Friday, 15 June 2012

Fathers' Day offer / Summer Solstice shuttle

Above Bar Street and Pound Tree Road in town are being resurfaced, meaning diversions to several First and Bluestar routes. It all happens on Sun-Thurs evenings from this Sunday 17th June to Monday 25th June inclusive. Bluestar detail their diversions here.

Bluestar have a special offer to celebrate Fathers' Day this Sunday. Dads get to travel free as long as they are accompanied by a fare paying child! The offer only applies within the Southampton City boundary however, so no such luck for dads outside the city.

The summer solstice isn't far off now. Anyone who fancies heading to Stonehenge for the night of Wednesday 20th June should check out Wilts & Dorset's all-night shuttle service between Salisbury train station and Stonehenge. As well as the train to Salisbury, you can also use W&D X7 from Southampton or W&D 34 from Romsey, but of course the trains run later.

Xelabus have realised that they've launched the X8 between Eastleigh and Marwell Zoo and have finally published the timetable on their website. The rush hour journeys to/from Fair Oak are made a bit clearer on there than they appear on the Traveline timetables, which get the route incorrect for a couple of journeys.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

The rise of Velvet and Xelabus

The following changes are coming up next Monday 11th June:

New timetables on Velvet A, C1 and C2 with only minor changes.

Velvet E8 gets a new timetable and the route is reversed, so it will serve Twyford Road first and then Boyatt Wood. This means that anyone wanting to travel from Boyatt Wood into Eastleigh can use the same stops for the E8 as they do for the E1 and E2 in the daytimes. A Sunday service is introduced too, every 2 hours in the daytime, but it's better than nothing.

Stagecoach 46 is almost completely transferring to Velvet. Here's the new timetable showing all buses on the route by both companies. Velvet will be accepting some Stagecoach tickets (check before travelling though to make sure) but the reverse is not true, so make sure you know which company will be running your planned return journey. Solent Travelcard will of course be valid on all journeys.

Xelabus are launching two new routes: the X8 and X9. The X8 will run as per Brijan 8 from Eastleigh, through Colden Common as far as Fishers Pond, where it will then turn left and serve Marwell Zoo. It only runs Mon-Sats (excluding bank holidays) so fills in the gaps when Velvet M isn't running. On Saturdays, you will have a choice of both Xelabus X8 and Velvet M between Eastleigh and Marwell Zoo, but bear in mind that Xelabus do not accept the Solent Travelcard, so unless you're starting your journey in Eastleigh, Velvet is the one to connect to. Here's the X8 timetable. It's basically an hourly daytime service.

Xelabus X9 will run the same route between Eastleigh and Fishers Pond. Instead of serving Marwell Zoo though, it will continue via Sandy Lane to Fair Oak Square. Looking at the timetable, it's less frequent, providing a Mon-Sat rush hour service only. One does wonder how many passengers Xelabus wants to attract: I only found out about these services via VOSA (where bus companies have to register their services in advance) and on Traveline. No mention on Xela's own website at all.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Jubilee diversions / New timetables on 18, E1 & E2

It's Jubilee weekend and that means 4 days off for most of us. There are a few changes to be aware of too:

On Sunday afternoon, an Orange Order parade will take place in central Southampton. The parade itself will last from 1330 to 1530, but delays to buses might last a bit longer than that.

Also on Sunday, Botley's roads will be closed for most of the day for a Jubilee party. from 9am to 6pm Bluestar 3 will therefore be terminating at Maypole Roundabout and will not serve Botley itself.

There are some timetable changes from Sunday. Bluestar 18 gets a new 15-minute Sunday daytime frequency. The pdf timetable on Bluestar's website is still the old one, so here's the new one, courtesy of Traveline:

On Monday, it's Fair Oak's turn to be closed by a Jubilee street party. It will only affect the Square between 1130 and 1630. Bluestar 2 will divert via Eastleigh Road. Velvet M will also have to divert, presumably via the same route.

Don't forget that Monday and Tuesday are bank holidays. That means it's Sunday service on all bus routes in our region.

From Wednesday, Bluestar E1 and E2 get a new timetable. Again, don't rely on the pdf timetables on Bluestar's website - they are old ones which are no longer up to date. Use these: E1, E2.

From Monday 11th June, Velvet have timetable changes on routes A, C1, C2 and E8. They also take over the running of most journeys on route 46 from Stagecoach. Please note though that the planned extension of some journeys on Velvet A to Portsmouth has been scrapped for now. More on those next week.