Monday, 28 January 2013

Bluestar ticket changes

Bluestar are revamping their ticket range from Sunday 3rd February. The biggest change is to the zones in which their daily, weekly, 30 day and 90 day tickets are valid. Here's how the zones currently look:

Southampton City forms a zone and Eastleigh, Chandlers Ford and Hedge End form another zone. Those two zones and the rest of the network is the Solent zone, except beyond Ashurst on the 6 and beyond Testwood on Salisbury Reds X7, which is the Explorer or Network zone.

Here's how it looks from Sunday:

Gone is Eastleigh, Chandlers Ford and Hedge End's own zone, which becomes Southampton Plus, an extension of the Southampton City zone and also includes Totton. The rest is still left with the Network offering. So what does this mean for each area?:

Southampton City: Little change. Dayrider is up from £3.40 to £3.50. Weekly Southampton Freedom tickets are up from £12 to £13 (£11 on The Key). 30 day Southampton Freedom is up from £45 to £50 (£42 on The Key). 90 day Southampton Freedom stays at £115 (£105 on The Key). An annual ticket is available only on The Key for £349.

Eastleigh, Chandlers Ford and Hedge End: No longer their own zone, but an extension of Southampton's. Good if you're travelling into and out of the City, not so good if you usually remain in the old zone. Here's how the old and new fares compare:

Totton, Testwood and Calmore currently only have Network tickets, but from Sunday they'll also be part of the Southampton Plus zone, representing a cut in fares for passengers heading into the city:

The rest of the network has not such a good deal from the change. The Waterside, Romsey and Winchester are outside the new zones and still have nothing but the Network zone tickets:
A change that won't go unnoticed, especially on the Waterside, where First offer a day ticket which includes Southampton for £5.70. The Solent Travelcard (valid on all operators) at £7.50 will now be cheaper than a Bluestar-only day ticket.

How will this affect you? Let us know. Leave a comment.


  1. I think that yet again, Bluestar are pre-empting any further moves by First, with these changes. Reducing fares to Calmore etc makes a great deal of sense to promote loyalty, as this seems to be the biggest threat. They seem unconcerned by an attempt by First to further encroach on the waterside via the 9 route, as they already operate a brilliant frequency and seem to have it sown up looking at the number of pass holders travelling on that route. A driver recently told me that they often have days working their entire shift on that route, where they take less than forty pounds in cash! Most passengers paying cash will find a return ticket cheaper than the £7.50 travelcard offering, by the look of the announcements so far. The only scandal seems to be what they are doing with child fares, with 30% increases on single and return tickets, and a whopping 40% on child weekly tickets out there.... It seems very odd that a child can travel all the way from Thornhill to Millbrook for £1.30, yet one bus stop on the waterside will cost £1.70.

  2. regular_passenger29 January 2013 at 16:15

    I'm intrigued as to why Bluestar believe that having their all day ticket priced higher than the Solent Travelcard is sensible from the passengers perspective. I suppose there are journeys in the Salisbury and Lymington direction that are not within ST validity but equally there are journeys in the other direction eg to Havant which are. Are they expecting drivers to advise folk which ticket to buy? Given the average B* driver can barely manage a grunt to most passengers in my experience (Unilink drivers are much much better at this), this seems a tad optimistic!!

    Does the income from the Solent Travelcard get split between the participating operators or does the operator keep the receipts they take regardless of where the ticket gets used?


    1. I think the only reason for selling so many Dayrider tickets, was because the vast majority of buyers found them cheaper for simple longer distance return trips, not because they intended to travel on multiple services...

      Your comments about Bluestar drivers are very far wide of my own experiences. I have to admit that I dont travel on the 18 service, about which I have heard some negative driver comments, but in the main, I have always found Bluestar drivers very chatty and eager to help and certainly far better at this than their counterparts at First.

  3. The operator who sells the ticket keeps the revenue with Solent Travelcards. This could seriously undermine the multi operator Travelcard if Bluestar end up selling more tickets to passengers who end up spending all day riding on someone else's buses with no benefit to that operator.