Monday, 26 March 2012

New First network: routes 2, 2A and X2 analysed

The old 17/17A are replaced by new 2/2A with a couple of changes. As Adanac Park, currently served by old 17, will be served by new 1, new 2 will run from Lordshill via Rownhams Road to Maybush Corner, where it will join new 2A to cover more of Millbrook than old 17 did. New 2A itself will run from Lordshill via Aldermoor Road, replacing old 10. Old 17A goes via Lords Hill Way, which will be covered by new 3. From Aldermoor, new 2A is the same as old 17A all the way into town.

First of all, let's compare old 10 and new 2A along Aldermoor Road:
Aldermoor Road is losing all of its evening buses, with nothing running there after 2000. The Sunday frequency is improved from every 40 minutes to an easier-to-remember half-hourly. Buses will start earlier each morning, but the journey time to town via Millbrook is 12 minutes slower than the old 10 route via Shirley Warren.

Next, how does the new 2A measure up against old 17A between Aldermoor and town?:
Here too, evening buses are cut - the evening service will run only on new 2, not serving the General Hospital or Aldermoor. The current Mon-Sat evening frequency on old 17A is half-hourly before 2100 and hourly after that. On the plus side, the Sunday daytime frequency goes up to half-hourly instead of the current 40 minutes.

New 2 and 2A join forces at Maybush Corner for the run around Millbrook and then to Shirley and town. Combined, they will run every 10 minutes Mon-Sat daytimes, which is less than now (old 17/17A run 8 buses an hour weekday daytimes), but First have a new weapon to wield against Bluestar 18: the new X2.

New X2 will run round Millbrook anti-clockwise from Wimpson Lane, round Windermere Avenue and Kendal Avenue, back to Wimpson Lane, then down to Millbrook Roundabout and along Millbrook Road to Central Station and town. Journey time will be around 20 minutes, compared to 25-30 mins on the new 2/2A or Bluestar 18. New X2 will run at least every 10 minutes Mon-Sat daytimes and hourly on Sundays, albeit with no evening service. Millbrook will have a First bus to town about every 5 minutes Mon-Sat daytimes, compared to every 7/8 mins on Bluestar 18. This could get very interesting.

So here is how the 2/2A/X2 combo will compare to the current 17/17A from Millbrook:
A huge improvement. The only negative being the last bus from town on Mon-Sats will leave 3 minutes earlier than it currently does.

New X2 terminates in town, but 2 and 2A split and continue via Woolston to East of the Itchen.

New 2 will run from town to Townhill Park via Merry Oak, as per old 8. Here's how the timetables compare:
The Sunday daytime frequency is doubled. Last buses are later every day, but the first bus is also later Mon-Sats.

New 2A will run from Woolston via Peartree Avenue to Bitterne as per old 8A, before continuing to Hightown as per old 9. How will things change for Peartree?:
Sunday evening buses are back in Peartree! The last bus on Mon-Sat evenings is however 49 minutes earlier than it is now.

Old 9A serves Chessel Avenue in the daytimes and that part of the route is being withdrawn. Old 9/9A will be replaced between Bitterne and Hightown via Harefield by new 2A. Here's how they compare:
The journey will take 2 minutes longer on new 2A via Woolston than on old 9 via Northam. The Sunday timetable is better overall, but all Sunday buses will terminate at Fairfax Court in Thornhill (marked F above), leaving Hightown to Bluestar. Mon-Sat evening journeys will also terminate at Fairfax as before, with the last bus to Hightown about half an hour earlier than now.

This all takes effect on Sunday 29th April. All of First's new timetables are here. They've been very good at answering passengers' questions regarding the new routes on their Facebook page.

Next: New 3...

1 comment:

  1. Excellent summaries, looking forward to reading the rest!