Sunday, 28 January 2018

First X54 axed ?

Update 30.1.2018: It looks like just a convoluted timetable change rather than full withdrawal of the X54, for now at least. We'll scour the timetable as soon as the powers that be have determined that we mere passengers can see it! UPDATE 2.2.2018: See the new timetable here.

It's not just in Southampton that First are making savage cuts. In the far west of our region, route X54 has connected Poole and Weymouth in some form or another for several years, with a new timetable coming in on 25th March.

For end-to-end and many intermediate journeys, the train (now operated by First) provides an alternative. But there are many villages for whom the X54 was their main or only public transport. Dorset County Council no longer produce bus route maps of the county, but the last one in 2016 gives us an idea of the terrain:

This is an old map and many of the routes on it no longer run

More Purbeck Breezer 40 will continue to run more frequently between Poole and Wareham, so let's concentrate on Wareham to Weymouth. The following villages rely on the X54 as their only public transport link:

From Warmwell, Damory 5 also provides a limited service via Osmington and Preston into Weymouth.

The once great Jurasic Coaster service which used to run from Poole to Exeter is no more. The Exeter end has already been axed and the eastern leg is a pale shadow of its former self.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

January Round Up

First have released their new timetable booklet for Southampton, which takes effect from next Sunday 21st January. See it here. With the withdrawal of route 12, their network map now looks like this:

Compare it with September 2009 to get an idea of just how far First have run down their services in our city:

Passengers who rely on First 12 can switch to Bluestar 7 from 21st Jan, which is being extended to Lordshill via the 12's route. See the new 7 timetable here.

Much of the reason for First's long term local decline has been the intervention of the University of Southampton in the local bus market. They were unhappy with how First were serving their staff and students, so worked to bring about an alternative: Unilink. For several years, the Unilink routes have been operated by Bluestar and therefore integrated into the wider Bluestar network. The University are clearly happy with the job Bluestar are doing, as they've just renewed their Unilink contract for another 10 years. This makes any return of First to Swaythling and Bassett highly unlikely.

In other news, Stagecoach 66 has a new timetable since 8th Jan due to roadworks in Romsey.

Stagecoach 39 in Havant gets a new timetable from 28th Jan with only minor changes.

From the same date, some fares and ticket prices are going up on Stagecoach. Don't forget you can pay less by switching from paper tickets to their Smart card or mobile app.

Yellow Buses have revised times on their Uniline U6, U9 and U10 routes from Sunday 21st January. Details here.