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.


  1. Good luck to both companies. Especially Xelabus, I can't quite see how the service will succeed, but I looking forward to finding out how.

  2. According to the Velvet twitter page dated the 13th May 2012. Conversation between Alice Fraser and Velvet says all Stagecoach passes will be accepted
    on the 46 Bus route until the end of the summer term. What happens after that is a good question.


    Personally I am disappointed to see Velvet get the 46 contract. Once when the college closed without warning Stagecoach thought nothing of picking me up
    on route in a double decker and taking me the six miles home. I have never had any other bus company including Velvet provide such a dedicated service as
    Stagecoach did that day.

    1. Stagecoach are hoping to keep the Peter Symonds trade, with their two journeys each way specially timed for students and diverted past the college.

    2. One thing is for certain the Stagecoach 9.07
      term time bus from Hoe Lane has proved to be
      very popular, with both the students and the
      older members of the public. When it was
      explained to the older passengers on the 1st
      June, that the bus would now go past the college and not directly past the hospital, still ending up at the bus station, it seemed to go down quite well with them.

    3. A man with a van is currently touring
      Valley Park changing the 46 timetables
      for new ones, which show both the Velvet
      and Stagecoach buses from the 11th June.

      The new timetable also states that day
      return Stagecoach tickets will be accepted
      by Velvet permanently, while Stagecoach
      passes and season tickets will be accepted
      by Velvet up to 31st July 2012.

    4. That'll be Velvet then - they do look at the broader picture and are happy to mention Stagecoach's journeys on their publicity.

      The Peter Symonds services operated by Stagecoach are being completely revised from September to try and encourage even more students to use the bus, including a much better stopping arrangement at the college with space inside the college grounds for 4 buses

    5. That’s good. The students tell me that the
      college increased its intake last September
      by 500 from 2000 to 2500 so as to help
      compensate for THEIR cut backs in funding by
      H.C.C. Hopefully the college will increase
      its intake again this September.

      There is no doubt that under Stagecoach
      all the different groups of passengers
      who make up the 46/546 route have been
      gently supporting each other so as to help
      keep this route going.

      The more 46/546 buses Stagecoach can
      put on from the bus station via the college
      for both the older public and the
      students the better.

      The students often say they are grateful to
      the public and wished more members of
      the public would use the 46/546 so that more
      buses could be laid on.

      The members of the public often say how
      grateful they are to the students for being

      There is no doubt that the widely spaced
      timetable puts off both members of the public
      and students alike from using the 46/546.
      Once either party HAS used the route they
      suddenly realise just how useful the 46/546 is.

      H.C.C. have a lot to answer for over the last
      few years!!!

  3. I have just studied the XelaBus X9 timetable and have decided that they are using a tardis or some other time machine. The first morning journey from Eastleigh to Fair Oak, via Allbrook and Colden Common, gets 10 minutes. That means for sure that the return journey into Eastleigh will run at least 10 minutes late. Likewise in the evening, the last journey back gets an incredible 9 minutes. You wouldn't do that at 3am following the route given and keeping to the speed limits!

    I wouldn't be surprised if Xela haven't advertised these as they're not actually intending to actually run them . . .

    1. The X8 and X9 timetable which has appeared on the XelaBus website shows the first and last journeys as running direct - obviously Traveline have got it wrong !!!

      Looks much more practical, so I hope it works for them.

    2. Funny how most of their journeys seem to be just that few minutes ahead of Brijan service 8. Now if Xelabus were passenger friendly they'd spread their journeys so that the "whole shared route" has a better frequency. Hmm... obviously not passenger friendly. More interested in making a quick buck then I see by possibly poaching Brijan's passengers. Still that's the free market!