Friday, 9 May 2014

Solent Travelcard price chaos / First managers online

First are holding another online 'Meet the Manager' event for their Southampton routes next Wednesday between 1700 and 1900 on Facebook and Twitter.

The Solent Travelcard has been around for a few years now, making it easier and cheaper to make journeys that involve more than one bus operator. But how much does it cost? According to the card's dedicated website, the one-day version is £7.50:

But passengers have reported to the ticket's Facebook page of being charged £8 for the ticket. Indeed, a look at First and Bluestar's websites confirms that they are now charging £8 for the ticket:

Meanwhile Velvet's fares page and Brijan Tours still give the price as £7.50:

Xelabus agree, with a scrolling banner on their homepage advertising £7.50:

Neither Stagecoach nor Wheelers appear to promote the ticket, despite the ticket's own website listing them as partners.

So does the Solent Travelcard now have two prices and you pay the one set by the operator from which you purchase it? If so, is there a risk of Bluestar and First drivers rejecting tickets purchased on BrijanVelvet or Xelabus?

21 comments:

  1. Well the Solent Travelcard website now says it's £8 so I guess that's correct, especially since it has been £7.50 for the last 2 years.

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  2. One ticket for all operators,but sadly they can't all agree on the selling price. Nothing like a professional image! Who controls the distribution of the fares income with this ticket,or does each operator pocket the cash?

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  3. I wonder if it might be worth introducing a lower priced travelcard for travel in smaller zones of the main area, effectively being a travelcard for each principal town or city?

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  4. If, as I do follow the Sunday blog posting of various Towns and Cities, and what they provide in information to intending passengers,the lowest score in most instances is the ticket information. In most cases some local operators big or small are showing out of date information regarding ticket availability, where services or other factors have changed since it was first posted. PAC

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  5. I do use this ticket occasionally but £8 and I was quite miffed to find it cost £8 on a First bus when I was expecting it to be £7.50.

    There's also a discrepancy between Unilink and Bluestar ticket prices for a Southampton Zone Dayride with the former being £3.50 and the latter being £3.60 despite it being the exact same ticket.

    In Bristol you have the Avon Rider (v similar concept to this) but also the Bristol Rider which is cheaper and only covers the city. I would be much more inclined to buy a ticket that allowed me to use First, Bluestar and Wheelers just within the Southampton city area. I could go in on a W1 and then catch a 3 to my allotment and a U6H home. Very useful but not for £8.

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  6. I also note from the travel card web site that the link "I'm getting smarter" that talk about proposed developments has disappeared. It does however remain on other pages, so I'm wondering if these developments have been cancelled.

    As someone who lives on the Waterside, this ticket remains the cheapest option for a day's travel to and around Southampton, the drivers do seem less and less familiar with the ticket though.

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  7. You live on the waterside, and the travel card is your cheapest option? Only if you really need to use a first bus.... Or else the Bluestar dayrider at £7.20 would be your best bet. Not sure why you say that drivers are not familiar with the ticket though? I think it is always normal for drivers from other bus outfits to give extra scrutiny to another operators ticket, but once they see the word "travelcard" on it, its plain sailing. I can only imagine that its First you are having trouble with, possibly due to the high numbers of new staff that they seem to have needed to employ lately?

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  8. As a Brijan driver, I can confirm that ours are now £8 for a day. The ticketer machines were updated automatically.

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  9. Now shown on the Velvet website is a temporary timetable for about a month for service A, together with other information regarding the service after the temporary timetable finishes.The only regret I have is the loss of the Sunday service for Hedge End residents, but fully understand why it's on this day not commercially viable.At least they have certainly listened to customer complaints and done their best to address them. Wish the larger operators were as good at listning to their customers. PAC

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  10. Only Sunday service then between H.End & Soton will be the irregular Bluestar 3. H.End to Eastleigh "A" Sunday service will be run by FIRST as it is now under a HCC contract

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  11. That's H.End Village & not Sainsbury's/M&S as the First 8 will still serve there.

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    1. Yes it also has a very interesting evening timetable with the extensions to Botley. It would seem from the Superstores it runs to Hedge End Centre but no indication of via Poores Corner or Wildern Lane,then as now from Hedge End Centre to Botley. On return from Botley as now to Hedge End Centre then I presume as now via Wildern lane to Grange Park.I must assume that anyone wishing to travel to Grange Park from Southampton must now travel via Botley and anyone wishing to travel from the Superstores to Southampton would have to travel via Botley.If I'm correct how crazy is this. PAC

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    2. I'd be surprised if anyone actually noticed, as First tend to keep the 8 to Botley very hush hush. Not mentioned in the Fareham/Gosport timetable book, even though their 26 Hedge End-Botley daytime service is!

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  12. I would like to add that we at Xelabus have brought the day price into line with other companies. We normally receive notification when there is an increase but it looks like us and a few others were never informed.

    PHILIP BLAIR
    Managing Director
    Xelabus Limited

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  13. How very kind and thoughtful of the Firstbus planners to take all the buses towards Bitterne out of the Gyratory Road by Bullar Road as from June 1st 2014, and put the stop in Bitterne Road West by the Flower Shop. This is presumeably being done to save a minute in running time towards Bitterne on their services.However we will now have a situation where Bluestar,Brijan and Velvet use the Gyratory Road stop, and the passengers have in inclement weather a shelter to protect them somewhat,but Firstbus passengers, with where the new stop will be, can now wait and get soaked with no such luck of a shelter ever being put there. Also as Bitterne Road West is a very busy road,the bus when using the new stop will now cause frustration to motorists in blocking the road whilst passengers board or alight.Another case of First transforming travel -PAC

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    1. As a first driver I totally agree with you PAC! Such a irresponsible place to put a bus stop, not the first time it's been done either.

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    2. Indeed-The last time it was tried it was only one service that used it, the other still used the Gyratory Road-This time all First services will use the new stop so if an 9 and 12 run together which could happen, if they have to set down or pick up the second bus will more than likely block the crossing and with traffic behind will block the road junction.I support all bus drivers 100% in the work they do, and object to people who make decissions that make their job harder in trying to carry out their duties. PAC

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  14. Faster journey for customers looks like to me. City council need to provide infrastructure.

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  15. This can save several minutes depending on traffic light phasing even if the inside lane to the exit traffic light is not blocked by vehicles turning right.

    It now seems that bus lay byes are disappearing which although possibly adding to some congestion does make it easier for the bus driver. Shirley High Street (except the precinct inbound) has no lay byes and Romsey Road by the new school had its lay byes in both directions removed. Lets not forget the stops where cars are regularly parked

    Pete

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  16. It seems to me that SCC make very little effort in terms of bus priority across the city .

    Am I right in thinking that Romanse no longer controls the flows and phasing of numerous traffic lights? Given the increasing demands on road space,such as when an armada of cruise ships do a one-day turn around in the port,perhaps more efforts should be made to manage and control traffic? Park and Ride anyone...but with bus lanes pleeeease!

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  17. Well it appears that the Solent travel card has been abolished and replaced by the Solent Go smartcard thing on one hand (which I'm somewhat confused about what it actually is) http://solentgo.co.uk/ and the new (operator lead?) explorer ticket on the other.

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