Monday, 21 May 2012

Key partner discounts / Late exam buses on U6

Bluestar have unveiled a range of discounts that are available to users of The Key, their pre-pay smartcard.

Unilink U6 has some temporary extra late buses to/from the Oceanography Centre until 1st June to make it easier for students to travel to/from exams taking place there.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Waltham Chase diversions tomorrow

There's a last minute diversion tomorrow due to the closure for one day of Forest Road in Waltham Chase. All buses between Waltham Chase and Swanmore will have to divert. Stagecoach 69 will skip Swanmore and run direct between Waltham Chase and Bishops Waltham via Coppice Hill. Brijan Tours 8 and 17 are also affected, but they haven't said how they'll be diverting, so contact them before travelling.

Monday, 7 May 2012

18 up on Sundays / Velvet 46 timetable out

Bluestar have revealed that the change they're making to the 18 from 3rd July is an improvement in the Sunday daytime frequency from 3 to 4 buses an hour. We'll let you know as soon as they release the timetable.

Talking of new timetables, Velvet have released theirs for when they take over most of Stagecoach 46 on 11th June. See it here. Most journeys are amended by only a couple of minutes either way. The main thing to be aware of is that Stagecoach will still be running a couple of journeys on college days and they won't be accepting Velvet tickets, but Velvet (who are running the service under contract to Hampshire County Council) will be accepting Stagecoach returns. For a short while, Velvet will also be accepting some other Stagecoach tickets, but it's best to contact them before travelling to make sure which are valid.

First's complete revamp of their Southampton network has been attracting attention from bus industry watchers nationwide. You might be interested in Isle of Wight-based FatBusBloke's articles on the development of services to Millbrook, over at his Public Transport Experience blog.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

New First beds in & other stories

While First have been busy revamping their entire network, a few other things have been going on, so let's catch up...

Bluestar have delayed the fares increase for users of The Key smartcards until the end of May.

Velvet's delayed fares increase has now taken place. It came into effect on Monday.

Velvet E8 gets a new timetable from Monday 11th June. The main change is the introduction of a limited Sunday service, meaning Boyatt Wood will no longer be completely stranded on the Sabbath. Timetable here.

Stagecoach 46 is changing from Monday 11th June. Stagecoach themselves will only run these two journeys and only on Peter Symonds college days. All other journeys on the 46 will transfer to Velvet, who have yet to release their timetable.

Wilts & Dorset X7 is running on Sundays again as of this coming Sunday 6th May. Timetable here. This means that a Sunday (or bank holiday) out at Paulton's Park is now possible for those of us without a car.

Bluestar have registered a timetable change to the 18 as of Sunday 3rd June. Details to follow, but this could well be a response to First's huge improvement in the number of buses running to Millbrook.

Talking of First, there's a new FirstDay ticket available covering only inner parts of Southampton, but curiously stretching out to Millbrook and Thornhill (where Bluestar 18 runs). It's £3.20 and is valid in the shaded area of this map. A FirstDay for the whole city is still £4. Interesting that Swaythling and Bassett Green miss out on the new cheaper ticket. With their evening First service having been axed, I think it's realistic to predict that First might not still be serving those areas in a year's time.

First have had a few teething problems with their new network. Many posters to their Facebook page report incorrect bus stop flags and some drivers struggling to remember the new routes. Also not encouraging is the fact that on this page of their website, you can still download a timetable booklet of their old network, which no longer runs (Ignore that bit - I was using Google Chrome with an uncleared cache!) It has to be said though, that for all the changes, most areas are left with a more frequent service and a longer list of places to get to without having to change bus. Millbrook and Hedge End in particular have benefited from the revamp. Let's see how Bluestar retaliate, because surely they must.