Tuesday, 21 June 2016

New Forest Tour / First price freeze / 46 to go

This weekend sees the launch for the summer season of the New Forest Tour, again with three circular routes which between them cover most of the forest. The easiest way to access them from Southampton is by using Bluestar 6 to connect in Ashurst, Lyndhurst or Lymington; or Bluestar 8 & 9 or the Hythe Ferry to connect in Hythe:

First have decided to continue with the promotional price of £9.50 for their FirstWeek Southampton ticket. The equivalent Bluestar/Unilink weekly ticket for the city is £15 from the driver or £14 on The Key or their app, although their network does cover more of the city.

More 112 becomes the Beach Bus again from 24th July, running more often between Hythe and Lymington, with some journeys via Lepe Beach and Beaulieu National Motor Museum. See the new timetable here. The new summer route:

Hampshire County Council cuts loom in September: Stagecoach is withdrawing the 46 and the 36 is revised from the 3rd. This will probably leave North Baddesley and Valley Park with no direct link to Winchester. More as we get it.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Solent Bus Update: Regional Round Up

Here's our regular monthly look at bus service changes coming up right across South Hampshire, Salisbury and Bournemouth & Poole.

5th June:
More 50 Bournemouth-Swanage
Term-time schedule resumes after the half-term holiday.

6th June:
More 125 Ringwood-Christchurch
Minor changes.

10th June:
More 13 Bournemouth-Wimborne
A change was scheduled but has possibly been put off.

More 4 Poole-Wimborne
A change had been registered, but may have been abandoned.

25th June:
More 30 Swanage-Dorchester
Summer seasonal service starts.

New Forest Tour
Seasonal service starts.

1st July:
Stagecoach Winchester Park & Ride
Change not yet clear.

3rd July:
First F1 Fareham-Highlands
Minor changes.

Our next Solent Bus Update will appear on Sunday 3rd July, by which time we will have more details on the following:

17th July:
Stagecoach 85 Winchester-Lugershall/Andover
Stagecoach 86 Winchester-Hatch Warren
Stagecoach/Salisbury Reds Activ8 Salisbury-Andover

24th July:
More 112 Lymington-Hythe

25th July:
More U1 Bournemouth University service

Here are links to the websites of the bus operators serving the wider region:

Wider region local transport authorities:

Monday, 23 May 2016

Changes over the next week and a bit

From this Sunday, 29th May, Bluestar 6 has a new timetable, with minor changes.

*UPDATED* From Monday 6th June, First three starts diverting via Obelisk Road on its way into town from Thornhill during the weekday morning rush hour. New timetable here. This was originally planned to take place from 29th May and is still on Traveline as such, so either First haven't told Traveline or Traveline haven't listened.

Also from Sunday 29th May, More have changes to many routes in Bournemouth and Poole. Click here for details.

On Thursday 2nd June and on all days when there is T20 cricket at the Ageas Bowl, Xelabus X4 will have extra journeys departing from the Ageas Bowl at the following times:
Those buses will be useful for those needing to transfer to the following trains at Southampton Airport Parkway:

*UPDATE* Extra buses from Ageas Bowl also on First 8, not just when there's T20 cricket, but a whole range of events listed here. The timetable can't be found on First's website, but is on Traveline:
The services towards Hedge End Station will connect with trains departing towards Portsmouth Harbour at 2230 and 2257.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Solent Bus Update: Regional roundup

As part of a new series, once a month, we will look beyond Greater Southampton for a summary of the upcoming changes to bus services right across South Hampshire, Salisbury and Bournemouth & Poole. My aim is to do one of these posts on the first Sunday of each month, with the usual, more regular posts concentrating on our core region in and around Southampton.

So here are the changes coming up right across the region. Click the route numbers to see the new timetables:

8th May:
First X53 Poole-Exeter
Split, with the Poole section renumbered X54 and running as far as Weymouth.

10th May:
Stagecoach 37 Havant-Petersfield
A change had been scheduled for this route, but seems to have been cancelled.

29th May:
Stagecoach 23 Southsea-Leigh Park

Stagecoach 30/31 Havant-Hayling Island

Stagecoach 700 Portsmouth-Brighton
Only the Portsmouth-Flansham section is shown here:
There is a route change in Central Portsmouth as follows:

Damory 152 Poole-Rockley Park
Sunday service and route variation introduced.

More 14/16 Poole-Kinson/Bournemouth

More 5/6 Poole-Canford Heath

More M1/M2/N1/N2 Poole-Castlepoint/Southbourne

More 60 Poole-Sandbanks
The existing route 52 is being renumbered 60. Sunday service introduced.

More 50 Bournemouth-Swanage

Bluestar 6 Southampton-Lymington

31st May:
More 38 Ringwood-Ferndown

More 32 Poole-Bournemouth
Cut to either two or three journeys each way Mon-Sats only.

More X6 Poole-Bournemouth
Fewer buses between Verwood and Ringwood. More buses between Ringwood and Bournemouth.

More 15 Poole-Bournemouth Hospital

More 40 Poole-Swanage

4th June:
More/Salisbury Reds X3 Bournemouth-Salisbury

5th June:
More 50 Bournemouth-Swanage

Our next Solent Bus Update post will appear on 5th June, by which time we should have the timetables for the following changes:

6th June:
More 125 Ringwood-Christchurch

10th June:
More 13 Bournemouth-Wimborne

More 4 Poole-Wimborne

1st July:
Stagecoach Winchester Park & Ride

Here are links to the websites of the bus operators serving the wider region:

Wider region local transport authorities:

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Departure boards / Obelisk rat run / Sunday

All bus operators in our region will have a Sunday service on Bank Holiday Monday 2nd May.

Bluestar have introduced live departure boards on their website. From the panel on the left hand side of their front page you can select your route, direction and stop and then see something like this:

Do leave a comment and let us know your experiences of using the new system. The times are supposedly more real than those that appear on NextBuses, which covers all operators nationwide, but tends to rely more often on the timetable rather than actual bus locations:

First three will be rerouted during weekday morning rush hours from 29th May to run via Obelisk Road towards the city centre in order to avoid traffic on Portsmouth Road. Obelisk Road used to have regular bus services until First cut them before this blog started. Do you remember when they were cut?

Stand by for a new type of regular post from Sunday, which might interest our friends in Winchester, Portsmouth, Salisbury and Bournemouth!

Sunday, 10 April 2016

New timetable summary

A reminder that this week just gone, we had new timetables on the following routes. Click the route number to see the new timetable:

From today, 10th April, we have new timetables on the following routes:

From next Sunday, 17th April, there's a new timetable on:

Friday, 1 April 2016

April fool!

As you may have guessed, that last story was indeed an April fool's joke!

First are staying, but hopefully Xelabus will be able to expand anyway.

Normal service resumes...

Farewell First, hello City Green!

After using the comments on this blog to publicise upcoming service changes before they appear on their own website, local bus company Xelabus will announce later today that they are to expand significantly in Southampton, by purchasing First's operations in the city.

First's Southampton network has seen considerable reductions in the last few years. Compare this map of their network back in 2009...

... with their current network:

A Xelabus spokesperson told this blog exclusively that First's core City Red network will change colour: "The successful City Red routes are the foundation from which we can build a major locally owned regional bus network. The branding will change to City Green to bring it into line with our current Village Green rural network."

From this...
...to this...
...alongside this...

The Solent Ranger X4 and X5 routes to Locks Heath, Fareham, Gosport and Portsmouth will remain with First, being operated from their Hoeford depot.

The future of First's non-City Red network hangs in the balance as Xelabus decides whether it's worth continuing to run routes like the 6 to Hamble and the 8 to Hedge End. If they do pull out, Bluestar will no doubt fill the gap in the market.

The official changeover will take place on 1st October.

First have been in our city since 1997 when they bought the former municipal Citybus from its then employees. First has already pulled out of several towns and cities over the last few years, such as Northampton, Wigan, Chester and Hereford.

More as we get it...