Sunday, 9 October 2011

Bluestar mauled over savage cuts

Bluestar have attracted considerable criticism on their Facebook page by confirming the cuts that will take place on their services due to Hampshire County Council reducing subsidies, under orders of course by the Tory/Fib Dem national government. The following cuts (no point in calling them changes) will take place from Sunday 23rd October:

5 Eastleigh-Romsey
W&D 65 becomes Bluestar 5. No official timetable appears to have been published yet, but the Hampshire Bus Changes blog has found one. That blog is also good for news of changes to bus services across Hampshire, even those that are outside of our unashamedly Southampton-centric patch.

6 Southampton-Lymington
The Mon-Sat frequency will be halved to hourly. Until the timetable is out, we can't tell if the service will even run to Southampton any more. Certain interpretations of Bluestar's notifications could suggest that the service will end at Rushington and passengers might need to change to another bus, possible the 8 or 9 in order to get into Southampton. It's also not clear if the Sunday service will continue.

8 Southampton-Hythe
The timetable will be 'changed'. This is a disaster for Marchwood as all Sunday buses are being cut, along with the evening 9s that divert through the village. Several people have already posted on Bluestar's Facebook page saying that they will have to give up jobs because of this. In Bluestar's defence, these cuts are down to Hampshire County Council and national government slashing bus subsidies. They are supposedly democratically accountable, so make your view known to your councillors and MP. And maybe consider voting differently next time.

9 Southampton-Waterside
As has already been mentioned, Marchwood is being completely cut adrift in the evenings. Blackfield will also suffer, as Heather Road will lose all its buses. Some additional services will go to Langley.

10/11 Southampton-Cadnam
The lack of a timetable leaves this wide open to interpretation. Bluestar's wording means that at worst there will be an hourly daytime service between Cadnam and West Totton only, with passengers then possibly having to change to another bus. At best it means there will be a combined hourly frequency (currently half-hourly) all the way into Southampton. Either way, it's a hefty cut.

12 Southampton-Calmore
Sunday evening services will be completely withdrawn. If you need to get to Calmore then, tough.

14 City Centre-Bitterne
Will be cut to run between town and Glen Eyre only and will be rebranded the P1. This axe is wielded by Southampton City Council, not Hampshire.

E1/E2/E3 Eastleigh-Winchester
As has already been reported, the E3 is withdrawn. The combined Mon-Sat daytime frequency is halved to hourly. The Sunday service is withdrawn meaning that Twyford and Colden Common will be completely isolated on Sundays.

F Eastleigh-Bishops Waltham
This will be completely withdrawn. Stoke Common will be cut off and the councils have mentioned nothing about any kind of replacement.

H1/H2 Hythe circular
The weekday service will be reduced and the Saturday service will be cut entirely.

H3 Hythe-Calshot
Heather Road in Blackfield is being cut off. The weekday service will be reduced and the Saturday service will be cut entirely.

Given the scale of these cuts and the fact that they are just two weeks away, it is astonishing that Bluestar has only announced them on Facebook, not on their actual website and that the full new timetables are not yet available. We'll scrutinise them as soon as they are out and will let you know of any more details that they (Bluestar, the councils and the government) might be trying to hide from you. We fear there could be even more bad news to come.


  1. The amount of people that own the yellow disable free bus pass is unbelievable.

    Strangely most of them seem to have enough money for the booze.

    Why not trying to cut these subsidies for the 'disable' that are not quite disable ( they are just drunks and druggies ) before making these cuts that affect directly the working people it is beyond me.

  2. I'm sure the local councils aren't handing out any more disabled passes than they need to. How the bus companies get reimbursed for carrying people travelling on disabled and pensioners' free passes is however an issue. Many companies have complained that they are not being paid a viable rate to carry those passengers, which means the fares for those of us who do pay have gone up more than they would otherwise have needed to. I think it's also fair to say that a lot of the latest cuts to 'unviable' services are as a result of journeys being made unviable by the high number of free passes being used (and low number of full fare payers). Maybe the free passes should be means-tested. Then again, maybe the whole fare structure of public transport needs to be integrated and made affordable so that it is a viable long-term alternative to car ownership. It can be done, just look at any other major European country.