Saturday, 10 December 2011

Ticket tricks: So'ton £4.50, Eastleigh £4.70 - All major operators all day

Prices updated 14th May 2014

There's a way to travel around Southampton on several operators' buses for less than the price of a Solent Travelcard (the official all-operator ticket at £8 a day). It's by using PlusBus. PlusBus is only available in conjunction with train tickets either to or from Central Station or Southampton Airport Parkway and costs £2.30 in addition to the rail ticket (Railcard discounts are also available on the PlusBus ticket). Even if you aren't using the train, it's worth knowing about, because the single train fare between Eastleigh and Southampton Airport Parkway is just £2.20. That's the lowest priced train ticket that is eligible for PlusBus in our region.

So for a total of £4.50 you can ride around on all buses (except for Brijan Tours and Wheelers routes) within the city boundary all day - much cheaper than two single-operator tickets or the Solent Travelcard. The only hitch is that to buy the ticket, you need to purchase it either from a staffed train station or in advance online (for example on South West Trains' website) and then collect it from the FastTicket machines at Central, Airport Parkway, Swaythling, St Denys, Bitterne, Woolston or Sholing stations.

Similarly for £4.70, you can have unlimited travel for the day across Eastleigh and Chandlers Ford on all operators except for Brijan Tours, Wheelers and Xelabus - click for details of the exact zone and boundary points. So if you need to use a Bluestar and a Velvet bus, this will almost certainly be cheaper than buying separate tickets. You'll need to buy a single train ticket from Southampton Airport Parkway to Eastleigh for £2.20 and the add-on Eastleigh and Chandlers Ford PlusBus ticket for £2.50. This can also be done in advance online and then collected in advance from any FastTicket machine, including the ones at Eastleigh and Chandlers Ford rail stations.

It's a ridiculous system where people are driven to buying superfluous train tickets in order to get a cheaper bus fare, but that's the system we have.


  1. Very well spotted !

  2. Certainly well spotted, but useless by any standards.

    For my job, I have to spend a lot of time driving around Southampton, and I have considered taking the bus, but cost wise it doesn't go far.

    The Solent travelcard is great, but I don't need to travel in Portsmouth or Fareham, since my work doesn't go that far. So for me, a Southampton only ticket would be ideal, and at the right price.

  3. Or for £4 you can go just about everywhere on a First bus in Southampton without faffing around buying a ticket online or finding a manned train station.

    This kind of ticket is ok in a city where buses are fragmented between several operators but in a city like Southampton one operator goes almost everywhere and where it doesn't go you can walk!

  4. Don't forget the First Night ticket @ just £3. All First Hampshire for £3 after 6pm. Though of course many routes don't run that late!

  5. First is about to announce a fare rise from Jan 2011.

    My ticket will cost 54pounds now ( soton monthly ) :-(

  6. The train fares go up too on 2nd January. The single between Eastleigh and So'ton Airport Parkway rises to £2, while it looks like PlusBus prices are unchanged. So using this trick will cost £4.30 for Southampton and £4.50 for Eastleigh.

    If you're just travelling in the City and can rely on First alone, then it is much easier to just buy a FirstDay. But if you need to get somewhere not so well served by First, for example Redbridge (without going through Shirley), Rownhams, the university or the airport, then PlusBus is worth thinking about as it gives you the freedom to also use Bluestar and Unilink for just an extra 30p compared to a FirstDay.

  7. One thing to remember as well:

    Technically you can not buy a bus ticket without a train ticket. Most online ticket providers won't do it and SWT staff *should* refuse without seeing a valid rail ticket.

  8. Does anyone know if I can get a bus from St Denys to Bitterne/West End at around 1030pm, I'm not from the area, so havent got a jar of glue!!! Thanks

  9. Hi anonymous, the best way would be to catch First 3 from St Denys to the Big Cheese roundabout, where you can change to First 8A for West End or the 8, 8A or 9 for Bitterne. has a journey planner that will give you exact details. If you don't already have a ticket, the FirstNight for £3 will cover your entire journey.

  10. Thanks soton bus, that should do it!!