Tuesday, 21 February 2017

New timetables on First Soton from Sunday

First have new timetables on most of their Southampton routes from Sunday 26th February. Full details here. The main changes are a route change to the 1 in Coxford and the 7 in Midanbury and Townhill Park - details of those here. The new timetables are also on Traveline.

A couple of last buses are being cut: The 0010 departure from the city centre on First 7 to Townhill Park is cut, meaning the 2310 is the last bus. On route 11 to Weston, the 0025 departure from town will now only run on Fridays and Saturdays, meaning that the 2325 is now the last bus on Mondays to Thursdays.

With Saints playing at Wembley on Sunday, both First and Bluestar are offering free travel around the city to anyone wearing a Saints top on Sunday only.

Further afield, the Sunday service between Salisbury and Swindon, Stagecoach 5, is being cut from April, with a possible frequency cut to the Mon-Sat Salisbury Reds X5 service. Wiltshire Council are currently slashing funding for subsidised bus routes across the county, making sure that ordinary people are made to pay for the government's tax cuts for the rich.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Turn up & go

Just a quick reminder that the changes in and around Salisbury mentioned here have now taken effect.

With the recent expansion of this blog to cover more than just Southampton's immediate surroundings, we'll be looking to profile some of the major bus routes in the other main towns and cities of our region, particularly concentrating on those that are 'turn up & go'. That is, they run at such a high frequency that you don't need to check a timetable before going to catch the bus.

But how frequent is 'turn up & go'?

Opinion varies, but I think most people would agree that a 10 minute frequency is enough to not need to check the timetable. This definition rightly puts all of First's City Reds network in Southampton firmly in the 'turn up & go' category for most of the day.

But how about frequencies that are just that little bit less? Every 12 minutes is probably still often enough to not need a timetable. Manchester's trams generally run every 12 minutes on all lines (double that on some) and that is considered often enough to not even publish timetables for passengers to check.

How about every 15 minutes? It's that little bit longer, but still just about a tolerable wait should you just miss one bus, as long as the route is fairly reliable. This would make Bluestar 1 'turn up & go'. I spent some time living near Bristol on a First route that was supposedly every 15 minutes. After a few waits of more than 30 minutes I ended up buying a car, but that's Bristol - a city that is now notorious for traffic jams and poor reliability of its buses - far worse than Southampton.

Every 20 minutes would leave enough of a gap that it would be worth checking the timetable.

So where do you draw the line and why? Every 10, 12 or 15 minutes?