Monday, 28 November 2016

Biggest ever Boxing Day service

Some of our local bus operators have started telling us what kind of amended service they'll be running over the Christmas and New Year period.

Full marks to Go South Coast (that's Bluestar, More and Salisbury Reds to most of us) and to Xelabus, who have already revealed their full plans, enabling passengers to plan well ahead. Use these links for details:

Salisbury Reds

The big story is that Bluestar will be providing a full Sunday service on all routes apart from the 6 on Boxing Day rather than the usual skeleton timetable.

Unilink will be running a Boxing Day service for the first time ever: a half-hourly U1. See the combined Bluestar/Unilink Xmas & New Year bus guide here.

Over in Bournemouth & Poole, More intend to also run a Sunday service on most routes on Boxing Day, but not all. Check the full list here.

Most of us are used to no buses on Christmas Day itself, but More have run routes M1 and M2 in the past and intend to do so again this year, with a special timetable, premium fares and route extensions to the Royal Bournemouth Hospital and to Christchurch - they'll be our region's only working bus routes on Christmas Day.

Stagecoach, Yellow Buses and Wheelers haven't yet announced their plans. Neither have First, although they have found time to put their fares up in both Southampton and Portsmouth.

As more plans are announced, we'll be linking to them all from our 'Changes On The Way' page.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Hayling, Whiteley & Hedge End

A few changes across our region this week:

Stagecoach 30/31 Havant-Hayling Island
A new timetable launched yesterday, with revised weekday times. Full timetable here.

First W1 Fareham-Whiteley
This Saturdays-only service will be running additionally this Friday so that people can get to Whiteley for the 'Black Friday' sales. It will also be free, but only this Friday. Details here.

Bluestar 3 Southampton-Boorley Green
A new timetable starts on Sunday 27th November, with a revised route near Hedge End Superstores and an extra evening journey from Southampton at 2110 Mon-Sats. It will also no longer serve the Bullar Road Gyratory or Maddoxford Lane in Boorley Green. Details here. Here are the route sections that are changing:

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Final day of Xelabus X1/X2 tomorrow

Xelabus X1 (Eastleigh-Stoke Common) and X2 (Eastleigh-Boyatt Wood) run for the final time tomorrow (Thursday).

They are the last remains of Xelabus's original business model of running buses that were free of charge for passengers but paid for by the supermarkets to whom customers were delivered, in this case Tesco Metro in Eastleigh, although Xela has also previously also brought customers to Asda in Chandler's Ford.

Especially since its absorption of the routes formerly operated by Velvet and Brijan Tours, Xelabus has become more of a traditional operator running key routes across our region.

The areas that were served by the X1/X2 still have the following services:

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Zipline early evening diversions in central Southampton

The Santa zipline thing is now up and running in central Southampton every day between now and 23rd December, so between 1615 and 2015 Mon-Sats and 1415 until 1815 on Sundays any buses that use Hanover Buildings are diverted.

First have a summary of their diversions here. Bluestar's diversions are here.

The main changes for buses heading out of the city centre are as follows:

Bluestar 1, 2: stop CU on Hanover Buildings will not be used. Buses will instead stop over the road, outside Bella Italia:

Bluestar 3, 16, 18: Buses towards Bitterne will use stop BI on Castle Way instead of stops BL and BM on Bargate Street:

First three, 6, 11: Main stops in Vincents Walk unaffected. Diverts to/from Woolston via Queensway instead of Castle Way and High Street. All Woolston-bound buses will use stop CR:

First 10: Bargate Street stop BM will not be served, with buses using stops CR on Queensway and BF on High Street instead:

First X4/X5: Stop BI on Castle Way will not be served, with journeys starting from stop CR on Queensway, outside Debenhams:

If you're not sure exactly which journeys are affected, see the all stops timetables for any route available from Traveline here or here.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Over a million pageviews! / X11 to Wheelers

This blog has now passed a million pageviews, a point I didn't expect to reach with such a niche regional website. Thanks to everyone who has stuck with this blog through thick and thin.

In other news, Xelabus have announced that the X11 City Centre-Lordshill service will be operated by Wheelers from 3rd January due to a change of contract by Southampton City Council, who subsidise the route.

First have an offer on for group travel within Southampton. FirstDay Southampton Group is valid for up to 5 people and costs just £7 for unlimited travel in the bits of Southampton still actually served by First. So not Swaythling then.

Outside the city, FirstDay Hampshire Group is now £12 and also valid for up to 5 people.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Salisbury Park & Ride changes from Monday 7th Nov

Motorists who avail themselves of the Park & Ride facilities in Salisbury should take note that timetables are changing on Salisbury Reds Park & Ride routes 3, 7 and 11 from next Monday.

Full details here.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Changes this weekend

UPDATE 25.10.: Bluestar have now admitted on their website that they will indeed be running routes 36, H1/H2 and T3/T4 from Monday. You could be forgiven for thinking that Go South Coast rely on this blog to remind them when they're taking on new routes. Glad to be of service!

Here's a summary of the changes to our region's bus services taking place this weekend:

See the previous post for changes to Yellow Bus routes in Bournemouth, including the replacement of the A1 airport service with new route 14 via Winton.

  • First A Eastleigh-Hedge End

This council subsidised Sunday counterpart to the Mon-Sat Xelabus X4 service is being withdrawn, signalling the final end of route A. It ran for the last time this Sunday just gone, having been run by First for years and Stagecoach before them. Does anyone know how far back we have to go to find the Sunday service between Eastleigh and Hedge End in the hands of the same operator as the Mon-Sat service?
Passengers needing to get between Eastleigh and Hedge End on a Sunday will now need to either take the train (replacement bus services will be running this coming Sunday due to engineering works) or use Bluestar 2 to Southampton and change there to Bluestar 3:
An end-to-end journey of almost two hours. The A used to do the trip in half an hour.

  • Xelabus X4 Eastleigh-Hedge End

The X4 will continue to run Mondays to Saturdays, but with a new timetable. The last two journeys of the evening are cut, so the last bus from Eastleigh will now be at 1845, with the last bus from Hedge End at 1908.

  • First E1/E2 Eastleigh-Winchester

These routes transfer to Stagecoach and have a new timetable from Monday. There are a couple of extra early morning journeys towards Eastleigh - 0647 weekdays Allbrook Knoll to Eastleigh and 0727 weekdays (0737 Saturdays) Twyford to Eastleigh - plus a later journey from Eastleigh at 1805 Mon-Sats to Twyford. The Portswood extension is withdrawn.
This is good for those needing to use other buses in the Winchester area, as Stagecoach already operates most of those, meaning Stagecoach's own tickets such as the South Hants DayRider at £6.60 becomes available to passengers in Eastleigh, who might previously have had to use a Solent Go ticket at £8.

  • Xelabus X10 Southampton-Bishop's Waltham

Only a minor change to the timetable. The 0741 weekday service from Waltham Chase to Southampton will now depart 10 minutes earlier at 0731.

  • Xelabus X15 Eastleigh-Hamble

An additional journey will run at 1543 weekdays from Eastleigh to Hamble. New timetable here.

  • Stagecoach 36 Winchester-Lockerley

Transfers to Salisbury Reds (who have no mention of it on their website) Bluestar and is curtailed to run between Romsey and Lockerley only, with the timetable on that section of route remaining unchanged. Will still run on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays only.

  • Wheelers H1/H2 Hythe-Applemore

Transfers to More (again, no mention on their website) Bluestar, with no change to the timetable (H1/H2). Still only runs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

  • Wheelers T3/T4 Totton-Cadnam

Transfers to More (no mention on their website, shamefully) Bluestar, with no change to the timetable (T3/T4). Still only runs on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

All of these changes are from Sunday 30th October.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

All change for Bournemouth Airport

Southampton's airport really is spoilt for public transport, what with its own railway station and the frequent Unilink U1 bus service running from the terminal door several times an hour.

Bournemouth Airport, in comparison, is a poor relation. The local rag gleefully prints pictures of men in suits in front of a bus as it breaks the news that Yellow Buses' A1 express service is being replaced with a slower service from 30th October.

Currently the A1 takes about 20 minutes to get from the town centre to the airport and 30 mins to get back, thanks to a detour via the Aviation Park. When the 14 takes over, journey times will soar to about 50 minutes each way, as the new route takes the slow road through Winton.

No, not that Winton.

For early flights, the A1 can currently get you to the airport at 0641 each morning. From 30th October, the first 14 of the day will get there at 0656 - not much later, but might be enough to push some early flyers in to taxis.

Those arriving on late flights in to Bournemouth Airport currently have a mad scramble for the last bus into town at 2031. After 30th October, the last bus to Bournemouth will leave at 1908, so if your flight is due in after 1800, you can't really count on the bus to get you home any more.

See the timetable for the 14, along with the other Winton routes 4a, 4b and 4c here. From the same date Yellow 24 also has a new timetable.

On the plus side, Yellow Buses have produced a clear new network map: