Friday, 1 April 2016

Farewell First, hello City Green!

After using the comments on this blog to publicise upcoming service changes before they appear on their own website, local bus company Xelabus will announce later today that they are to expand significantly in Southampton, by purchasing First's operations in the city.

First's Southampton network has seen considerable reductions in the last few years. Compare this map of their network back in 2009...

... with their current network:

A Xelabus spokesperson told this blog exclusively that First's core City Red network will change colour: "The successful City Red routes are the foundation from which we can build a major locally owned regional bus network. The branding will change to City Green to bring it into line with our current Village Green rural network."

From this... this...
...alongside this...

The Solent Ranger X4 and X5 routes to Locks Heath, Fareham, Gosport and Portsmouth will remain with First, being operated from their Hoeford depot.

The future of First's non-City Red network hangs in the balance as Xelabus decides whether it's worth continuing to run routes like the 6 to Hamble and the 8 to Hedge End. If they do pull out, Bluestar will no doubt fill the gap in the market.

The official changeover will take place on 1st October.

First have been in our city since 1997 when they bought the former municipal Citybus from its then employees. First has already pulled out of several towns and cities over the last few years, such as Northampton, Wigan, Chester and Hereford.

More as we get it...

1 comment:

  1. Hmm! Should we check the date today! If true this is an amazing coup!