Monday 17 February 2014

First fares crystal clear

First revamped their fares in Southampton a couple of weeks ago, but I've only just discovered the extent of what they have done. On their website, you can find this:

...and this:

Between them, those two images allow you to work out the single or return fare for any journey with First in and around Southampton. The whole city and surrounding areas have been divided into just 14 fare zones. The simplified matrix makes it easy to see what the single fare is for any journey based on which fare zones it starts and finishes in.

They deserve praise for this. I'm not aware of any other First subsidiary making their single and return fares so transparent to the passenger. Here in Southampton, they now join Velvet and Unilink in being totally upfront with potential customers about how much a journey will cost them.

This leaves Bluestar and Salisbury Reds, who provide patchy information about single fares, Wheelers, who provide fares info for route W1 only and Brijan Tours who provide no fares information. The pressure is surely on them to catch up now.

Looking at First's single fares, most of the city can be reached from town for just £2 single. Weston, Sholing and Lordshill zones are the exception at £2.50. A cross-city journey that remains within the city boundary will cost no more than £3. Crossing the city boundary, there's a maximum single fare of £4.

This information will help people decide whether or not it is worth buying a day ticket. See the full range on their website. Here's a summary of the ones that First flogs and the prices for an adult ticket:

FirstDay City: £3.20 - valid within the dotted line on the map above or the pink area on this map.
FirstDay Southampton: £4.20 - valid on the whole Southampton network including Hamble & Hedge End.
FirstDay Hampshire: £5.90 - valid on all First buses in Hampshire.
FirstNight: £3 - valid after 1900 on all First buses in Hampshire.
Solent Travelcard: £7.50 - valid on buses of almost all operators in the zone shown here.


  1. Indeed it's a much better system and all credit to First for introducing it. However it does have its pitfalls in some areas, one being Netley..If you say travel in this zone and board the bus at say at Tickleford Drive and book two stops to Grange Road, it now costs £3 single and £4 return. It was pricy before the change at £2.90 return. Other examples exist under the new scheme, which do nothing to encourage people to use public transport. However depending where you board or alight, quite a number of would be travellers are now much better off. Interestingly the new fares within Eastleigh Borough were endorsed by the council, of which I must suspect by some of the fares very few members use public transport, although I admit they do seem suportive of services.

  2. I think everyone is wondering whether Bluestar are increasing single and return fares this weekend? They have told us that Dayriders and period passes are going up, but not a single "revised fares from 23rd Feb" notice has been seen on their buses, unlike with previous hikes. Anyone got any concrete info?

    1. It does state in their information that certain single and return fares will change, but as to which and on which route is anyones guess - Not much help in the information provided on their website at present for anyone, except for the fact it's clear what is happening to period tickets. PAC

  3. News from VOSA uploads today is that Velvet are withdrawing the 300 for a second time, in 5 years, from 6/4,