This change will mainly affect anyone in Otterbourne who needs to get to Eastleigh in the morning rush hour. The 0800 now cancelled E2 from Winchester passed through Otterbourne at 0824 and arrived in Eastleigh at 0840, no doubt ideal for many workers:
Commuters to Winchester still have the 1, but there's no replacement to Eastleigh. So what options do those affected have? According to Traveline, they can either catch Bluestar 1 to Chandlers Ford and connect (with a 22 minute wait) to Velvet C1, giving a journey time of about 50 minutes and with no integrated ticketing other than the £7 Solent Travelcard;
OR they can get the Bluestar 1 towards Winchester and change at St Cross (also with a 22 minute wait) to the E1 that replaces the cancelled E2 journey. That gives you a journey time of an hour, but you can still use Bluestar tickets throughout:
Considering the cancelled E2 did the trip in 16 minutes, the alternatives are not going to tempt anyone out of their cars. Anyone affected should complain to Hampshire County Council, who still haven't bothered to advise of the change on their appalling website. Otterbourne is represented on the Council by Liberal Democrat Charlotte Bailey, whose e-mail address is email@example.com
With the latest cuts biting hard, many people are blaming the bus operators, particularly Bluestar (see their Facebook page). It's worth clarifying that we have two tiers of bus services in this country (excluding London and Northern Ireland). The first are commercial services, run by the bus companies for a profit. The operators choose the routes, times and fares. The second type are contracted by the local authority (in our case either Southampton City Council or Hampshire County Council) to fill a gap in the commercial network, where they deem it necessary. The council pays the bus operator a subsidy to run the service and it's the council that sets the route and times. What happens with fares on contracted services is unclear and most probably varies from contract to contract.
In other news, Stagecoach are first off the block in telling us what kind of service they'll be operating over Christmas and New Year. As we get details from all the bus companies, I'll incorporate their plans into our green 'forthcoming changes' tab on the right, so that you can see them all at a glance.
Stagecoach also have some special offers on their Dayrider Gold and Megarider Gold tickets over the festive period. See their website for full details.