Thursday, 1 December 2011

Sunday service, really? / First for xmas confusion

All of our region's bus operators have now advised how their services will be running over Christmas and New Year. A summary is in the green panel on the right. There are a couple of surprises however.

On New Year's Day most operators will not be running, but Velvet say they will be running a Sunday service. Are they sure? The A and C1 are run by other companies on Sundays and First, who run the A, say they won't be running on 1st Jan. Xelabus run the Sunday C1, but unless the council are subsidising them on that day, I can't see them running either. Will Velvet be running the services themselves to the Sunday timetable? Unless Phil can confirm otherwise, I think it's safer to assume there will be no buses at all on that day.

The most bizarre feature of the festive season is First's plans for Wednesday 28th to Saturday 31st December. Rather than run a simple (or at worst modified/enhanced) Saturday service like the other operators, First have opted for a ludicrous mish-mash of weekday, Saturday and Sunday services to run on all four of those consecutive days, plus some routes will have a special timetable. If that isn't a recipe for confusion, I don't know what is. Of the routes that will be running to a special timetable on those days, their daytime frequencies will be as follows:

1/1A: Every 15 mins combined (30 mins on each route).
3: Every 15 mins.
8A: Every 30 mins.
9/9A: Every 30 mins.
10/10A: Every 12 mins combined (every 24 mins on each route).
12: Every 30 mins.

Apart from the 1A, each of those routes will be running less often than their normal Saturday service. Also notable are the routes that will have a Sunday service for five days in a row starting on the Bank Holiday Tuesday: 4, 7, 16 and 17/17A. Why have they decided to run particularly the 7 and 16 to a daytime frequency of just once an hour on those days? Bluestar will surely be rubbing their hands with glee as their 2 (running every 20 mins) covers most of the 7's route. No such luck for passengers on route 16, unless they live near a train station.

An early prediction for 2012: First 7 will be cut further and maybe even withdrawn.


  1. I can see that the 10 will confuse most people. Every 12 minutes - not the same every hour. Wouldn't have it made more sense to do the 10 at every 15 minutes instead - would be a little less confusing!

  2. The 17/17A won't be the same every hour either. Their Sunday service is a combined daytime frequency of every 20 minutes with each route running every 40 minutes. Bluestar 18 meanwhile will have a daytime frequency of every 7-8 mins on those same days.

  3. I can confirm that Velvet will be operating the A and C1 on New Year's Day, on Sunday timetables, by agreement with First and Xelabus. We have staff willing to work and a desire for our customers to be able to get around. Obviously we won't be getting any subsidy so financially it's all very marginal but I'm not too bothered just for the one day.

  4. And, of course, on New Year's Day, Winchester Broadway will be very well served with heritage buses. The Friends of King Alfred Buses will, once again, be hosting their annual Running Day. And Yes, unlike last year, it will be held on 1st January.

  5. I hope there will be an Oyster card for Southampton soon as both First and Bluestar have announced the arrival of their new card systems