Tuesday, 31 December 2013

New Year's Day bus services

We have buses this New Year's Day, for the first time in several years!

BluestarSpecial timetable on routes 1, 2, 4, 9, 12, 16 and 18 only. No service on other routes.
Brijan Tours: No service.
FirstSpecial timetable on routes 2, 3, 7 and 11 only. No service on other routes.
More: No services in our region.
Salisbury RedsNo services in our region.
Stagecoach: No service.
Unilink: No service.
Velvet: Sunday service on routes A (between Southampton and Hedge End only), E8 and X7.
WheelersNo service
XelabusNo service

Here are the special timetables for New Year's Day only:



Velvet A:

Velvet E8:

Monday, 30 December 2013

New Year's Eve bus services

Here's how our region's bus services look for New Year's Eve:

Bluestar: Normal Tuesday service plus night buses.
Brijan Tours: Normal Tuesday service.
First: Saturday service with an early finish at about 2000, except for routes 10, B1, B2, B3, H1 & H2, which will have a weekday service.
MoreNormal Tuesday service on routes in our region.
Salisbury RedsNormal Tuesday service on routes in our region.
Stagecoach: Saturday service, except route 46 which will have a Tuesday service.
Unilink: Vacation Saturday service with early finish at about 2100. Weekday service on route U9.
VelvetNormal Tuesday service plus night buses.
WheelersNormal Tuesday service.
XelabusNormal Tuesday service.

For those routes that are finishing early, here are the times of the last buses:



Sunday, 29 December 2013

Monday's bus service levels

Here's how our region's buses will be running on Monday 30th December:

Bluestar: Normal Monday service.
Brijan Tours: Normal Monday service.
First: Saturday service, except for routes 10, B1, B2, B3, H1 & H2, which will have a Monday service.
More: Normal Monday service on routes in our region.
Salisbury RedsNormal Monday service on routes in our region.
Stagecoach: Saturday service except route 46 which will have a Monday service and route 36 which will not run.
Unilink: Vacation Saturday service on all routes except U9, which will have a weekday service.
Velvet: Normal Monday service.
WheelersNormal Monday service.
XelabusNormal Monday service.

Friday, 27 December 2013

Normal service this weekend

Nothing special this weekend. There will be a normal Saturday service on Saturday and a normal Sunday service on Sunday from all operators.

Click here to see how next week's bus services look.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Bus services on Friday 27th December

Here's how our region's buses will be running on Friday 27th December 2013:

Bluestar: Normal Friday service including night buses.
Brijan Tours: Normal Friday service.
First: Saturday service, except for routes 10, B1, B2, B3, H1 & H2, which will have a Friday service.
More: Normal Friday service on routes in our region.
Salisbury RedsNormal Friday service on routes in our region.
Stagecoach: Saturday service except route 46 which will have a Friday service and route 36 which will not run.
Unilink: Vacation Saturday service on all routes except U9, which will have a weekday service.
Velvet: Normal Friday service including night buses.
WheelersNormal Friday service.
XelabusNormal Friday service.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Boxing Day bus services

Happy Christmas from all at Southampton Bus Update!

More buses will be running in our region than ever before on Boxing Day. Here's a summary:

BluestarSpecial timetable on routes 1, 2, 4, 9, 12, 16 and 18 only. No service on other routes.
Brijan Tours: No service.
FirstSpecial timetable on routes 2, 3, 7 and 11 only. No service on other routes.
More: No services in our region.
Salisbury RedsNo services in our region.
Stagecoach: No service.
Unilink: No service.
Velvet: Sunday service on routes A (between Southampton and Hedge End only), E8 and X7.
WheelersNo service
XelabusNo service

Here are those elusive timetables themselves:



Velvet A:

Velvet E8:

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

No buses on Christmas Day

None of our local operators will be running any buses on Christmas Day.

If you get bored, why not take a look at our sister blogs?:

Great British Bus Routes

British Bus Bugle

Monday, 23 December 2013

Christmas Eve bus services

Bluestar: Full normal Tuesday service.
Brijan Tours: Normal Tuesday service.
First: Tuesday service with early finish at about 2000.
MoreNormal Tuesday service.
Salisbury RedsNormal Tuesday service.
StagecoachNormal Tuesday service.
Unilink: Vacation Saturday service with early finish at about 2100. Weekday service on route U9.
Velvet: Full normal Tuesday service.
Wheelers: Normal Tuesday service.
Xelabus: Normal Tuesday service.

Last bus times on First:

Last bus times on Unilink:

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

S1 returns to Lordshill North & partially replaces First 10

Part of the gap left by the withdrawal of First 10 will be filled by an extended Velvet S1 from 6th January. It will have some extra peak hour journeys running via Central Station instead of Polygon and extending to Lordshill North, which has been left with only the infrequent Stagecoach 46 since the S1 was withdrawn from there at the end of June. It will however no longer serve the RSH Hospital, leaving it with no direct buses to the door.

The S1 is possibly the most tampered-with bus service in Southampton of recent times. I should stress that this is down to Southampton City Council, who subsidise it and therefore decide on the route, timetable and operator. Let's take a look at all of the changes it's had in recent years:

  • 12th June 2011: Operated by First as route 21. Route and timetable change. No longer serves Nursling or Hillyfields.
  • 4th December 2011: Minor changes. More journeys to Lordshill North replacing route 5 which no longer runs there.
  • 29th April 2012: Renumbered S1. Minor route change between City Centre and RSH Hospital.
  • 30th June 2013: Major route change. No longer serves Lordshill North or RSH Hospital.
  • 14th October 2013: Transfers from First to Velvet. More route changes. Serves RSH Hospital again.
  • 6th January 2014: More route & time changes. Serves Lordshill North again, but no longer serves RSH Hospital.

Monday, 16 December 2013

First 10 saved... for three days.

The headline on First's website makes it look like they're running an additional seasonal special service between Christmas and New Year:

But a closer look reveals that this extra service is actually the soon to be axed route 10 running to its bog standard weekday timetable. First had decided to run a mainly Saturday service on Friday 27th, Monday 30th and Tuesday 31st December, which would have meant no service on the 10 at all. Now Southampton City Council has bunged a subsidy of taxpayers' cash to First, it will run after all, even though First are planning to withdraw the route altogether from 5th January.

It does raise the question: If the council think the 10 is worth subsidising on those three days, will they maybe step in and save it in the longer term? If they do, will it necessarily be First who get the contract or could we see the route go to someone else? In terms of network benefits for the passenger travelling from Totton and the Waterside, Bluestar would be ideal, but since when are council contracts decided based on what's best for the passenger?

In other news, First are bring the old Citybus red back on route 3 which is being rebranded as "the three". Experimental buses in old (i.e. pre-First) colours have already gone down well in the other parts of the country. It will certainly be good to see First making an effort to appear more local.

First are also investing in some brand new buses for the 1.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Boxing Day bonanza / Council cuts criticism

All of our local bus companies have now said what their service levels will be over Christmas and the New Year. We've compiled the full details here.

The biggest surprise is that more routes will be running on Boxing Day than ever before.

  • Bluestar will be running a skeleton service on routes 1, 2, 4, 9, 12, 16 and 18 as per last year.
  • Velvet will be running a full Sunday service on the A between Southampton and Hedge End. Their website says it's a full Sunday service, which means the E8 and X7 too, but that almost seems too good to be true.
  • First will be running a Boxing Day service too, with a skeleton service on routes 2, 3, 7 and 11.

No buses ran on New Year's Day 2013 in Southampton, but that changes for 2014: Bluestar, First and Velvet will be running the same service as on Boxing Day.

Full details of all buses in our region over the festive period here.

In other news, the Campaign for Better Transport has today received a lot of coverage for this report, which rings a warning bell about the number of councils cutting their support for bus services. Southampton City Council comes in for particular criticism for cutting its bus budget by 42% this year. In the rest of England and Wales, only Milton Keynes and Shropshire are making bigger cuts in 2013/14.

Don't forget there are two types of bus service in England (outside London), Wales and Scotland: commercial routes over which the operators have full control; and subsidised routes operated under contract to councils that are designed to fill in the gaps in the commercial network. It is the subsidised routes that the CBT report focuses on. The figures for our city suggest that more cuts are to come our way.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

First axes 10 / Ocean Village diversion

First have confirmed some changes from 5th January which include the axing of route 10. For the first time in decades, Totton will have no direct link to Shirley and the General Hospital. Upper Shirley and Bellemoor will also lose a link. First will run a couple of journeys a day between Tauntons College and the City Centre, but they will only be useful for students. Also affected are the following routes:

  • 7: New timetable and it will terminate at West Quay, no longer serving Pound Tree Road.
  • 11: New timeable, weekday daytime frequency increased to 7/8 mins.
  • 12: Will run via Peartree instead of Merry Oak.
  • 13: Will run via Merry Oak instead of Peartree and will now terminate at the South side of Central Station.

Roadworks are going to continue for some time between Ocean Village and Itchen Bridge. Bluestar and First explain their diversions.

Wheelers W1 has had a couple of journeys retimed. Details here.

And finally, Bluestar are targetting pensioners on routes where they compete with other operators by offering them a loyalty card. If they make 30 journeys in a month, they'll be eligible to enter a monthly prize draw to win shopping vouchers. Pensioners of course don't pay for their bus travel, but each time they use their passes, the local councils that issue the passes pay a fee to the bus operators, so Bluestar can get more money from the councils by tempting pensioners to switch to them.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Wheelers timetable confusion / Bishopstoke diversion

Wheelers' new routes started yesterday, but as a commenter to the last post mentioned, there has been some confusion over the timetable for the W2. The one originally published on Traveline and republished in good faith by this blog was incorrect. Here's the correct one:

In fairness, it looks like Wheelers themselves never linked to the incorrect timetable, although it has to be presumed that they provided it to Traveline in the first place. Once they mentioned the W2 and the other new routes on their website, Wheelers featured links to the correct timetable on Traveline. The moral of this story is: Always check with the bus operator rather than relying solely on Traveline, especially if you last checked it more than a few days before you intend to travel. Links to the websites of all our local bus companies can be found in the right hand panel on this page.

The times in our previous post for the W3 and W5 are correct.

In other news, Bluestar 2 will be diverting in Bishopstoke for about 2 months from this Friday. Details here.

Friday, 15 November 2013

New routes launch Monday

Don't forget Wheelers' new routes launch on Monday. There are new direct routes from Southampton City Centre to Hill Lane, Valley Park, Hiltingbury, Boyatt Wood and Eastleigh as well as a route from Stockbridge to Romsey.

Full details including timetables and route maps in this post.

We wish them the best of luck.

Monday, 4 November 2013

First 3 more often on Sundays / Where's Kendall Avenue?

First 3 gets a new timetable from 24th November. The only real change is an increase in the Sunday daytime frequency from half-hourly to every 20 minutes - a gradual trend we've seen on many of our city's bus routes as Sundays become more popular for shopping and leisure. See the new timetable on either First's website or at Traveline. There's also a minor route change: journeys towards Thornhill will continue to run via Canute Road before crossing Itchen Bridge, but coming in from Thornhill they will use Central Bridge.

There are a few diversions about in Millbrook, Midanbury and West End. This batch highlights how the different local bus operators handle diversions. Bluestar and Velvet are usually very good at publicising them in good time, the other operators less so. All three of these diversions will also be affecting First routes, but there's nothing on First's website about them. To give them their due, they do mention some of them on Twitter but surely their own website ought to be the primary channel of communication.

I've noticed an increasing trend lately for Bluestar to include at least one typo, spelling mistake or grammar error in each diversion notice they give. Look at the current Millbrook one, which mentions "Kendall Avenue". We can't complain too much because at least they are telling us about the diversions, but some basic competence in the English language wouldn't do their public image any harm. The road isn't named after an obnoxious orange reality TV 'sleb', but the beautiful town of Kendal in Cumbria, which is well worth a visit.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Chapel correction & other diversions

Chapel is still being served by First 5, contrary to the last post. Apologies for any confusion caused. I blame the vague description on First's website:

To help make sense of it, look at the map. Saltmarsh Road and Canute Road could be interpreted as travelling towards Queens Park as per the other Woolston routes. But what is actually meant is this:

The usual route is in blue and the diversion is in green. OK, it does serve Saltmarsh Road but then it turns left heading into town onto Canute Road (all other routes turn right). First forgot to mention that it continues onto Endle Street before turning right onto Albert Road North and resuming its usual route. Thanks to PAC, whose comment on the last post pointed me in the right direction!

Other diversions are in operation in Thornhill, the top end of Swaythling, Fair Oak and ... what's this? According to Bluestar, Saltmarsh Road is closed for a few days so all of their Woolston buses (that'll be the 3) are running via Central Bridge. Anyone know what First 5 has been doing there since Monday?

Thursday, 24 October 2013

No buses through Chapel until May?

CORRECTION: This post is incorrect. See this more recent one for the actual route being taken by First 5.

First have advised of a long-term diversion to their 5. Albert Road North is closed for roadworks until May 2014, so the 5 will run via Ocean Village, the same way as First's other Woolston routes.

Here's how the 5 currently runs (inbound) and will do again once these shenanigans are done:

While the work is on, this is where it will stop heading out of town towards Sholing:

Ignore Vincent's Walk, it'll probably still use its usual stop (BP) at West Quay.

...and heading into town from Sholing:

Again, ignore Vincent's Walk, it's stop CE on Pound Tree Road you need for Bassett Green.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Boyatt Wood & Hiltingbury get direct links to Southampton

Wheelers have revealed the full details of their new routes launching 18th November via Traveline. Here are the details:

W2 will provide a direct link between Southampton and Hiltingbury via Central Station, Hill Lane, Bassett and Valley Park. Rather than direct competition for Bluestar 1, this restores some direct links that were lost years ago. It will only run hourly weekday daytimes between the peaks for now, but hopefully it will expand in the future. Here is the route map, timetable and stop listing:

EDIT: the W2 timetable originally published here and on Traveline was incorrect. This is the correct one:

W3 will provide a link from Eastleigh Bus Station to Boyatt Wood then via Fleming Park to Parkway Station, down Wide Lane, along Wessex Lane then through Portswood and Bevois Valley to the City Centre. Again it'll initially only be hourly between the peaks on weekdays. Here are the route maps, timetable and stop lists:

This timetable starts from 18th November 2013:

W4 is a once-per-weekday link between Winchester and Salisbury, just outside our coverage patch.

W5 will provide one journey a day between Romsey and Stockbridge, designed for people from Stockbridge and Kings Sombourne to visit Romsey for a couple of hours. Here are the route map and timetable:

 This timetable starts on 18th November:

To see a full stop listing for the W5, visit Traveline, search for the W5, open the pdf timetable and scroll to the last page. Stop listings for all bus routes not just in our region, but across the South and the Midlands can be found in the same way.

Rather than unnecessary duplication, these routes open genuinely new links, particularly between central Southampton and Boyatt Wood, Valley Park and Hiltingbury. Those three in particular are served during the same hours by Xelabus services to Eastleigh. Wheelers could be making a good gamble that people in those areas are more likely to choose the bus if it goes right into the city rather than only to Eastleigh. Time will tell whether they are successful enough to extend their operating hours. We wish them the best of luck.

In other news, First have cut the price of a Family FirstDay Hampshire to £10 for the duration of the half term holiday. It's normally £13.50 but will be at the lower price until 2nd November. To get the best value out of it, take the sprogs on the X4 for a day out with our dear neighbours in Portsmouth, who don't rub it in our faces at all that they have a gleaming tower on the waterfront and we don't.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Velvet route changes from Monday

Most of Velvet's routes get new timetables from Monday. See the full details on their website.

The biggest change is to the S1, which Velvet take over from First, and the S2, both of which have a change of route and timetable.

See the new S1 route here and see a full stop listing and timetable here.

See the new S2 route here and a full stop listing and timetable here.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Wheelers expands

Wheelers have announced some new routes starting 18th November. Full details of the routes are yet to be announced, but here is what we know:

  • W2: Competition for Bluestar 1 between Chandlers Ford and Southampton via Bassett.
  • W3: Competition for Bluestar 2 between Eastleigh and Southampton via Portswood.
  • W4: New route between Winchester and Salisbury via Stockbridge, just outside this blog's patch.
  • W5: New route between Romsey and Stockbridge. Possibly just a school run.

More as we get it. While we wish them well, if the W2 and W3 in particular are mere duplications of Bluestar routes, then it's only a matter of time before Bluestar retaliate. Assuming that is, they're not pre-occupied with the war on First currently in full swing in Millbrook and Townhill Park. One can't help thinking that the Swaythling corridor in particular is already rather crowded with First and Unilink already running alongside Bluestar. If the W3 is going to run fast along the A335 between Portswood and Eastleigh, it might have a chance, but then again Velvet have already tried that and found out that the train is the established quick choice for Eastleigh folk heading to Southampton.

Google Blogger haven't sorted out their bugs, so the panel that was on the right, which I can no longer update, has to go. Instead, it'll appear on a separate page accessible from a link at the top of the panel on the right.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Totton diversions / First 3 to change

First 3 gets a new timetable from 24th November. I can't add it to the panel on the right due to an error with Google Blogger. Hopefully they'll have it sorted out soon otherwise I'll have to remove the panel.

There are diversions to routes through Totton after 2000 each night until 12th October. Bluestar 8 and 12 will be affected. Bluestar mention the 11 too but it doesn't run after 2000 so will not be affected.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Velvet changes / Central Station diversions / Special ticket offers

Velvet have announced minor changes to just about all of their routes in our region from Monday 14th October:
Click here for the new timetables on Velvet's website. The biggest change is that Hiltingbury will be cut off from public transport on Sundays.

For three weeks from next Monday, West Park Road and Blechynden Terrace will be partially closed, so all westbound buses serving the north side of Central Station will have to divert. Bluestar have advised that they will divert via the Mayflower Theatre-bit of Commercial Road. First haven't said what they'll be doing.

Bluestar 16 is now more or less head-to-head with First 7 to Townhill Park. First are fighting back with a special £10 FirstWeek ticket valid only on the 7. The standard FirstWeek Southampton is £17. A Bluestar Southampton weekly ticket is £13 and you're not limited to just the 16, plus it's also valid on Unilink.

Bluestar have introduced a special £5 off-peak day ticket valid only on route 1 to Winchester to celebrate some brand new buses on that route. The offer is on until Christmas Eve.

If you have any comments about Bluestar 2 and don't want the convenience of phoning or e-mailing them, then you can go and chat to a real human from Bluestar on 4th October between 1000 and 1500 "outside Sainsbury's", or at Eastleigh Bus Station as bus people used to refer to that location.

Phil from Xelabus has revealed in a comment to a previous post on this blog that the new Xelabus website will have full information on fares for any journey with Xelabus. A big step forward! When that happens, it will leave First, Stagecoach and Brijan Tours as the only local operators to think you don't have a right to know how much any single and return fares cost. Bluestar, More and Salisbury Reds needn't look so smug either - they give some sample fares for key routes, but not every possible fare. The shining beacons for letting you know how much you need to pay before you travel are Unilink, Velvet and Wheelers.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Are they still running?

Changes were due to Xelabus's Eastleigh routes today. So which timetables are valid? A look on Xela's website give you this:

...meanwhile a look on Traveline's timetable search, filtering for Eastleigh, gives you this:

So, the X7 definitely has a new timetable, which is only available from Traveline. The X1 should have a new timetable, but Traveline still shows the old one as being current. The X2 seems to have disappeared altogther. The X4 should have been renumbered the X3, but instead that has disappeared too.

Xelabus are clearly passionate about what they do, but I do wish they would put a similar amount of passion into telling potential passengers where and when their buses run!

Bluestar and Unilink have now released the full timetables for all of their routes affected by the changes on 22nd September. See two posts ago for details.