Monday, 27 November 2017

Official: First 12 axed / Go Ahead crowned best in country

First have officially registered that route 12 in Southampton will end from 21st January 2018.

This will leave Millbrook without a direct link to the General Hospital or Lordshill, with passengers having to change in Shirley. It will also leave Oakley Road and Cumbrian Way, historically Citybus/First's main route to Millbrook, without any regular bus service, unless there is a change to the route of the 2 to compensate, no indication of which has so far been made.

It will also mean the end of First in Maybush after the 1 disappeared last month. It leaves Bluestar 4 as the only public transport in the area.

The 12 started as a cross city service during First's revamp of June 2013, running through to Townhill Park via Woolston, Merry Oak and Bitterne. At that point it boasted a Mon-Sat daytime frequency of 20 minutes. That was increased to every 15 minutes in June 2014, before it was chopped in half and only the western half remained, as we reported in September 2015. At the same time, the frequency was halved to half-hourly, where it still remains today.

The route's history of course goes back further than that, having been the old flagship 17A route for well over a decade. It was once even operated by routemasters in the Citybus days.

In other news, congratulations to Go South Coast, the Go Ahead subsidiary behind Bluestar, More, Salisbury Reds and Damory, who have won three prestigious national awards, including UK Bus Operator of the Year at the Oscars of the bus world. Maybe just a little bit of that is down to the scrutiny of this blog helping to keep to them on the straight and narrow!

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Further Christmas service levels announced

Further Christmas & New Year services have been announced, this time by First, Stagecoach and Xelabus.

Full details of what we know about Christmas and New Year service amendments across the region can be found here.

The main noteworthy points are that:

  • Stagecoach will provide a full Sunday service on both Boxing Day and New Year's Day.
  • First will have no buses running on New Year's Day
  • First Wessex X54 (Poole-Weymouth) is suspended between Christmas and New Year.
  • Activ8: On some days, Stagecoach will run their journeys on this shared route, but Salisbury Reds won't be running theirs

The operators whose Christmas plans we still await are:

  • First Bath, for the sake of the 265 Salisbury-Bath service
  • Wheeler's, but we can assume that they won't run on any of the bank holidays
  • Mervyn's, ditto

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Christmas Day buses / 66 diverted / 64 improved / Flying Santa

Go South Coast (better known as Bluestar, More, Salisbury Reds and sometimes Damory) have announced how they'll be operating over Christmas and the New Year. We've summarised the details on our 'Changes on the way' page and will add other operators' details as and when they are announced.

The main highlights are Southampton's first ever Christmas Day bus service: Bluestar 18 with a special timetable and a route extension to the General Hospital. In Bournemouth, More M1/M2 will also run on Christmas Day, with route extensions to Christchurch and the Royal Bournemouth Hospital.

From this coming Sunday, 19th November, Stagecoach have a slight route change to the 66 in Abbotswood, due to Hampshire County Council closing part of Cutforth Way.

Also from 19th November, there's a new timetable on Stagecoach 64 between Winchester and Alton, featuring more evening and Sunday journeys.

Back in Southampton, the flying Santa gimmick thingemy is closing Bargate Street for a few hours every day until Christmas. This means diversions to some journeys on various Bluestar and First routes.