Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Xela to fill Eastleigh's gaps

Xelabus are about to launch two new routes:

From 10th January, the X4 runs every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday between Fair Oak and Nightingale Avenue as per the Bluestar 2 route, but then turning right on Chestnut Avenue to terminate at Asda. the route is part funded by Asda and anyone who says that's where they are going travels for free. On the days of operation there are three journeys towards Asda and four going back the other way. Spot the grammar error from their online timetable:

From 16th January, Valley Park gets its link to Eastleigh back and Boyatt Wood gets a direct bus to Asda with Xelabus X5. Timetable here. It will run about hourly Mondays to Saturday daytimes to the following route marked in yellow:

It's not clear if the X5 is being supported by Asda or not, but either way Xelabus are to be congratulated for filling in a couple of major gaps in Eastleigh's bus network. Looking at ticketing, it doesn't look like Xela accept Plusbus or the Solent Travelcard, so some room for improvement there.


  1. The X4 has been running on those 3 days a week for many months now.

    The X5 timetable looks very ambitious to me - and there's the anomoly that Robin Square is only shown in one direction - so does it go there in the outbound direction? Why the two timetable grids for what appears to be the same route?

    Although I'd like to think that this service could be a commercial success, somehow I have my doubts.

    To me, the biggest gap in the market locally is any form of service from Valley Park and Hiltingbury towards Southapton - the old 45 used to be half hourly all day and was really busy in the peaks. It is a long walk from Hiltingbury to the route of the BlueStar 1 or to Chandlers Ford ststion - there must surely still be a market there?

  2. I think what's new with the X4 is that it will now be registered as a commercial bus service, meaning that people not going to Asda will be able to use it, as long as they pay a fare. Previously it wasn't registered (unless I am mistaken), meaning that no fares could be taken. As it was funded by Asda, anyone wanting to go elsewhere on the route would have been told to wait for the Bluestar.

    The format of the X5 timetable is indeed strange. It will serve Robin Square in both directions - Traveline's pdf timetable (with full stop listings) confirms that. I agree that it is ambitious, but it's more likely to succeed than the old X12 which was competing head on with Bluestar and the train. I've a feeling that the frequency might eventually need to be cut to make it viable, but hopefully it will have a long term future.

    Agreed about Hiltingbury. But I'm sure Bluestar will have already looked into it and probably decided that it's a non-starter. Although if anyone else tries to make it work, we could probably count on Bluestar to bring the Beep Bus back in order to see off the competition, before withdrawing it as soon as they give up.

  3. The X4 has not been registered until now, but they have never made it a requirement to travel to or from ASDA. The service has been understandably popular with those travelling locally between Fair Oak, Bishopstoke and Eastleigh!

    Re Solent Travelcard - watch this space!

  4. I may be wrong, but I think free buses don't qualify for BSOG,so by charging fares they can now claim it. I know of some other operators who run shopper buses, but charge fares for 'short' journeys to gain this benefit.Who will police the charging of fares though...everyone's going to Asda aren't they ??