Monday, 2 April 2012

New First network: routes 8/8A (east) analysed

New 8 and 8A will run together from town, through Northam to Bitterne replacing old 9 and 9A. The 9A variation via Chessel Avenue is withdrawn without replacement, so all buses will run via Bitterne Road West. After that, they go the way of the old 8A along Townhill Way and through West End.

They then split at the Tollbar Way roundabout, with the new 8 going first to Hedge End Superstores and then on via Turnpike Way (relegated long ago by Bluestar to a peak-hours only diversion on their 3) and Upper Northam Road to the village centre, where 8 becomes 8A and continues round.

From the Tollbar Way roudabout, the new 8A turns left to serve Hedge End Rail Station, then to Maypole (another attack on Bluestar 3) and along Lower Northam Road to turn into a new 8 in the village centre.

I've plotted the new routes on Google Maps with the joint section in red, new 8 in brown and new 8A in orange.

The evening new 8B service to Botley will run as per old 8A through Hedge End:

Town to Bitterne via Northam, currently served by old 9 and 11, will be served by new 8, 8A and 9, in competition with Bluestar 3 and 18 and Brijan 7.

Lets's compare old 8A between West End and town with new 8/8A:
An extra bus an hour Mon-Sat daytimes and an earlier first bus at weekends are the positives. The last bus through to West End and Hedge End on Mon-Sat evenings will however be over an hour earlier than currently.

Where the routes split to run round Hedge End, they effectively offer 4 buses an hour Mon-Sat daytimes to all parts served, as long as you don't mind having to travel around the rest of the loop occasionally.

Surely Bluestar will need to respond to this somehow.

All of these changes to First's routes take place on Sunday 29th April (A week earlier in the case of new 4/4A/X4 via Locks Heath) and the new timetables can be found here.

Next, new 9...

1 comment:

  1. At Hedge End Sainsbury's & Hedge End Town although using different roads there will be TWO service 8's. One of First colours & One of Brijan colours! Confusion for the casual passenger!
    Also, First 26 does currently serve Upper Northam rd & Turnpike way albeit every 1hr 45min or so!