley loses evening services

First 8 has a new timetable from 19th July. From that date the evening extension beyond Hedge End to Botley is withdrawn.

There is also a big reduction in evening journeys on the remainder of the 8. The last bus from town currently leaves at 2245 (1800 on Sundays), but after 19th July it will be at 2025 (still 1800 on Sundays), making an evening out in the city centre more difficult for those living in Peartree, Chartwell Green, West End and Hedge End not to mention Botley.

That last bus on the 8 is also the last bus of the evening towards Hedge End, as both Bluestar 3 and Xelabus X11 stop running even earlier than that.

Botley and the northern part of Hedge End have their railway stations, which will make getting home still possible for some. Here are the evening train times to get back to Botley the week after the changes to the 8 come into effect:

In other news, Bluestar's New Forest Tour starts again this weekend for the summer season.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Cadnam commuters cut off

Bluestar have confirmed that their peak hour extensions of route 11, taking it beyond West Totton to Cadnam, Netley Marsh and Winsor, are to end from 21st June due to funding cuts by Hampshire County Council.

These are the journeys being cut back to run between Southampton and West Totton only:

That section of route beyond West Totton will then only be served by Wheelers T3 and T4, which only run three days a week:

Those living on the Cadnam section of route will now not be able to get into Totton before 0956 and will need to depart from Totton at 1700 in order to get back home the same day. To continue in to Southampton, you'll need to change buses to Bluestar 6, 8, 11 or 12 and now that the T3/T4 are run by Wheelers, you'll need to either pay twice or use a Solent Go ticket.

Tatchbury Mount Hospital is among the destinations to lose their 6-days-a-week service and their last remaining direct link to Southampton.

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Lymington Bus Station closes / News round up

As well as the X24 launching, last weekend also saw the closure of Lymington Bus Station. All routes serving Lymington therefore have new timetables, so check with Bluestar, More or Traveline before travelling.

Bluestar's Forest Bus Baby has also launched as a tourist route between Hythe and Ringwood via Beaulieu and Brockenhurst.

From tomorrow, Sunday 31st May, there's a new timetable on First 6 to Hamble. Not entirely sure what has changed, but check before you travel to be on the safe side.

First X4 and X5 have some minor changes from 19th June. See the new timetables here: X4 X5.

Bluestar 3 is rerouted via Northam from 21st June. It will no longer serve Peartree and Woolston, which means that Peartree will be left with no Sunday buses. New timetable here.

Bluestar 11 and 12 also get a new timetable from the same date, but it looks like only minor changes.

Wheelers H1/H2 in Hythe have a new timetable from 22nd June.

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.