Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Bournemouth & Poole changes this weekend

There are many changes happening this weekend across Bournemouth, Poole and the surrounding areas. Many seasonal summer routes are back.

More have timetable changes to most routes, plus stand changes at Poole Bus Station. Don't forget the R4/R5 are being absorbed into the 14.

Unibus U5 is withdrawn from Saturday. It was only a trial route anyway, the majority of which is already covered by the more frequent U1.

Yellow introduce the summer timetable on the 7, plus a route change on the 36. The B1 to the airport is withdrawn and replaced by the new Jetbus 737.

Looking ahead, Salisbury Reds have made their plans for the summer solstice at Stonehenge. Find out how to get there here.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Clock ticking for First

First have some timetable changes to the 7, 8, 9 and 13 in Southampton from 13th May. Their website says it's a Saturday:

It isn't, it's a Sunday.

Here are the new timetables: 7, 8, 9, 13. Only minor changes.

More interestingly, First announce that all of their Southampton routes will run under the City Reds brand. Presumably the X4/X5 will remain under the Solent Rangers brand, run from the Fareham depot.

This isn't as unusual as it may seem. Bluestar started off as a premium sub-brand of Solent Blue Line, that was then extended to the whole network. The same in Bournemouth, where More was once only applied to premium Wilts & Dorset routes, while More is now the name for Go South Coast's whole network across Bournemouth & Poole.

What it does however is make First's Southampton operations easier to split off from the rest of First, especially now that the costly travel shop in Pound Tree Road has been closed.

How likely is that to happen?

Ah, that likely. Passengers in East Anglia, dominated by First, are already worried. For us in the South though, what could it mean?

Go Ahead wouldn't be able to buy on competition grounds and of the other big groups, only Stagecoach have operations nearby onto which Southampton could be tagged. RATP, the Parisian regional transport authority and owner of Yellow Buses in Bournemouth, can't be ruled out, but they seem to have their work cut out in Bournemouth - they've just reversed an entire network revamp just over a year after it was introduced.

The other option is another arm of the French state: Transdev. They have extensive operations in Lancashire and Yorkshire, currently run by no other than Alex Hornby, who used to run Solent Blue Line. I wonder whether he's feeling a little homesick? Would there be enough money to be made pour les taxpayeurs de France?