Wednesday, 30 September 2015

First to run Eastleigh-Winchester

The mystery surrounding Wheelers E1/E2 has been solved. Wheelers run the routes for the last time on Saturday 10th October, then from Monday 12th October First takes over the E1 at least. Here's their official registration:

  • Registration Accepted by SN
  • Starting Point: Southampton, Portswood Broadway
  • Finish Point: Winchester, Broadway
  • Via: Eastleigh, Compton, Twyford
  • Service Number: E1
  • Service Type: Normal Stopping
  • Effective Date: 12-OCT-2015
  • Other Details: Monday to Saturday hourly.

No mention of the E2, so it looks like all journeys will be numbered E1. The fact that both Twyford and Compton are mentioned suggests the route will remain more or less as it is now, albeit with an extension on at least some journeys south to Portswood.

With less than two weeks to go until the change, First's website has no news yet and neither does Traveline. When I looked on Hampshire County Council's website, they didn't bother mentioning it either, even though it's them who made the decision to give the contract for this subsidised route to First.

For passengers between Eastleigh and Winchester, First will be the third operator on this route in ten months.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

16 via Bitterne / E1 & E2 mystery

This Monday sees the big changes to Bluestar 16, which is being rerouted via Bitterne to fill the gap left by First 12, which was withdrawn in the East of the city a few weeks ago. Here's the new route:

See further details and the timetable for the new Bluestar 16 here.

There are also minor timetable changes to Bluestar 18. See the new timetable here.

Some Bluestar fares are changing from Sunday 4th October. Details here.

In other news, there's been no word yet of any replacement for Wheelers E1/E2 between Eastleigh and Winchester, which are currently scheduled to end on 10th October.

The E1 route via Colden Common is already covered by Xelabus X9 from Eastleigh and Stagecoach 69 from Winchester, albeit not via Stanmore or the County Hospital. The E2 route is less well covered with Bluestar 1 providing an alternative between Winchester and Otterbourne (again not via County Hospital or Stanmore) but Otterbourne loses its direct bus to Eastleigh.

Nowhere can I find a clear notice that the E1 and E2 are going, but there's also no mention of what happens to them from 11th October, so for now the only reasonable assumption is that they will be withdrawn.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Unilink: New timetables today

There are new timetables from today on all Unilink routes. Full details here. The main change is a frequency boost on the U2, with an extra bus an hour on weekday daytimes, numbered U2X but not serving Avenue Campus on journeys away from the city centre.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Bullar Road: Demise of the gyratory

Once upon a time all buses heading from the city centre towards Bitterne via Northam would run via Bullar Road Gyratory, serving this stop:

But First have already stopped serving that stop, keeping their buses on Bitterne Road West rather than 'diverting' around the gyratory, presumably to speed up journey times towards Bitterne.

From this Sunday, Bluestar 18 joins them. So what's left serving the gyratory?:

Once the 18 has moved, that'll leave Bluestar 3 and Xelabus X10 and X11. The 406 is a Barton Peveril College (which I once attended) route also operated by Xelabus.

So when the 18 moves, this is the stop it will serve from Sunday:

It will join First 8 and 10:

On this side of the city, First 10 and Bluestar 18 run to exactly the same route, so the 10 has had a bit of a speed advantage over the 18.

Heading into town there's no change. Buses in that direction have never gone around the gyratory and all routes will continue to use this stop.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Bluestar 17 timetable / First booklet / Bluestar single fares published

Bluestar have wasted no time in publishing the timetable for the new route 17, which will run from the City Centre via Shirley, General Hospital and Lordshill to Lower Brownhill Road from 25th October. See the timetable here. Bluestar 7 has of course just launched, replacing the withdrawn First 5 between the city centre and Sholing direct via Woolston, plus it also serves Central Station.

Talking of timetables, First have published a new timetable book for Southampton, updated to include all of their latest changes. The red colour scheme does look much better than their standard corporate white and insipid lilac. Don't bother with their book if you want to get to Swaythling though - First have abandoned it and want us all to forget that it was ever part of our city. Here's how their new network looks:

In a breakthrough, Bluestar have finally put all of their single fares online. From the service listing page of their website, select your route and then on the right hand side you can select the start and end point for your journey and your fare will be revealed.

First had beaten Bluestar on this front, coming up with an easy to understand fare structure in February 2014, but that has sadly gone with the introduction of their new-look website. Hopefully it will make a return as First are now the biggest operator in our region to keep their single fares a secret from potential passengers.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Bluestar plan new route in west of city

New Bluestar route 17 registered today:

    • Registration Accepted
    • Starting Point: Southampton City Centre
    • Finish Point: Maybush, Boniface Crescent
    • Via: Shirley, Lordshill
    • Service Number: Bluestar 17
    • Service Type: Normal Stopping
    • Effective Date: 25-OCT-2015
    • Other Details: Daily service

More details as we get it...

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

This weekend: First & Xelabus revamp / Bluestar 7 launches

These are the changes coming up over the next week, including major network overhauls for First and Xelabus:

Wednesday 2nd September
The following route will run for the last time:

Thursday 3rd September
The following routes will run for the last time:

Friday 4th September
The following route will run for the last time:

Saturday 5th September
The following routes will run for the last time:

  • First 5 Bassett Green-Sholing This leaves Swaythling and Bassett Green with no First bus service.
  • Brijan/Xela 7 Southampton-Bishops Waltham to be replaced by Xelabus X10 from 7th September
  • Brijan/Xela 8 Eastleigh-Bishops Waltham to be replaced by Xelabus X9 from 7th September

Sunday 6th September
This route will run for the last time in 2015:

  • Xelabus X24 Bitterne-Paultons Park will be back for summer 2016

New routes launch:

  • Bluestar 7 City Centre-Sholing partly replacing First 5
  • First 10 City Centre-Thornhill competing directly with Bluestar 18
The following routes have new timetables and in some cases amended routes:
  • First 1 City Centre-Adanac Park frequency cut
  • First 2 City Centre-Millbrook
  • First 3 Lordshill-Thonhill
  • First 7 City Centre-Townhill Park
  • First 8 Southampton-Hedge End
  • First 9 City Centre-Sholing rerouted & frequency cut
  • First 12 City Centre-Lordshill route & frequency cut
  • First 13 City Centre-Harefield route change & frequency cut

First have made a little video about their changes:

Monday 7th September
New routes launching:

  • Xelabus X9 Southampton-Bishops Waltham replacing Brijan/Xela 8
  • Xelabus X10 Eastleigh-Bishops Waltham replacing Brijan/Xela 7
  • Xelabus X15 Eastleigh-Hamble replacing Brijan/Xela 8B, 15 and Xelabus X56

The following routes have new timetables:

Wednesday 9th September
New route launching:

  • Xelabus X17 Bishops Waltham-Petersfield replacing Brijan/Xela 17