Monday, 29 April 2013

Velvet fare changes / Hedge End diversion

Some fares on Velvet go up today. You can find the fare for any journey on a Velvet route here. Well done to Velvet for being the only bus company in our region with the decency to let all passengers know how much they will need to pay before they set out. Bluestar have a list of sample fares, but not covering all combinations. The rest have chosen for you to have no way to find out the price of a single journey, short of phoning up every time you want to make a journey you haven't made before.

There are evening diversions in Hedge End from 7pm until close of service on Tuesday to Friday of this week. Bluestar 3 won't be serving Wildern Lane, Bursledon Road or Heath House lane during those hours. First 8B will also be affected - they've not advised of an official diversion but it will most likely be be missing out Wildern Lane and Lower Northam Road, running direct between Locke Road and Maypole Roundabout.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Hythe heat / History honoured / Xelaguide / Purpose

First have used some strong language in their explanation to passengers for the withdrawal of the 11. This is from their website:
The highlighting is mine. It really does put the heat on Bluestar to keep up the current service levels on the 8.

A major part of our local history has been commemorated by Unilink with the naming of one of their buses after one of the last survivors of the Titanic disaster. I'm always in favour of raising awareness of history, so well done Unilink!

Xelabus, fresh from their latest cuts, have produce a handy guide to all of their services in and around Eastleigh. You can take a look here.

And finally, the comments beneath my last post have raised a few eyebrows, with mentions of possible legal action for libel. As many of you have already commented, there is of course nothing on this site that could be considered libellous. The bus companies are free to leave a comment and from time to time they do use their right to reply, which I wholeheartedly welcome. Just to clarify: I have not been contacted by anyone asking me to close this blog down. Yes, I criticise the bus companies sometimes, where I believe it is due, but I and of course our regular commenters also praise them for the things they are doing right. This blog is written very much from a passenger's point of view and the whole point of it is to make it easier to people to use the buses, ultimately boosting profits for our local operators. I have no vested interests or commercial ties to any bus operator or local authority and that gives me the freedom to be truly impartial and comprehensive in my coverage. Occasionally I look at the Google search reports of what search terms are being typed in before people click through to this page and can honestly say that this page has become a first stop for people who are new to the area and don't know where to start when considering using our region's buses. How many of those maybes have become actual passengers we'll never know, but I'm confident it's made a difference. This blog has been running for nearly 4 years now and I'm proud of what it has become and will grow to be.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Xela cuts but Bluestar doesn't

Following First's decision to withdraw route 11 from 26th May, it had been feared that Bluestar might reduce the 8 now that they have a monopoly again. There is a new timetable from 2nd June on Bluestar 8 and 9 but there is no cut in service, for now at least. Marchwood keeps its evening and Sunday services. The main changes are to the 9 which will no longer serve Kings Ride in Langley. A couple of peak hour 9s will be diverted to terminate at Fawley rather than Langley.

Xelabus X8 will no longer run after this Saturday, but the whole route is already covered by Brijan Tours 8, so it's no real loss.

Stagecoach fares are going up from Sunday. Their website currently won't even give prices for their Dayrider and Megarider season tickets, so we can only guess at how much they will cost.

Next Monday, Xelabus has new timetables on routes X1, X2 and X4. They've not got round to putting them on their website yet, but you can find them on Traveline: X1, X2, X4.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

First 11 withdrawn: Marchwood to be cut off again?

First have registered that route 11 will end from 26th May. This will once again give Bluestar 8 the monopoly on public transport to Marchwood and Hythe.

Particularly worrying is the situation in Marchwood because before First launched the 11, Bluestar provided no commercial service and residents were reliant on what Hampshire County Council was prepared to subsidise. That meant no buses in the evenings or on Sundays, a situation which could well now return.

Last time that happened, the Campaign for Better Transport commissioned this study to document the impact.

For some of the background on Marchwood, see my previous posts and also this post on the Omnibuses blog.

Now Bluestar have won this particular battle, the ball is in their court.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Lymington Bus Station for sale

More have announced that they want to sell Lymington Bus Station. Once a buyer is found, the buses will move to stops on the High Street.

Map provided by Hampshire County Council

Some may wonder how Lymington has managed to hold on to its bus station for so long, when Southampton lost its bus station decades ago.

Take a look at Lymington Bus Station's NextBuses departure boards to see how few buses serve the place now:
Stand A
Stand C
Stand D
Stand E

What are your experiences of visiting Lymington by bus? Does the lack of evening services put you off, push you on to the train or make you decide to go elsewhere? And why is there no stand B?