Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Velvet A splits in two from Monday / Xelabus new timetables

From this Monday 23rd June, Velvet A splits into two separate routes:


  • Southampton to Hedge End remains as Velvet A but gets a new timetable.
  • Eastleigh to Hedge End transfers to Xelabus and becomes route X4. To confuse things, Velvet will still run a couple of evening journeys, also numbered X4 and First will still run the Sunday service, numbered (lettered) A. See the Mon-Sat timetable here and the Sunday timetable here.


Some Xelabus routes also get new timetables. Click the following links to see them:

  • X3: Rerouted to serve Boyatt Wood and Nightingale Avenue. No longer serves Velmore or Valley Park.
  • X4: Replaces the Eastleigh-Hedge End section of Velvet A.
  • X7: Frequency doubled to every half-hour on weekdays.


Xelabus also introduce some new tickets, including a GreenDayRider valid all day on all Xelabus services for £6. They also issue and accept the new Discovery ticket, which is also valid on Stagecoach.

30 comments:

  1. More improvements I note to First Solent services now shown on their website - PAC

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  2. Your readers may be interested to know that Xelabus will take over the three journeys operated by Velvet on what will be our X4 route from 1st July 2014 - these are the evening trips. From Thursday 3 July we take over the X7 Thurs, Fri and Saturday evening journeys followed by the X7 on Sundays from the 6th July. This then brings all X4 and X7 journeys into the Xelabus network. We have also acquired 7 Velvet DD buses to allow us to develop Barton Peveril College work and over the summer these buses will be thoroughly inspected and repainted into Xela colours. We also have four Scania Omnilink single deckers on order for delivery before 1st August. From September we have been awarded the Chandlers Ford Business Park service and this will be numbered X5 and two Omnilinks will be used on this service and the others on X4/X7. Further expansion is planned for the Autumn. So hopefully your readers will learn that we are progressively working as an important independent company within southern Hampshire.

    PHILIP BLAIR
    Managing Director
    Xelabus Limited

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    1. Be nice if you had a decent website that your customers could post on. I'm sure ex Velvet customers who have been used to tweets as to where their bus might be delayed or can ask on facebook are going to be very disappointed in the lack of what you offer

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  3. Just need the contracted Sunday service First operate between Eastleigh and Hedge End into your fold eventually, and it will then be perfect for all the customers as to what colour bus to look out for each and every day. - PAC

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  4. I wonder if Xela or Velvet have considered running a service Southampton - Stubbington/Lee-on-solent/Gosport direct as First have changed their route to run via Fareham (yes via Fareham!) from the end of July?

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    1. Interestingly you can at present travel from Stubbington Green to Titchfield Southampton Hill at the village end of it in 7 minutes.Under the new timetable it will take 28 minutes, but you will now have to get off on the by-pass as the village end will no longer be served,and walk. I'm sure a Taxi is in future the option for this journey,and more than likely at a far far cheaper cost, with the benefit of you being able to go from door to door in the comfort of a nice car.

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  5. I fully expect anyone attempting to board a Stagecoach service in Hants with one of these new tickets to get laughed off - or will someone actually bother to tell the drivers in Winchester about this? As there seems to be no mention of it on Stagecoach's website I shall assume they won't.

    As an aside the old Explorer was valid on Wilts & Dorset and Solent blue Line (the latter from a hazy memory), so I assume Go South coast weren't interested then?

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    1. I don't ever remember Solent Blue Line accepting the old Explorer tickets. If they did, it certainly wasn't for the length of the tickets existence, as I was a user of it back in the late 90s.

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    2. This suggests they did at some point:

      "Explorer

      Almost unlimited travel without time restriction on most Solent Blue Line, Stagecoach in Hampshire, Hants & Surrey, Coastline, Wilts & Dorset and First Provincial and other participating operators' buses for the day. Special rates for under 16s, over 60s and families. Buy Explorer in advance from offices and agents or by Freepost."

      From: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/margaret.linnell/sites/blueline/index.htm

      I must confess to thinking that Southern Vectis did as well, but perhaps not.

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    3. Solent Blue Line definitely used to issue and accept Explorers. I used them many a time in my youth. I remember having to buy them in advance though as a scratchcard. There was a version that you could buy on the bus, called Getaway. It was the same price as Explorer but was only valid on SBL and W&D.

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    4. Used to buy them en-mass from the shop when I could as cheaper than Stagecoach ones!

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    5. @SotonBus: Interesting about comment about SBL accepting Explorer tickets. I used to buy the scratchcard versions from the First Provincial bus depot at Hilsea. Perhaps I was unlucky that on the rare occasion I did try to use the Explorer ticket on SBL services the drivers didn't know/weren't aware that they accepted them.

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    6. SBL used to issue Explorer Scratch cards as compensation for minor complaints, so were sending them out regularly. The issue was actually First as Southampton didn't accept them but Fareham & Portsmouth did but only pre-bought ones & not on-bus tickets (I think, I don't think it was the other way round), & to add to the confusion First Weymouth issued on-bus explorers that they said were valid on SBL which I wasn't aware of despite working for SBL Head Office at the time. It is no wonder that other companies drivers got confused on whose Explorers were being accepted where. The only issue with the Explorer is/was that it was a legacy of the NBC & was never had any real involvement by local authorities so there is never any consistency on who accepts what, where or how much it costs & it got so confusing most operators stopped mentioning it long before they stop accepting them.

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    7. I remember having a "BUS RANGER" weekly ticket issued by Southdown travel office that Hants & Dorset officially accepted, even though they didn't take the daily version. The conductor - yes it was that long ago - looked at it - looked shocked - was speechless & just then nodded.

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    8. I got a Discovery on The Kite at Guildford after a bit of faffing.Used it on Xela and the 65 and 64 from Alton no issue.

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  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  7. Xelabus running the X4 is awful already, no communication, filthy buses and poor customer service - perhaps Mr Blair could set up a twitter and facebook account so customers can communicate with them - a great loss to see Velvet go

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    1. Quite agree-You can't get in touch with them except by telephone and from reports I have seen or heard about so far in two days of operation it's been awful

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  8. Xelabus haven't even updated the X3 timetable on their website. This is basic information which should really be readily available...

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    1. No surprise at this, as what is available from them is poor anyway. When they introduced their website they made great hype as to what was cominIng. In the end most were disappointed at it and could not understand why it took so long to set up.Now between Velvet and Xelabus the public must be confused to who operates what, as college services are shown on the Velvet site but operated by Xelabus, but not shown on their site. The whole lot is a mess and needs addressing post haste.

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    2. It's now been a week since the Xelabus service changes and still no update on their website.

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  9. They are bus marketing experts according to themselves.Funny then,that they were not at the latest re-launch of the local multi-operator bus ticket.

    I was always taught that self-praise is no recommendation.

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    1. Do you mean the updated Solent Travelcard ? Xelabus were there - I saw a Xelabus in the picture tweeted by Andrew Wickham. https://twitter.com/AndrewWickhamGo/status/482475343417458688/photo/1 Or is that not a Xelabus on the right?

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    2. It's Emsworth & District

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    3. Ah, I stand corrected as I'd completely forgotten about them. I should have gone to Specsavers! Maybe Xelabus are not going to be in the new scheme. It's a question that can be asked if anyone takes up the Mr Blair offer of meeting up next Tuesday!

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  10. Some say they are an embarrassment to the industry.

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  11. Dear Anons (!) I see you don't wish to expose your true identity so continue to insult from afar. I am more than willing to provide an office and an hour to let your readers know about how Xelabus works and our plans for the future. Shall we say 10am next Tuesday at Xela and see who wishes to come along and be honest enough to show their faces??

    PHILIP BLAIR
    Managing Director
    Xelabus Limited

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    1. Now that is an offer you don't get everyday! Mr Blair I am not one of the above Anons, & whilst constructive criticism is generally useful, I do think the Xela-bashing has been rather OTT recently on this site. Hopefully they the Anons will go along next week. Maybe some other day you could have a public Xelabus depot charity open day along the lines of Brijan's former charity days to raise awareness of Xelabus future expansion plans & to raise a few quid to boot? Personally, I think it would be helpful if you (that is Xela) would be on either Facebook or Twitter just to give a more public face, even if just to allow service updates now that the network is expanding. However, I do note that your tagline on the website carries some information.

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  12. I note that the Xelabus website has now been updated to a degree on viewing this morning-however the X3 seems to no longer exist-PAC

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  13. Dear Anons - We do work with charities and one very close to our hearts is Naomi House Childrens Hospice. Xela is Alex backwards and it is a permanent reminder of our dear grandson who died after battling Neuroblastoma cancer as a 3 year old little boy. So when you criticise Xelabus remember why it was set up. We do raise money for the Naomi House and provide our services free of charge to take families and ill children out for trips.

    We know we are not perfect but we are trying and sometimes comments on here hurt greatly.

    Please remember we would like to meet anyone who wants to learn more about Xelabus and would still welcome anyone who would like to call by and call in for a coffee.

    There is much more to do and we hope everyone will like the new 4 Scania buses coming at the end of the month.

    PHILIP BLAIR
    Managing Director
    Xelabus Limited

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