Wednesday, 28 March 2012

New First network: routes 4, 4A and X4 analysed

New 4, 4A and X4 will replace old 72, 80 and 80A from Southampton to Gosport and Fareham as well as old 57 and X57, which currently run between Warsash, Fareham and Portsmouth. First, let's look at what the routes will actually be:

4 Southampton-Lowford-Warsash-Locks Heath-Stubbington-Gosport
This is exactly the same as old 72 minus the Sunday extension to Central Station.

4A Southampton-Lowford-Warsash-Locks Heath-Fareham
This is the same as old 72 as far as Locks Heath, then as old 80A to Titchfield Common, then old 57 to Fareham.

X4 Southampton-Lowford-Locks Heath-Fareham-Portsmouth
This is the same as old 80 to Fareham minus the section between Central Station and Southampton city centre, than it continues to our dear neighbours in Portsmouth.

As far as Swanwick, all three routes go the same way. I should add that none of them will serve Wrights Hill, leaving it to new 5 and 6. After the short split while the new 4 and 4A go via Warsash, they all meet up again at Locks Heath Centre. Here's how the timetables compare on that combined stretch:
There's an extra bus an hour Mon-Sat daytimes and Sunday daytimes get an easier-to-remember two buses an hour.

Before they get to Locks Heath, new 4 and 4A will run through Warsash:
The daytime frequency is doubled every day. The only negative is that the last Sunday bus back to Warsash will be 7 minutes earlier than it is now.

After Locks Heath, the new 4 will run to Gosport, as per old 72:
The big gain here is on Sundays, where the frequency is doubled to hourly.

For a few months, old 80A has been serving the Titchfield Common end of Hunts Pond Road, offering a bus service to a new housing estate. Here's how that section fares with the changes:
No negatives here at all. Just earlier first and later last buses, now making it viable to commute to Southampton by bus for a 9-5 job. Still no Sunday service though, but Sunday buses are just a short walk away.

The old 80 section in Titchfield Common via Abshot Road sees a doubling of its Mon-Sat daytime frequency with new X4.

The rest of combined old 80/80A from Titchfield Common into Fareham keeps its half-hourly frequency with new X4 and gains the direct onward link to Portsmouth.

Southampton to Fareham on the combined new 4A/X4 will give three buses an hour where there used to be two. In most cases, the train will still be quicker however, and the Fareham Plusbus ticket is valid on all First and Stagecoach buses in the area, including the new First Eclipse services between Fareham and Gosport. If you do decide to get the bus all the way to Fareham or maybe even Portsmouth, the FirstDay Hampshire ticket is great value at £5.60. If you need to use another company's services to connect with First, then the Solent Travelcard at £7 is also valid.

The changes to these routes happen on Sunday 22nd April - that's a week before the rest of Southampton's changes, in order to coincide with other changes taking place in the Fareham area. Full new timetables here.

Next: First new 5...

1 comment:

  1. I live off the primate road and I used to get the 57 to Fareham and 78bus now I have to walk to hunts pond rd to get the 4a or x4. I have friend living off highlands rd and unable to get to them. I think it is disgusting. I have arthritis in my hips and can not walk far.
    also on sundays I am unable to get to Fareham metodist church for 10-30 as there is no buses.
    so why put the number 4 on all the week which goes to Gosport.
    if nothing is done I will write to my mp forfareham.