Monday, 21 November 2011

0800 E2 replaced by E1 as of today

Hampshire County Council has rushed through a last-minute timetable change to the E1 and E2, operated by Bluestar. The 0800 departures in each direction Mon-Sats, which is currently an E2 running via Otterbourne is from today (whatever happened to notifying the public beforehand?) an E1 running via Colden Common and Twyford. The full new timetable is here.

This change will mainly affect anyone in Otterbourne who needs to get to Eastleigh in the morning rush hour. The 0800 now cancelled E2 from Winchester passed through Otterbourne at 0824 and arrived in Eastleigh at 0840, no doubt ideal for many workers:
Commuters to Winchester still have the 1, but there's no replacement to Eastleigh. So what options do those affected have? According to Traveline, they can either catch Bluestar 1 to Chandlers Ford and connect (with a 22 minute wait) to Velvet C1, giving a journey time of about 50 minutes and with no integrated ticketing other than the £7 Solent Travelcard;
OR they can get the Bluestar 1 towards Winchester and change at St Cross (also with a 22 minute wait) to the E1 that replaces the cancelled E2 journey. That gives you a journey time of an hour, but you can still use Bluestar tickets throughout:
Considering the cancelled E2 did the trip in 16 minutes, the alternatives are not going to tempt anyone out of their cars. Anyone affected should complain to Hampshire County Council, who still haven't bothered to advise of the change on their appalling website. Otterbourne is represented on the Council by Liberal Democrat Charlotte Bailey, whose e-mail address is

With the latest cuts biting hard, many people are blaming the bus operators, particularly Bluestar (see their Facebook page). It's worth clarifying that we have two tiers of bus services in this country (excluding London and Northern Ireland). The first are commercial services, run by the bus companies for a profit. The operators choose the routes, times and fares. The second type are contracted by the local authority (in our case either Southampton City Council or Hampshire County Council) to fill a gap in the commercial network, where they deem it necessary. The council pays the bus operator a subsidy to run the service and it's the council that sets the route and times. What happens with fares on contracted services is unclear and most probably varies from contract to contract.

In other news, Stagecoach are first off the block in telling us what kind of service they'll be operating over Christmas and New Year. As we get details from all the bus companies, I'll incorporate their plans into our green 'forthcoming changes' tab on the right, so that you can see them all at a glance.

Stagecoach also have some special offers on their Dayrider Gold and Megarider Gold tickets over the festive period. See their website for full details.

Monday, 14 November 2011

46 gets new timetable already / Bitterne diversions

It's only had its current timetable for a couple of weeks, but Stagecoach 46 is getting a new one from Tuesday 3rd January. There are only a few minor timing changes. New timetable here.

There are a couple of diversions in Bitterne. First 9A is running to the 9 route due to the closure of Chessel Avenue at its junction with Peartree Avenue. The proper 9A route resumes on Friday. First 8 is diverted due to the closure of Spring Road, also at its junction with Peartree Avenue, tomorrow and Wednesday between 0930 and 1600. During those times it will run via the diversion shown here:

Thursday, 10 November 2011

X7 Sunday scandal! X12 flops! 80 to end Wrights Hill snub!

Xelabus X12/X13 runs for the last time tomorrow. No mention of this on Xelabus's website, so I hope they've made an effort to let any regular customers know. The whole route is covered by Bluestar 2 so no-one will be left isolated. I take no pleasure from the fact that the prediction in my post of 18th April (that the X12 wouldn't last 6 months) has been proven correct.

Now to our top story: Wilts & Dorset X7 no longer runs on Sundays, contrary to what we previously reported. The last Sunday service between Southampton and Salisbury was the now withdrawn X71 on 16th October. When the timetable first changed, W&D misleadingly published this Sunday service timetable on their website (screengrab from 17th October):
No prizes for guessing which bit of that I added myself. The organisation of public transport in this country is truly in a sorry state when a bus operator and a state-backed public transport information portal (Traveline) can both publish timetables for a non-existent service! So, what if you need to get between Southampton and Salisbury on a Sunday? The trains still run. If you're allergic to them, your only remaining option (according to Traveline) is to take a National Express coach to Ringwood and change there to W&D X3, with a total journey time of 2 hours. If you need to get to any intermediate points (well, anywhere between Testwood and Salisbury anyway) on the X7 route on a Sunday, you can't.

First 80 will have a few route changes from 4th December. As well as the one in Locks Heath a couple of posts ago, it will be rerouted to serve Wrights Hill (instead of by-passing it on Portsmouth Road as the 72 will continue to do) and in the city centre, it will use Castle Way in both directions instead of Queensway.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Diversions in Otterbourne and Netley

The main road through Otterbourne is closed every weekday 0900 and 1630 up to and including next Monday. Bluestar 1 is diverting via the M3 between the Nuffield Hospital and Winchester during those times. An hourly shuttle bus is running from the bit of Otterbourne that will still be open to Winchester. Full details here. Route E2 also runs through Otterbourne and will also need to divert, but Bluestar have neglected to say where that's being sent instead.

This Sunday there will be diversions to First 16 in Netley due to the Remembrance Day parade.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Disappearing Xela routes / First 80 route change

Xelabus X12 and X13 are being withdrawn after the last bus on Friday 11th November. There's so far been no official announcement from Xelabus, but the cut is confirmed by the Department for Transport bus service registrations and the Traveline journey planner. The question is did Xelabus jump or were they pushed? Bluestar had registered extra journeys on the 2, which runs to the same route, at exactly the same times as the X12/X13, but have since revoked the extra journeys, presumably safe in the knowledge that Xelabus had decided to throw in the towel rather then get involved in a bus war. We could have been about to witness a scaled-down version of what happened a few years ago when Velvet tried to compete with Bluestar 2 and were met with extra buses from Bluestar, with which they could not compete.

Talking of Xelabus, the timetables for their free buses to the Asda stores in Chandlers Ford and Totton have disappeared from their website, suggesting that they no longer run. We don't tend to monitor the free routes as information is hard to find and can change very quickly, often without notice. Xelabus still run free buses to some larger Tesco branches. To see if there's one near you, check their website.

There will be changes to First 80 after all from Sunday 4th December. During Mon-Sat daytimes, one of the two buses an hour is renumbered 80A and will take a slightly different route between Locks Heath and Titchfield. The 80 will continue to serve Abshot Road and Warsash road, while the 80A will run direct via Hunts Pond Road, as rather crudely shown here:
Times are unchanged.