Saturday, 18 October 2014

13 cut back from Central Station / Romsey revamp

From this, in First's timetable booklet...

First 13 is being cut back from Monday 27th October, so that it will no longer serve Central Station. Merry Oak and Harefield will therefore lose their direct link to Central Station, but can still use the 13 to catch the train from Woolston, or change at Woolston to the three, which still runs through to Central Station. Details here and new timetable here. this, courtesy of Traveline.

From the same day, Stagecoach is revamping its routes in Romsey. The 32 and 33 will disappear and be replaced with an enhanced 66 running all the way to Winchester every half hour Mon-Sat daytimes. The Cupernham parts of the 32 and 33 routes will be covered by alternate journeys on the new 66. The new timetable is buried on Stagecoach's website, but can be found on Traveline. The 36 is not affected.

The 66's new route in Romsey, according to Traveline. So that's clear, then. It's a bit easier to understand on Stagecoach's website.

As many commenters on this blog have already remarked, Xelabus have a new website and it is a huge improvement on what they had before. It is now far simpler and easier to use and features route maps.

Don't forget that Gardbus 139, until now a Sunday-only service, now also runs on Saturdays.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Freight train forced to halt by bus on level crossing

A freight train was forced to stop by a First bus that was stationary on a yellow box at a level crossing on Canute Road near Ocean Village.

The drama was caught on camera by a teenager from Hythe, who passed the footage to the Echo. See the full story and video here.

First are now investigating why their driver stopped on the yellow box, which is highly dangerous and a violation of the Highway Code.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Wheelers W2 is no more

Wheelers W2 ran for the last time today. It has run since 18th November 2013.

The most direct route between the city centre and the General Hospital is now once again First three.

Stagecoach 46 still connects the General with Valley Park and Hiltingbury.

Valley Park and Hiltingbury no longer have a direct link to Southampton. The nearest direct route is Bluestar 1 through Chandlers Ford.

Monday, 8 September 2014

First roadshow / Xelabus X4 rerouted / Gardbus 139 to run on Saturdays

First have held a few public 'Meet The Manager' sessions recently and another is to follow this coming Saturday 13th September at the Bargate between 0900 and 1600. Full details here.

Xelabus X4 was due to be rerouted from 17th September but it looks like that has been brought forward to today. The change is in Hedge End: Wildern Lane is no longer served with all X4 buses in both directions running via Turnpike Way and Upper Northam Road. No mention of this on Xelabus's website, but the new route and timetable are on Traveline. To confuse things even more, First A on Sundays is sticking to its existing route via Wildern Lane. Here's a helpful map of how Xelabus X4 now runs in Hedge End:

I've edited this map, the original of which is from

Thanks to PAC for leaving a comment to draw my attention to that one and also to the fact that Gardbus 139 will start running on Saturdays from 11th October. It currently runs on Sundays only and provides the only bus link between Southampton and Ringwood, plus an alternative to Salisbury Reds X7 for visitors to Paulton's Park. Here's the new timetable, which applies from Sunday 5th October: again

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Guilty but free - thanks to purple 'Get out of jail free' card

Adam Smith, also known as Paul Jones, would be in jail today were it not for the fact that he owns Velvet buses.

Adam Smith/Paul Jones's picture taken from Buses Excetera's website

As the Daily Echo reports, he first denied but later pleaded guilty to handling counterfeit banknotes.

A 16-month jail sentence was suspended for 2 years because people's jobs at Velvet depended on him and because Velvet owes £140,000 in tax, which it would be unlikely to be able to pay back had Smith/Jones been jailed. He will have to do 150 hours community service and pay £700 of genuine money in costs and surcharges.

Smith/Jones claimed that Velvet was in good hands, but admitted that he had been "stupid".

Velvet ceased trading on 16th July under the ownership of its founder, Phil Stockley, and would have entered receivership had Smith/Jones not bought it just days later, enabling its buses to resume operation.

Friday, 29 August 2014

New Xelabus route from Monday... or is it?

Xelabus have registered a new route, the X5, to run from Monday. A look at their website for more details gives you just this message:

No timetable or even details of the route other than that it serves "Chandlers Ford Business Park".

Luckily, Traveline has more information. So if the route is launching on Monday, we should assume that it will look like this:

It links Southampton Airport Parkway railway station with Chandlers Ford railway station via part of Chestnut Avenue and some business parks. It'll provide some useful new links for people connecting at Parkway with the X4 to Hedge End, Unilink U1 into Southampton or even with the trains.

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

...and here is the timetable:

Hopefully it will indeed launch on Monday and Xelabus will remember to put details of it on their website.

Here's a summary of all changes happening in the next couple of days. It looks like Wheelers WA is not now going to launch, due to the Velvet revival, but one early morning journey on the W1 will start from Hedge End:

31st August:
Stagecoach 69, Unilink U1, U2, U6, U9: Timetable changes.

1st September:
Wheelers W1, More X1/X2, Bluestar 5: Route & timetable change.
Xelabus X5: New route launches between Airport Parkway Station and Chandlers Ford.

2nd September:
More 112: Summer route & timetable ends, normal service resumes.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

First 12 rerouted / Unilink U2 frequency boost / Wheelers W2 withdrawn

First 12 will be rerouted from Sunday 17th August to serve Kingsway instead of the New Road/Palmerston Road junction.

All Unilink routes get new timetables from 31st August. The U2 is rerouted in the city centre to now serve the new Mayflower Halls instead of the Civic Centre and is doubled in frequency to every 10 minutes on weekdays during university terms between the City Centre and the University Interchange. Details here.

Stagecoach 69 and some of their other Winchester routes have timetable changes on 31st August. Details here.

Wheelers launched their WA briefly before Velvet's relaunch, but it launches properly from 1st September providing a direct alternative to the new Velvet's A. We'll let you know once the WA's timetable has been released.

Staying with Wheelers, the W2 is to be withdrawn after 27th September. It has run since last November and provides a direct link from Southampton City Centre to Hill Lane, Valley Park and Hiltingbury. Most direct journeys that can be done on the W2 will require two buses after it stops running.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Velvet buyer revealed

The Echo has confirmed that the buyer of Velvet is Adam Smith. Who, you may ask? The Echo doesn't say. Some might be left thinking that the 18th Century economist and philosopher has posthumously saved Velvet.

But no, the Adam Smith in question is indeed the man behind Buses Excetera of Surrey.

On this page of their website is some information about the man himself:

The yellow highlights are mine. One hopes that the standard of English used on the Buses Excetera website is not a sign of things to come at Velvet.