Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Millbrook melee / New Forest Tour resumes

From this coming weekend, First will run their route 2 to the exact same route as Bluestar 18 between town and Millbrook and they'll be running more often.

Bluestar 18 is every 7/8 mins Mon-Sat daytimes. They're not taking the attack lying down though...

Click the graphics for more details from each camp. Not just boasting about the buggy spaces, Bluestar have cut their fares. Slightly. A Southampton Dayrider is normally £3.50, but one will be available for the 18 only at £3. A FirstDay City is £3.20, although despite the name, it doesn't quite cover the whole city, just the pink zone of this map.

Bluestar are offering a special weekly ticket just for the 18 too, priced at £11. A Bluestar Southampton weekly ticket is already £11 if you buy it on The Key or on their mobile app, but rises to £13 if you want to buy a paper ticket (other than on route 18). FirstWeek Millbrook at £8.50 is First's answer to that, only valid between Millbrook and town. FirstWeek Southampton will set you back £17 but also includes Hedge End, which is excluded from Bluestar's Southampton zone tickets.

I can't not point out a typing error on Bluestar's rushed web page announcing the new deal for Millbrook:

The red box is mine of course. They might well need to appoint a Bluetsar to oversee this battle. Sweets? That's fighting dirty surely! How on Earth can First compete with that? If there's an obesity epidemic in Millbrook, you know who to blame :-)

Outside the city, the New Forest Tour from Bluestar and More gets going again this weekend with more routes than before. The fares are premium but include travel to and from the Forest on Bluestar 6 and More 112, although you might be hard pressed to find buses running at sensible times to make a day trip of it from Hythe on the 112. Probably best to get Bluestar 8 or 9 to Totton and change there to the 6 instead.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

First changes: Focus on Shirley

In the final post analysing the changes to First services from 30th June, we look at Shirley:

This corridor is currently served by First 1, 1A, 2, 2A and 3. This will change to routes 1, 2, 3 and 12. Competition is provided by Bluestar 4 and 18, which provide a combined 10 buses an hour Mon-Sat daytimes.

Here's how First's times will change:

A far better service over all. Look at the jump in daytime frequencies, down to First attacking Bluestar 18 head on with new route 2 running every 6 minutes. This situation may not be sustainable, so make the most of it while you can. Woolston has more First buses per hour, but less competition, making Shirley the undisputed busiest bus corridor in Southampton. Here are the main stops:

Live timetabled departure boards: SA, SB, SD, SE, SF, SG, SH, SI, SJ.
From town, all of First's Shirley routes use stop AF on Above Bar Street, outside the Marlands.

Here are the links for all of First's changes from 30th June and the new timetables for routes 1, 2, 3 and 12.

Throughout this series, most of the maps used have been cropped from Southampton City Council's public transport map 2013, with others taken from First's own route maps, Bluestar's website and Traveline. First should be commended on having the new timetables available well in advance, which has made this analysis possible. All of the changes described take effect next Sunday 30th June.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

First changes: Focus on Portswood

There are big changes to First routes from 30th June. Today, a closer look at Portswood.

First have the 5 and the 7 between town and Portswood. The 5 currently runs via Bedford Place, but will be rerouted back to London Road and The Avenue, then on to Lodge Road as now. The 7 runs via Bevois Valley. Competition is provided by Unilink U6 via Bevois Valley, Bluestar 2 and 16 via Lodge Road, Unilink U1 via Winn Road and Bluestar P1, which is about to be replaced from 30th June by Wheelers W1 via Westwood Road.

Here is how First's times are changing to Portswood:

Generally Portswood is slightly better off, especially on Sundays, when the 7 will be running every 15 minutes.

Here are the main bus stops in Portswood:

Use these links for live timetabled departure times: PA, PB, PC, PD, PE, PF, PG, PH, PI, PJ, PK.
From town, the 5 and 7 both use stops CE (Pound Tree Rd), AD (Above Bar St/Marlands) and HC (Cenotaph).

Here are the links for the 5 and 7 from 30th June. Full details of First's changes here.

Next: Shirley

Friday, 21 June 2013

First changes: Focus on Northam & Bitterne

A look now at how First's changes from 30th June will affect the City Centre-Northam-Bitterne corridor.

It's served by First 8/8A/8B and 9 and this will not change. Competition is provided by Bluestar 18, Velvet A and Brijan 7.

Here's how the times are changing on First via Northam:

Daytime frequencies stay the same, but elsewhere there are cuts. This comparison is slightly unfair to First as they also provide the 2 and 2A which run to Bitterne via Woolston - they will be renumbered 12 and 13. Sunday evenings are a problem though, as even the last 12 will leave town at 1841. Miss that and you will have to use Bluestar 18 to get back to Bitterne.

Here are Bitterne's main bus stops:

For live timetabled departure times, use these links: BA, BB, BC, BD, BE, BF, BG.
From the City Centre, the 8, 8A, 8B and 9 all serve the following stops: BL (Bargate St), AJ (Asda), AN (Civic Centre), AH (New Rd).

See the full new timetables for the 8s and 9 and all First services from 30th June here.

Next: Portswood

Thursday, 20 June 2013

First changes: Focus on Woolston

First are having a couple of roadshows about the changes to their routes, which take effect from 30th June. Details here.

Now we've covered the outer-lying parts of the city, let's concentrate on the four main corridors, starting today with Woolston.

Currently, First routes 1-6 inclusive run over the Itchen Bridge between town and Woolston. From 30th June, this changes to 3-6 and 11-13 inclusive. On the city side, Central Bridge is being abandoned, with all routes except the 5 running via Ocean Village. The only alternative to First is provided by Bluestar 3. Here is how the times are changing:

A mixed bag, but still a very frequent service apart from on Sunday evenings.

Find all of the new timetables for First's routes from 30th June here. See live timetabled departures for the stop on the Woolston side of Itchen Bridge, showing all buses heading into town here and for stop BD on Castle Way, from which most buses to Woolston leave town here.

Tomorrow: Bitterne

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

P1 vs W1 / Totton carnival this Saturday

Not only First routes are changing from 30th June. Bluestar P1 is being withdrawn and replaced by Wheelers W1.

Here's the current P1 route:

The W1 will run to the same route as far as Bassett Cross Roads (the junction of Burgess Road and The Avenue), from where it will run up Bassett Avenue to Chilworth Roundabout, then along the A27 to North Baddesley, then like this to Romsey:

See a full list of stops served here and the timetable here.

The W1 will run hourly during the day, but will start earlier and finish later than the P1 to provide a rush hour service too. The fact it's no longer operated by Bluestar means you lose some of the network benefits if you need to connect with another Bluestar route. It is not yet clear whether Wheelers will be accepting Solent Travelcard or Southampton Plusbus tickets. Glen Eyre will no longer be served, but it is already well served by Unilink U2.

On another note, it's the Totton carnival this weekend, with diversions on Saturday afternoon to Bluestar 6, 8, 11 and 12 and Salisbury Reds X7. The 1700 journey on First 10 from Totton College will also be affected, but First haven't yet said where that will be diverting.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

S1 & S2 changes from 30th June

First S1 and Velvet S2 are changing from 30th June. Here's the S1's current route:

Quite a lot is changing, so let's jump straight to the S1's new route:

It will no longer serve the RSH Hospital, Central Station, Waterloo Road or Millbrook Road. It's also rerouted in Bellemoor to serve Shirley Avenue, Wilton Road and Bellemoor Road.

It then continues around the General Hospital and Lordswood as before, but will no longer serve Lordshill North. It will continue to run hourly between the peaks Mon-Sats.

The S1 can't be looked at in isolation from Velvet S2, also funded by Southampton City Council. Here's how the S2 currently runs:

It will no longer serve Regents Park or Millbrook Tesco, replaced there by the new S1. Here's how the S2 will run from 30th June:

It will now provide an extra link through Bellemoor to the General Hospital. It also extends on the other side of town to the RSH Hospital. Plus it will run on Saturdays.

Here are the new timetables for the S1 and S2.

Next up: Bluestar P1 versus Wheelers W1

Monday, 17 June 2013

First changes: Focus on General Hospital to Totton

First have new timetables on most routes from 30th June. Today we look at the 10 between General Hospital and Totton.

In the last post we saw how the 10 is being rerouted between town and the General. It's route is also changing between the General and Shirley. From 30th July, it will approach the hospital along Dale Road, turning right into Tremona Road and then left into Coxford Road, which it will follow all the way to Maybush Corner, before turning left to lead in to Shirley. The route in Totton also changes. Here's how it currently runs there:

Instead of turning round at Totton College, the 10 will run a loop, out along Water Lane and then in along Ringwood Road. Here's the full section from the General to Totton from First's new network map:

The biggest change though is in the timetable:

There's already no Sunday service. From 30th June, there will be no Saturday service either. The only positive is that the last bus on weekdays from the General Hospital towards Totton will be almost 90 minutes later than it currently is.

If you need to travel between Totton and the General on Saturdays or Sundays, you will need to catch Bluestar 6, 8, 11 or 12 to Central Station and then change to First 3.

See the new 10 timetable here and details of all of the changes to First services from 30th June here.

Next up: What's happening to the S1?

Sunday, 16 June 2013

First changes: Focus on Bellemoor & General Hospital

There are new timetables and route changes to most of First's routes from 30th June. Today we look at Bellemoor and the General Hospital.

The 8A and 10 currently intertwine along Hill Lane and through Bellemoor on their way to the General.

From 30th June, the 8A is withdrawn from this side of the city. The 10 is being rerouted to partially replace it, but it will only run on weekdays.

First have released their new network map. Here's an extract showing how the 10 will run:

After Tauntons, the new 10 will run along Bellemoor Road, Luccombe Road, Winchester Road and Dale Road to the General Hospital, a more direct route than now.

Here's how the timetable is changing:

Bad news for anyone who needs to get to the General from town. The most useful route for that journey will become the 3 via Shirley. Don't forget that Velvet S2 is being redrawn too and that will offer another alternative for the General.

Find all of the new timetables on First here. New 10 here.

Next up: General Hospital to Totton

Saturday, 15 June 2013

First changes: Focus on Hedge End, West End & Chartwell Green

First timetables are changing on most routes from 30th June. Today we look at the 8, 8A and 8B to Hedge End.

No change to the route on this side of the city, but the 8A will no longer run beyond town to the General Hospital.

The 8s face competition from Brijan 7 to West End and from Velvet A and Bluestar 3 to Hedge End. In the evenings, First 8B provides the link to Botley that is served by Bluestar 3 only in the daytimes.

Here's how the timetable is changing:

No major changes, just a few tweaks here and there.

See all the new timetables from 30th June here and that for the 8s here.

Next up: Bellemoor and the General Hospital

Friday, 14 June 2013

First changes: Focus on St Denys & Bitterne Park

First have new timetables on most routes from 30th June. Today we look at the 7 to Townhill Park.

The terminus loop around Townhill Park and Midanbury is shared with current route 2 (changing to the 12). The 7 provides the link to Portswood and then continues to town via Bevois Valley. It faces competition from Bluestar 16, which runs via Stag Gates.

The 7 is staying with the same route and has just some minor timetable changes. Here's the summary:

The Sunday daytime frequency is up to 4 buses per hour, making the 7 one of our city's most frequent routes on Sundays.

Full details of changes to all First routes from 30th June here and the 7 timetable here.

Next up: Hedge End, West End and Chartwell Green

Thursday, 13 June 2013

First changes: Focus on Netley & Hamble

First have new timetables on most routes from 30th June. Today, we look at the 6 to Hamble.

The route is unchanged and the peak hour variations are ironed out so that all buses will run via Ocean Village. Here's how the timetable is changing:

Weekday daytimes drop to 2 buses an hour, but Sunday daytimes double to the same amount. Testimony to the fact that in terms of people wanting to travel, Sunday isn't that special any more. Evenings change: instead of having an earlier finish Mon-Wed and later journeys only running Thurs-Sat, we have a thinner and uneven evening frequency running six days a week. The last Sunday bus from town will be earlier than it is now, but at 1950 is still not too bad for a Sunday when you consider how bad the cuts are elsewhere.

Find details of all the changes on First here and the new timetable for the 6 here.

Next up: Bitterne Park & St Denys

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

First changes: Focus on Sholing (Butts and Botley Roads) / U6 rerouted from Sunday

Don't forget Unilink U6 has a new route and timetable from this Sunday.

In the run up to major changes to First's network on 30th June, we're looking at each area in turn to see how it will be affected. Today, the 5 between town and Sholing.

There's no change to the route on this side of the city. Here's how the times are changing:

No big changes here either. The part of Sholing that the 5 serves is also served by the 9 via Bitterne, which provides the evening and Sunday service.

Here's how the 9 is changing:

No change to the route, but evening services are cut completely, leaving a large area of Sholing with no buses from town after 7pm. Anyone who does need to get home in the evening will have three bus & walk options:
First 3 to Kathleen Road and then walk.
Bluestar 18 to Hightown and then walk.
First 4, X4 or 6 to Wrights Hill or Portsmouth Road and then walk.

First say that the evening service that currently runs is subsidised by the city council and that is being cut. First have decided that not enough people would use the service in the evenings to keep it running commercially.

Full details of changes to all of First's services can be found here. These are the links for the new timetables on the 5 and the 9.

Next up: Netley & Hamble.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

First changes: Focus on Bassett Green & Swaythling

Many First routes are changing from 30th June. Each day we look at one in detail to see exactly what is changing. Today, the 5 between town and Bassett Green.

The 5 faces a lot of competition all along the route. Most people have a very good alternative provided by either Bluestar 2 or Unilink U2 or U6. On top of that, the 5 has been deteriorating in recent years to the point where it no longer has any service in the evenings. This has had an inevitable effect on the daytime patronage as anyone who needs to get back after 7pm knows that they will need to use Bluestar or Unilink to do so and that they're better off using them to get into town in the daytime.

Nevertheless, the 5 still soldiers on, currently round a big one-way loop around Bassett Green. That's changing from 30th June, back to how it was before:

On Sundays, buses will turn around at the junction of Daisy Road and Bluebell Road, not running around the Burgess Road loop.

Another change is to the current route between Stag Gates and town, where the 5 currently serves Banister Road and Bedford Place:

That's changing back to how it was before too, along The Avenue/Inner Avenue and London Road:

Bedford Place is also losing the 10, but gaining the new S1. The 5 will still run beyond town to Woolston and Sholing.

Here's how times are changing on the 5:

Not good on weekdays: a later first and earlier last bus. If you miss the 1831 from town and only have a First ticket, you'll need to pay to use Bluestar 2, Unilink U2 or U6 back home. Good-ish news on Sundays with a later last bus from town, but on Sundays too, you have a full hourly evening service until late on Bluestar and Unilink.

Let's see how Bedford Place fares with the changes:

All the new timetables from 30th June can be seen here or use these direct links for the 5 or the S1.

Next up: Deepest, darkest Sholing

Monday, 10 June 2013

First changes: Focus on Thornhill & Sholing (Kathleen Road)

Velvet S2 has been saved, but will be rerouted giving a new way to get to the General Hospital. Full details here.

Back now to our series on First's network changes from 30th June. Today we look at route 3 between town and Thornhill.

The route here is staying exactly the same, apart from on the City Centre side of Itchen Bridge, where the 3 will run via Ocean Village instead of Central Bridge, the blue box on this map:

The evening extensions to Harefield will no longer run however. Anyone needing to get to Harefield will need to use new route 13 (see previous posts).

Here's how the timetable is changing between town and Thornhill:

No change to frequencies. The first bus of the morning will be later Mon-Sat, but the last bus from town will be later than it currently is every day.

You can see the new timetables that start 30th June for all First routes here and that for the 3 here.

Next up: Bassett Green & Swaythling

Sunday, 9 June 2013

First changes: Focus on Shirley Warren

Each day, we're looking at a route and area affected by First's changes that happen on 30th June. Today: route 3 between town and Lordshill.

Between Shirley and Lordshill, the 3 runs through Shirley Warren, where it is the only major route, past the General Hospital and round Lords Hill Way. That route on this side of the city is not changing and nor is the route number. Before getting to Woolston, it is being rerouted via Ocean Village, the blue box on this route map:

Here's the summary of how the timetable is changing:

No cuts here, just earlier first buses every day and later last buses Mon-Sats.

The 3 will gain in importance with the withdrawal of the 8A and the rerouting and cuts to the 10 - more on those in future posts. This will make the 3 the main bus route between the General Hospital and the City Centre.

Full details of the changes across First's network on 30th June here. New 3 timetable here.

Next up: Sholing (Kathleen Road)