Friday, 24 March 2017

So long to Sundays in Swindon


This coming Sunday, 26th March, is your last chance to travel between Salisbury and Swindon by bus on a Sunday. It's the last day of Stagecoach 5, which is being withdrawn due to a subsidy cut by Wiltshire Council, wielding the axe that's been devolved to them by central government. Parts of the route will remain covered on Sundays by other services, such as Salisbury Reds X4, which runs from Salisbury as far as Durrington and Larkhill. On Mondays to Saturdays, you can continue to travel through to Swindon on Salisbury Reds X5.


In other news, almost all of our region's bus services will be running a Sunday service on both Good Friday and Easter Monday, but a notable exception is Bluestar, who will be providing a Saturday service on most routes on Good Friday. All Bluestar routes with the exception of the 6, 35, 36 and 39 will have a Saturday service. Unilink U1N will also run, although Unilink's daytime service will be on the Sunday timetable, as will Bluestar 6, with no service on the 35, 36 or 39.


In Bournemouth and Poole, More will also be providing a Saturday service on most routes on Good Friday. The exceptions are as follows:
  • A Sunday service running on routes 152, X1, X2, X8 and Bluestar 6
  • No services running on local routes 7a, 7b, 7c, 10, 24, 32, 38, 112, 128, Route One & Ringo

It'll be a Sunday service all round on Easter Monday.

It's Mothers' Day this Sunday and Go South Coast are celebrating by letting mums travel for free across all of their brands. Mums must however be accompanied by a paying child using a Dayrider ticket in order to qualify. The offer is valid on Bluestar, More and Salisbury Reds.


It's 30 years since Solent Blue Line launched in Southampton, so its modern day version, Bluestar, is holding a celebration at the Bargate on Sunday 4th June.


Stagecoach have announced some minor timetable changes to routes 69, 85 and 86 in Winchester from 30th April. Some schools and colleges routes are also affected.


74 comments:

  1. Fantastic news about Good Friday!Well done Go-ahead!

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    1. Good work Bluestar!

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  2. Saturday service on Good Friday is common in other parts of the country. The poor Sunday service that bus companys around here have always insisted on running is a complete misfit for that day and the buses are often overcrowded and late. Very good news that it is changing.

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    1. Long overdue!

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    2. It generally depends on the part of the country, and working practises on the day. Some areas don't really deem Good Friday to be a "proper" public holiday, so work patterns are (almost) normal - Yorkshire is a case in point. Others do deem it to be a normal PH, such as the North West, so a normal Sunday service runs. This leads to the unusual case of a special service running on First Manchester's 184, normally a 2 hourly service on PHs, but on GF has to be amended to hourly to fit around the Saturday service run by First Huddersfield.

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    3. Interesting if that is the case in Yorkshire. I didn't knoww anywhere in England treated Good Friday as a working day. But I'm fairly sure it is a holiday in places like Oxfordshire Gloucestershire and Birmingham where there is also normally a Saturday service

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    4. It stems from the traditional woollen industry where mills worked to a five day cycle. Good Friday was a normal working day, and the holiday moved to the Tuesday after which many mills remained closed for maintenance for the rest of the week, and that was the employees annual holiday. There were many local Easter festivities.
      Ken Traveline Dorset, Yorkshireman in exile.

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  3. And southern vectis and Salisbury reds ?

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    1. No mention of Easter on Southern Vectis` website!

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    2. Sunday service on Vectis (a lot of services on IoW have similar service levels to other days anyway).

      Sunday service on Reds, except for P&R (Saturday service) and R1 (enhanced Sunday service).

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    3. Why haven't GSC given a full Saturday service at places where they don't have competition (i.e. Salisbury and IOW) ?

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    4. Salisbury and IOW don't seem to use Saturday services on days other than Saturdays. They operated a weekday service between Christmas and New Year when Bluestar and more had a Saturday service.

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    5. Or more to the point, why have the competitors not provided a Saturday service? As usual GSC lead the way in innovation. The competitors lag behind.

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    6. Last time i checked they didn`t have competition in the Totton and Waterside area.but are still running a Saturday service on Good Friday.As far as the Isle of Wight goes,as said above,there is very little difference in service levels anyway.

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    7. Salisbury ??? Are the people of Salisbury not good enough for a whole Saturday service ?

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  4. Does the GASC takeover of Thamesdown offer hope of future improvement on the Salisbury / Swindon link?

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    1. It's pretty decent already... recently made 20 minutes faster. The only negatives are that the last full journeys are pretty early especially from Salisbury & boring buses (:D).

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  5. Have Wheelers gone under?

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    1. Why do you say that?

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    2. Very unlikely that they could go under wholesale. As I understand it, all routes are registered under individual company names under the Wheelers umbrella, so if one fails the rest are unaffected. I also heard that he runs services in other countries too, so is rather bigger than many people realise, despite the ramshackle appearance!

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    3. Something about a licence surrendered in the latest report from the traffic commissioner.

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    4. Look at the date Jack posted this.

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    5. Merged onto one license - all of the services on the Wheelers Connect license have moved onto the main Wheelers one.

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  6. Pleased to see that BS7 was well used on Sunday,Hopefully Go Ahead will extend its operating times and give it an evening service.

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  7. Any new buses for first Southampton in 2017

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    1. I think they have spent up in Southampton and still seem to be struggling, so new buses seem very unlikely to me. They just can't seem to keep pace with Blue Star.

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    2. Bluestar 17 seems to have really gained in popularity lately and have you noticed First using smaller buses on their 3 route lately?

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    3. Ummm.....As someone who lives along the corridor of both the 3 and 17 I have no idea where you have got this idea from. The 3 is normally the route branded 'The Three' buses, with some generic CityRed Streetlites and the occasional Citaro - i.e. the same as always.

      The 17 seems to be carrying a similar number of passengers as always. Sometimes its rather busy, sometimes not (much like most other buses!). In Shirley Bluestar passengers will generally get on whatever comes first (17, 18 or even the 4) if heading into town, and pensioners will generally get on whatever bus comes along.

      Both the 'Anonymous' comments above seem to carry the normal anti-First/Blustar do nothing wrong camp as per normal on this blog. Both companies have strengths and weaknesses.

      The biggest question this year I think will be who gains the new Unilink tender? If Bluestar lose it (In my opinion they do a good job!)then they could have a large hole in their finances.

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    4. I don't think there is much doubt about the unilink service operator for the next 5 years. With integrated tickets, charging points etc, and a first class job done, it would be a major shock if the uni went elsewhere.

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    5. Well maybe but if First or Stagecoach wanted to screw GSC over, and both have reason to do so, then who knows. Not a foregone conclusion by any means.

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    6. Bluestar customers would lose out if Unilink went elsewhere,as they can use Unilink as well ,with their Southampton freedom tickets.

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    7. GSC have craftily siphoned revenue from Unilink to Bluestar by selling travel through the Bluestar Key site. This will make it difficult for rival bidders to gauge the revenue as this will not be declared. Bluestar's new vehicles have been bought with this Unilink revenue.

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    8. I think you will find that Unilink is operated as a seperate entity from the Bluestar operation, and would therefore not be allowed to siphon money between the operations. I also think the University might have something to say about that!

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    9. I think this is just called being very astute. As for buying new vehicles for bluestar on the back of it, is this not like saying that Iberia are buying new planes on the back of being owned by British airways? All the money from all go ahead operations ultimately ends up in one big pot, so are you now saying that it would be wrong for them to have purchased Thames down because some of the funding would have come from unilink profits? Or first group subsidising Southampton from Glasgow? It's just business.

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    10. Yes it seems the latest version of the unilink website now links to the unilink portal for smart card purchases - but earlier versions were linking to the bluestar portal giving bluestar the revenue so the damage has already been done.

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    11. Unilink is a contract for Southampton University and there is a special arrangement for sharing revenue - Bluestar does not simply take all the revenue.

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    12. As I understand it, money from any On-board transactions goes into GSC's pockets, but any money from Key top-ups in the Unilink shop at the uni and academic year-length top-ups from the Bargate St shop go to the university.

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    13. I don't think it is that simple. GSC would not be encouraging key cards if this were true - on board revenue has dropped drastically since the introduction of the key card as most top ups are now on line but were previously done in cash on bus. There used to be a joint revenue pot which was spent by agreement between the parties on extra journeys, interchange facilities and on board info etc.

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  8. Saw a couple of their vehicles this afternoon (Monday 3 Apr) so it would appear not.

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    1. 07:01 W2 came running past my house around the time it should be today.

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  9. Timetables for Southbourne Buses (Simon Gard's new trading name) S1/S2 Ringwood services are now up on Traveline and there is also a new site (southbournebuses.co.uk) complete with "Generate excitement What's something exciting your business offers? Say it here." On the homepage and lower-case lettering for the company name... Also the Saturday service seems have vanished while GSC continue to operate on Sat.

    An interesting choice of name though, it seems to be named after a Bournemouth borough, even though all routes will be a few miles away in another county! A hint of what's to come perhaps?

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  10. The S12 route on the website (Bournemouth Pier - East Cliff - Boscombe Pier - Fishermans Walk - Hengistbury Head) starting on 1st July goes through Southbourne.

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    1. Simon is in for another big fall I think. It all seems to be borne out of a personal fight with GSC, which the big boys are always going to win.

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    2. The S12 doesn't seem to be a personal fight with GSC at all. Clearly inspired by the old Yellows open top route 12 (as far as Bournemouth, GSC 50 covers much of the old 12 from Bournemouth to Sandbanks) The closest thing to this currently is Yellows 33/D1 although that runs on many different things roads with a massive diversion via RBH. Could be successful if we have a good summer.

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    3. So far I have failed to find the S12 in any literature. Link please!

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    4. https://southbournebuses.co.uk/timetables

      No actual timetable yet - but the route is there

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  11. Travelled on a Bluestar bus and a First bus today.The Bluestar driver welcomed me with "Hello there" and acknowledged my saying "Thanks",as I reached my destination.The First driver said nothing at all!That`s why I prefer Bluestar anyday!

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    1. And you will find the same happens in reverse frequently.

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    2. Have to side with the original poster here. I travel on both frequently and Blue Star are nearly always more polite. As has been observed many times on here, the screens used on first tend to alienate the passengers from contact with the driver, meaning that customer care is invariably compromised.

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    3. Ah yes the B* fan club are out in force !

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    4. At least Bluestar ran a Saturday service on Good Friday,unlike the other useless bunch!

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    5. At least first run every 7/8 mins to Lords hill unlike the other useless bunch lol

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    6. At least Bluestar didn`t leave the Butts Road area of Sholing cut off for three days over the Easter weekend,unlike the other useless bunch!

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    7. Not to mention First leaving residents relying on buses in Harefield and Merry oak stranded on Good Friday,Easter Sunday and Monday,while they concentrate on their Cityred services!

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    8. That's a very good point. I heard several people who had never travelled with blue Star saying what a lovely service it was. The Saturday service on good Friday in particular seems to have won a lot of new friends, from the other useless bunch!

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    9. I guess you are not aware that buses have to be viable to operate. If you look carefully you maybe able to see a trend between level of service, demand and car ownership. At least next stop signs and announcement have been on first buses a lot longer - Better than that other useless bunch!

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    10. Not much help having next stop announcements if you haven't got a bus service !

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    11. Regarding the differences of opinion on here about the merits or otherwise of Blue Star and First, I was on a First 3 yesterday, going towards Shirley. At the stop in Above Bar, several people were complaining to the driver that the First 2 had come along while we were loading, didn't even open the doors despite folk indicating they wanted to board, and then drove off. The driver of the 3 immediately radioed "Control" to forward these comments. Whether anything further was/will be done is another matter, but I think it's fair to say there are some surly and arrogant pigs in both firms, and they spoil the reputation of the majority, i.e. those who do care.

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    12. No, buses do not have to be viable to operate. Many services, particularly the evening ones, lose money but operate to provide a complete service. It's always the innovators that win, if they have done their math properly.

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    13. The installation of next stop announcements on Bluestar/Unilink buses seems to be quite disorganised. You buy new E200 MMCs, don't kit them out with a next stop system as part of the delivered thing while it's a gamble on all the other models for the actual system to work.

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    14. Who launched the "Key"top up card along time before first caught up?

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    15. There is a very good reason for the e200 mmcs not being equipped with the next stop system. The first is that the manufacturer cannot do it, the second you will have to wait to see when the upgrade is ready. It does seem fair comment however that the reliability of the old system is very poor, hence the need for the upgraded version.

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    16. Smart cards are yesterday's news. Mobile and bank card are the way forward as customer kere already have these pieces of equipment already usually

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    17. Comment that states "no, buses don't have to be viable to operate" - I'm afraid you are not in the real world ! Have a quick look at the 1985 transport act

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    18. "I think it's fair to say there are some surly and arrogant pigs in both firms, and they spoil the reputation of the majority, i.e. those who do care."

      You forgot to mention this of the customers as well then!

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    19. And blog commentators

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    20. Very true about customers as well.I was travelling on a BS18 from town towards Shirley today.A woman was shouting and swearing and was rude to other passengers ,all due to the fact the bus wasn`t going to Thornhill ,due to the marathon!The bus set off for Millbrook ,when she set about a foul mouth tirade.I felt sorry for the kids she had with her.

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  12. WHEELERS TRAVEL LTD, 5 FLEMING AVENUE, NORTH BADDESLEY, SOUTHAMPTON, SO52 9EJ
    Operating between Southampton, Pound Tree Road and Lordshill, Buchanan Road given service number W2 effective from 04 June 2017.

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    1. It has been cancelled, from what I can see...

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    2. To quote from Xelabus twitter: "Our popular X11 bus service will be returning from 8th May. With new buses and regular drivers operating between Lordshill & City Centre."

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  13. Anon 22 april at 0938.... Please think before posting. Some services lose money, particularly late at night. The overall service makes money, but some individual trips dont. Are you telling me that firsts disastrous attempt on the waterside ever made a brass farthing? If it did, why was it withdrawn? First may just make a profit in Southampton, but some of their individual routes make a loss. Please stop making derisory remarks if you have not comprehended the context of what was being said properly. Boards like this rely on civility between posters, regardless of which operator we may prefer. Thanks.

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  14. A few changes on GSC this summer (http://www.morebus.co.uk/article.shtml?articleid=6813) most notably a new route 70 linking Bournemouth to Poole via Alum Chine and Canford Cliffs, the discontinuation of the 128, extending the m2 to Southbourne Cross Roads and rerouting Ringo 2 (to compete with Southbourne Buses)and the 10(to partially cover for the 128.

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    1. To anon 22 April @2327 just stating facts not fiction. ......if you can't stand the heat .....

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