Monday, 29 October 2012

Hedge Enders: a third option from Velvet

Velvet have announced that the A will extend from Hedge End to Southampton from Sunday 2nd December. The new section will be tagged on to the existing Eastleigh-Hedge End section. Velvet A will no longer serve Botley or Boorley Green, but they will be served by an extended Bluestar 3 from this Sunday.

This means that Hedge End to Southampton travellers now have a choice of three bus companies:
Bluestar 3 (once an hour weekday daytimes)
First 8/8A (4 per hour weekday daytimes)
Velvet A (every 30 mins weekday daytimes)

Velvet are yet to announce fares, but they must surely be preparing for some fierce competition from the larger operators. Their big advantage though is their route: direct via Thornhill Park Road and Northam. Bluestar 3 is about to be diverted via Peartree and Woolston and First 8/8A run via West End and Chartwell Green before getting to Bitterne.

The new timetable is here. Sundays will see a bizarre situation where Velvet will be running commercial As between town and Hedge End, while First will be running Hampshire-subsidised As between Hedge End and Eastleigh - and the two won't be timed to connect.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Clocks, diversions and imminent changes

Don't forget that the clocks go back this Saturday night/Sunday morning.

Part of Hinkler Road in Thornhill will be closed for two weeks from Monday 29th October due to resurfacing. This will mean diversions on Bluestar 18 and First 3.

Stoneham Lane will be partly closed in the daytimes next Monday to Thursday, so Bluestar 2 will divert via Stoneham Way. Stops between the Concorde Club and Bassett Green Road won't be served during those times.

Brijan 7 has a minor timetable change from 5th November. The 0746 journey from Waltham Chase to Southampton will run 10 minutes earlier throughout.

On the same date Stagecoach take over the running of Salisbury Reds 36, for which they have now released the timetable. Certain shoppers' services on Tuesdays and Thursdays are extended beyond Romsey to Winchester.

Also on 5th November, Xelabus X8 returns, this time running to Horton Heath.

Following Velvet's news that the Mon-Sat daytime journeys on the C1 and C2 will not run after 24th November, Xelabus have released details of their partial replacement, the X7.

Unilink are launching on-bus audio stop announcements on the U1.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Velvet: C is for Cuts - Hiltingbury left high and dry

Velvet have announced that they will be withdrawing the commercial Mon-Sat daytime service on routes C1 and C2 from Monday 26th November.

The routes had been subsidised until the October cuts of last year, after which Velvet stepped in to keep the services running. They say however that the services have become unviable. The evening and Sunday journeys on route C1 are still subsidised by Hampshire County Council and will continue to be operated by Velvet.

The rumours are that Xelabus will run a replacement service between Eastleigh and Fryern Hill, but this will leave Hiltingbury high and dry. Xelabus do not currently accept the Solent Travelcard or Plusbus tickets, so when they take over, Eastleigh's public transport will be severely fragmented.

More as we get it.

Friday, 19 October 2012

First Hythe timetables / Redbridge rerouted

Bluestar have advised that they will not be serving Redbridge Roundabout for at least a week while there are roadworks there. Routes affected are the 6, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12. First 10 and 11 and Salisbury Reds X7 will also be affected.

First have released the timetable for their H1 and H2 in Hythe, which take over from Bluestar's H1 and H2 on 5th November. They will run to the same route, plus an extra bit between Hythe and Applemore via Southampton Road and Claypits Lane. The extra section replaces the part of Bluestar 8 that will be withdrawn from the same date - all 8s will run via Hythe Hospital.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Above Bar closure

Part of Above Bar Street will be closed for two weeks from today affecting the bus stops at the Cenotaph (HD, HC, HA) and on Commercial Road (HF, HG, HE). Bluestar and Unilink have posted their diversion details, although some First routes are affected too, as is Velvet S2.

Two more confirmed changes from 5th November:
First H1 launches between Hythe and Applemore, replacing Bluestar H1 and H2.
Salisbury Reds 36 between Romsey and Lockerley transfers to Stagecoach.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Bluestar changes from 4th November

Bluestar have just announced some big changes to their routes taking effect from 4th November. We'll cover them in more detail nearer the time, but the main points are:

Bluestar 3 rerouted to serve Woolston and Peartree (instead of Northam - head-to head with First 2A) and extended from Botley to Boorley Green.

Bluestar 6 will have its Rushington short journeys cut but will have bigger buses to make up for it.

Bluestar 8 is getting paranoid after the launch of First 11 and suddenly now it's apparently profitable to run every half hour between town and Hythe with an hourly extension to Calshot. An hourly Sunday service will run. There will also be an evening service between town and Marchwood only.

Bluestar 9 will always run to Langley, leaving Fawley and Calshot to the newly extended 8. The Sunday daytime frequency is halved to hourly, but the new Sunday 8 will also be hourly so most of the Waterside will still have 2 buses an hour.

Bluestar 10 and 11 merged into one route (11) between town and West Totton, with three buses an hour Mon-Sat daytimes, all serving Morrisons.

Bluestar 12 up to three buses an hour Mon-Sat daytimes.

Bluestar H1, H2 and H3 are withdrawn as Hampshire County Council have decided to give the subsidy to First. It remains to be seen how these routes will run - Bluestar 8 extending to Calshot on a commercial basis means HCC are unlikely to pay for the H3 to continue.

Bluestar T3 and T4 will be two new routes between Totton and Cadnam, mopping up the abandoned sections of the 10 and 11.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Sunday services return to Marchwood / Other changes this weekend

A few big changes this weekend:

As of last night, Velvet N3 became the N8 and the route changed to serve Northam and Bitterne instead of St Denys and Bitterne Park. The N6 also got a new timetable. Both services have a new route through the city centre, starting from Leisure World. Look on Traveline for an exact map.

Tomorrow (Sunday), First 7 gets a new timetable, upping its frequency to 8 an hour weekday daytimes in order to counter the attack from Bluestar 16.

The big one tomorrow is the launch of First 11 and the return of Sunday buses to Marchwood. The route is the same as for the journeys on Bluestar 8 that run via Hythe Hospital. Bluestar will retaliate in the next few weeks and the rumour is that evening services will return. But that doesn't change the fact that until First decided to give it a go, Bluestar were not seriously interested in Marchwood and were perfectly happy to see the village isolated in the evenings and on Sundays while taking taxpayer handouts from Hampshire County Council for the Mon-Sat daytime service.

On Monday, First's Bitterne Hoppa B1/B2/B3 services are revamped with amended routes and new timetables.