Thursday, 1 November 2018

W1 cut back to Chilworth / Christmas Day buses

Wheelers W1 is being cut back from 5th November, to only run between Southampton and Chilworth. It stopped running at weekends in September last year. Now it will no longer run to Romsey. New timetable here.

11th November sees changes to several Bluestar routes, including the extension of the 17 to Weston and Adanac Park. Full detail here of the changes to routes, 4, 5, 8, 9, 11, 12, 16, 17 and 18.

Christmas bus service plans are slowly being released. Services that will be operating on Christmas Day include Bluestar 1 and 18 and More M1/M2. More as details are confirmed.

There's a change to First Weymouth 2 from 6th Jan. Not yet clear what it is, but we'll let you know as soon as details are out.

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Bluestar coming for First in Weston

11th November is when changes happen to several Bluestar routes in Southampton, most notable of which is the 17, which is being amended to operate between Weston and Adanac Park.

Adanac Park, home to the Ordnance Survey, has been without a bus service since First withdrew the 1. The 17 is its nearest route, but will now be serving Adanac proper.

Weston was the scene of bus wars between what was Citybus and Solent Blue Line back in the late 80s, when a truce saw SBL left with the 18/19 Millbrook-Thornhill route as their only route wholly within the city boundary. Over the last few years, as First have floundered and reduced their network, Bluestar have gradually expanded onto more city routes. Sholing, Aldermoor, Oakley Road, Townhill Park - all used to be Citybus/First territory, now all with a Bluestar presence.

What makes this especially significant is that First's Weston route has until now been their only high-frequency route on which they have not faced direct competition. That changes in November.

The move will surely hit First's profits in our city and make it more likely that they will leave sooner rather than later. We just have to hope they sell rather than close down, as a Bluestar monopoly will be free to raise fares to the higher levels they charge outside the city.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Changes on Unilink, First Wessex and First Pompey 15

A couple of changes have happened this weekend...

In Southampton, we have timetable changes on all Unilink routes, including extra morning and late night services on the U1, more morning journeys on the U6 and the U2X being replaced by more journeys on the run of the mill U2. New timetable also on the U9.  Details here.

First in Weymouth have new timetables from today on the following routes:

1, 2, 3, 4, 4A, 8, 10, X51, X53, X54

Summer services X55, 500 and 501 are withdrawn for the winter. See their new timetable book here.

And in Portsmouth, First 15 has a new timetable as it extends on weekdays to connect with the Hayling Ferry.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

More Bournemouth changes this weekend

It's another weekend of bus service changes, again concentrated in Bournemouth, mainly on More.

We were also expecting some kind of change to the timetable on Bluestar 2 from Monday, but the new timetable on Traveline is exactly the same as the current one, so it could just be a minor registration amendment related to the rolling roadworks in North Stoneham. Or maybe it's to do with this.

Anyway, back to Bournemouth for some actual changes. Details from More here.

X3 Bournemouth-Salisbury The 1735 weekdays/1745 Saturday service from Bournemouth will now be an X6 at 1745, no longer serving Boscombe.

X6 Bournemouth-Poole via Ringwood Minor timing changes to most journeys.

X8 Poole-Blandford New stop in the car park of Lidl Blandford. Will also be served by the X8A Blandford town service.

11 Poole-Bearwood Minor changes.

20 Poole-Castlepoint Timetable recast.

38 Ringwood-Ferndown Minor changes with some additional journeys.

40 Poole-Swanage Winter timetable starts.
50 Bournemouth-Swanage Winter timetable starts.
60 Poole-Sandbanks Winter timetable starts.

Ringo One/Two Ringwood town service Minor changes. Last weekday bus now at 1615, instead of 1645.

Plus we have the staggered ending of seasonal summer services on routes 5, 30 and 152.

Staying in Bournemouth, all Unibus routes resume their termtime timetable from Sunday.

Saturday, 8 September 2018

Bournemouth changes this Sunday / First mTickets not fixed

Yellow Buses have some major changes from this Sunday 9th September in Bournemouth.

Here's the current network:

...and here's the network that will run from Sunday:

Details of all the changes are here, but here's a quick summary. Click the route numbers for the new timetables:

1/1C Poole-Christchurch The 1 is rerouted to take the 3's old route in Poole, with the 1's old route becoming the 1C. With the 3 being cut back to Westbourne, this means Yellow will only have 4 buses an hour to Poole on Mon-Sat daytimes, while More M1/M2 run every 3/4 mins. There will still be 8 buses an hour between Bournemouth and Christchurch on the 1/1C.

1A Town Centre-Somerford Minor changes.

1B Town Centre-Somerford The main Mon-Sat daytime frequency is cut from every 15 to every 20 mins with most daytime buses running to Two Rivers Meet. Somerford drops from two buses to one an hour (shuttle from Christchurch) for most of weekday daytimes with a large gap in service in the afternoon. Somerford loses all of its 1B Saturday service.

2 Town Centre-Castlepoint More Mon-Sat evening journeys.

3/3A Westbourne-Royal Bournemouth Hospital The 3A is withdrawn and the 3 is amended to run between Westbourne and Bournemouth Hospital. The combined Mon-Sat daytime frequency drops from 8 to 6 buses an hour. For Poole, use the 1/1C.

4/4A Town Centre-Castlepoint/Bearwood Minor changes.

5/5A Town Centre-Kinson Minor changes.

6 Town Centre-Bearwood Minor changes.

8 Boscombe-Mountbatten No longer serves Alderney. Most journeys curtailed to only run as far as Wallisdown Roundabout, with only peak hour journeys running to Mountbatten.

18 Town Centre-Broadstone Minor changes.

36 Talbot View-Kinson Minor changes.

737 Town Centre-Airport Minor changes.

Earlier this week, we reported on nationwide problems with using First's mTicket app. A full working week after the problems first surfaced, they are still not solved.

The app has been promoted by First as a way to speed up boarding by taking payments off the bus. Passengers have been incentivised to use it by offering discounts on many tickets. When it works, it works well. For it to fail for a full week at the busiest times every day is shocking. A company the size of First should have been able to resolve it by now. Has any other operator had such major ticketing problems for a full week?

Monday, 3 September 2018

First ticketing app fails in both rush hours ... NATIONWIDE!

There was chaos today as First's mTicket app failed at the height of both rush hours today. The nationwide outage meant that passengers who had already bought tickets on their mobile were unable to access them in order to use them for travel.

The problem was first reported by First's Twitter feed, which you can always find in the right hand panel on the desktop version of this blog, along with Twitter feeds from all bus operators in our region, at 0740:

No advice for passengers who had paid for tickets on their phone, which they now could not use. I expect Alex was too busy copying and pasting the same message to all of First's other regional Twitter feeds:

At the time I was attempting to get to the day job in Manchester. When the app failed, it gave an error message that insisted the problem was either with my phone or my data connection. I had a few minutes before it was due, so I restarted my phone. As it was restarting, my bus went past, 3 minutes ahead of schedule (a separate issue - and with no warning of such from the live departures app I use). Still believing it was an issue with my phone, I tried the app again. Same message. Then I looked on Twitter:

Again, no advice on what affected passengers should do. I had no cash on me and contactless has not yet been rolled out here, so I gave up, jumped in the car and drove to the nearest park & ride tram stop. Across the country, many thousands of people must have either found another way or just abandoned their journey.

This palaver lasted for the whole rush hour, with the all clear only being given by First at 0948:

Something wasn't right though, because in the evening rush hour, the same thing happened again:

This outage lasted from just before 1722 (we have to assume passengers were being affected and refused travel for several minutes before First admitted the problem on Twitter) right through until...

2015, long after rush hour had ended! As the first weekday after the school holidays, many people will have been trying the bus for the first time - and will have been put off for good by this fiasco.

I'm not hopeful for tomorrow.

Were you affected? Have you experienced something similar with other operators and how did they manage the situation? Tell us in the comments below.

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Salisbury bus changes from 2nd September

In our previous posts, we've looked at the changes happening next weekend in Portsmouth, Southampton, Fareham and Winchester. This time, we take a look at what's changing in Salisbury.

Salisbury Reds have provided a summary here. Click on the route numbers below to see the new timetables. The main changes from Sunday 2nd September:

  • Red 2 City Centre-Bishopdown Sunday daytime frequency cut from half-hourly to hourly.
  • Red 3 City Centre-Bulbridge Minor changes to Sunday and bank holiday services.
  • Red 5 City Centre-West Harnham Minor changes on Saturday mornings. The Traveline timetable incorrectly shows no Sunday service - don't worry, the Sunday service will continue as at present.
  • Red 6 City Centre-Laverstock Most journeys will run slightly later than at present.
  • PR7/Red 7 City Centre-Bishopdown Farm Minor changes to PR7. New hourly Sunday daytime service launches as Red 7.
  • Red 8 City Centre-Ditchampton Apparently there's an additional weekday journey, but we're not sure when yet as with a week to go, the new timetable has not been published.
  • Red 10 City Centre-St Peters Place Wheelers journeys withdrawn. Salisbury Reds route extended beyond Bemerton Heath to the new estate at St Peters Place. Frequency increased to half-hourly for longer on weekdays and Saturdays, plus an hourly Sunday daytime service is introduced.
  • PR11/Red 11 City Centre-Old Sarum Hourly Sunday daytime service introduced as Red 11. More journeys to Old Sarum estate on Mon-Sats.
  • Red 12 City Centre-Stratford Bridge Taken over from Wheelers. New timetable with a new later journey from Salisbury at 1550 on weekdays.
  • Red 14 City Centre-Harvard Heights Taken over from Wheelers. New timetable.

  • X4 Salisbury-Larkhill Minor changes.
  • X5 Salisbury-Swindon Minor changes.
  • X7 Salisbury-Southampton New later journey from Southampton at 1810 Mon-Sats. Other minor changes.
  • Activ8 Salisbury-Andover Minor changes, mainly on Sundays.
  • 2 Salisbury-Devizes Minor changes
  • 37 Salisbury-Lockerley Several journeys are cut.
  • 44 Salisbury-Woodfalls Wheelers journeys transfer to Salisbury Reds. Minor changes.
  • 66/67 Salisbury-Idmiston/Tidworth These routes transfer from Salisbury Reds and Wheelers to Stagecoach.
  • 87/88 Salisbury-Andover/Winterslow Minor changes.
  • 201 Amesbury-Salisbury Early morning journey transfers to Stagecoach. Others remain with Tourist Coaches

Rural services to the west of Salisbury:
Routes 28 and 84 are withdrawn, with the 29 transferring from Wheelers to Salisbury Reds
New timetables on routes 25, 26, 27, 29.

Most Wheelers services in Salisbury, including the W16, are withdrawn, with replacements mainly run by Salisbury Reds. Wheelers are left with just some journeys on route 87.

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Changes next weekend for Southampton, Winchester & Fareham

A lot of changes are happening across our region's buses from Sunday 2nd and Monday 3rd September. Our previous post looked at Portsmouth, the next one will cover Salisbury, while today we look at Southampton, Winchester and Fareham.

We start in Fareham, where First have timetable changes to many routes. The main one is that the 10 is cut back from hourly Mon-Sat daytimes to run 2-hourly on weekdays only. All of the details and the new timetables can be found in First's Fareham & Gosport booklet.

Moving on to Winchester, where Stagecoach have new timetables on the following routes from Sunday 2nd September:

  • King's City 1 Winnall-Stanmore Sunday daytime frequency doubled to half-hourly between the City Centre and Stanmore, plus extra Mon-Sat evening services to Stanmore replacing the 5A.
  • King's City 3 Winchester-Harestock Weekday daytime frequency cut from every 10 mins to every 12 mins.
  • King's City 4 Highcliffe-Teg Down All journeys retimed. Last Saturday service from the City Centre to Teg Down will be at 1445 instead of 1730 currently.
  • King's City 5 Winchester-Badger Farm More evening services, replacing the 5A. Sunday daytime frequency increased from half-hourly to every 20 mins.
  • King's City 7 Winchester-Sparsholt Saturday service halved to every 2 hours. Other minor changes.
  • 64 Winchester-Alton Only minor changes.
  • 66 Winchester-Romsey More evening journeys. All Sunday services will run via Woodley, no longer alternating with Cupernham.
  • 86 Winchester-Whitchurch Saturday service halved to every 2 hours.
  • King's City Spring Winchester-Springvale Later last bus from Winchester on Sundays at 1845, compared to 1800 currently.

In and around Southampton, we have the following changes on First and Bluestar:

First City Red three Lordshill-Thornhill Rerouted to serve Town Quay. Saturday daytime frequency cut to every 10 mins. Sunday daytime frequency increased to every 12 minutes.

First City Red 6 Southampton-Hamble Weekday peak journeys will no longer serve Ingleside in Netley. Other minor changes.

First Solent Rangers X4/X5 Southampton-Portsmouth/Gosport Rerouted via Central Bridge instead of Ocean Village. Reduction in early morning an early evening frequencies.

Bluestar 5 Romsey-Boyatt Wood Mon-Sat journeys between Eastleigh and Boyatt Wood will now run every 20/40 mins instead of half-hourly - no idea why, as it won't combine with Stagecoach E1/E2 to give a 20 minute frequency. Other minor changes.

Salisbury Reds X7 Southampton-Salisbury Last Mon-Sat bus from Southampton at 1735 is replaced by journeys at 1715 and 1810. Other minor changes.

Finally, I hope that anyone who went to Southampton Pride today had a good time. When I was growing up in the city, there were no such events to make LGBT people feel welcome and at home. Well there were, but they were only in London, Brighton and Manchester. What a long way we've come. It's good that now even in Southampton, gay people are officially embraced by the council and by sponsoring companies alike. It wasn't always this way. Within living memory, the councils were legally prohibited from 'promoting homosexuality' (as if such a thing were even possible - people either are or aren't) and companies would go out of their way to disassociate themselves from that kind of thing. Gay people were expected to keep quiet and be 'discrete'. Now it's the homophobes that are expected to keep quiet and be 'discrete'. Long may that continue.