Thursday, 1 September 2011

Ringwood coach, fares up & Hedge Enders

We have confirmation from the Department for Transport that Gardbus 39 will be withdrawn after close of service on Friday 30th September, yet again cutting Ringwood off from Southampton's bus network.

So where does this leave people needing to get between Southampton and Ringwood? National Express run several coaches a day between the two. There's no ticket interavailability with other bus companies in the region, but if you book in advance you can get a good deal. Their website is currently offering that journey tomorrow from £3.10 single. They now also make it easy to see timetables for other routes they operate. From Southampton they are: 032 to London, 203 to Fareham & Portsmouth or to Winchester, Basingstoke & Heathrow Airport, 300 to Salisbury, 315 along the South Coast from Penzance to Eastbourne and several services daily to Ringwood, Bournemouth and Poole or to Newbury, Oxford, the West Midlands and the North West. From Monday 26th September, route 206 will connect us with Gatwick Airport.

Bluestar have put most of their fares up. The only ones that haven't changed are most singles and returns for journeys that are entirely within the City of Southampton. Unilink have also increased the prices of their season tickets.

An anonymous commenter to the last post asks if Bluestar 3 is soon to be withdrawn and replaced by an extension to First 8A. We cannot confirm this. We also cannot rule it out. A weekday daytime frequency of just one bus an hour can't exactly be endearing Bluestar to Hedge Enders, especially after yet another fare increase. First 8A runs every 20 minutes Mon-Sat daytimes, so I'm sure anyone living near both routes will have been at least tempted to give First a go. We'll keep an eye on the situation there. Please leave a comment and let us know your thoughts.


  1. I feel sorry for Hedge Enders - or maybe I should blame them for not using their buses - I remember the old Solent Blue Line 27/28 loops which gave a combined frequency of (I think) 15 mins via Bitterne, and an additional hourly 29 via Sholing and Woolston.

    The BlueStar rebranding reduced this to the number 3 every 20 mins. which then dwindled to every 30 mins and is now only hourly off-peak. While the 8A was a welcome extension I think it might be partially contracted and therefore vulnerable?

    What is it about Hedge End that means people don't like using the buses?

  2. Yes I heard rumours... something involving Bluestar losing its tender for BS3 in Botley.

    Just rumours though.

  3. I was wondering why the daily echo haven't published anything about the Bluestar fares increase on their web contents unlike when First had their fares up

  4. 8A after Moorgreen is partly contract & partly developers contributions. But now the route seems to have gained some followers & an extension from Hedge End stn to Botley in eve on HCC contract makes for a fascinating history in yrs to come re this service. I say tag it to the 26 from Botley down to Fareham!