Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Bluestar coming for First in Weston

11th November is when changes happen to several Bluestar routes in Southampton, most notable of which is the 17, which is being amended to operate between Weston and Adanac Park.

Adanac Park, home to the Ordnance Survey, has been without a bus service since First withdrew the 1. The 17 is its nearest route, but will now be serving Adanac proper.

Weston was the scene of bus wars between what was Citybus and Solent Blue Line back in the late 80s, when a truce saw SBL left with the 18/19 Millbrook-Thornhill route as their only route wholly within the city boundary. Over the last few years, as First have floundered and reduced their network, Bluestar have gradually expanded onto more city routes. Sholing, Aldermoor, Oakley Road, Townhill Park - all used to be Citybus/First territory, now all with a Bluestar presence.

What makes this especially significant is that First's Weston route has until now been their only high-frequency route on which they have not faced direct competition. That changes in November.

The move will surely hit First's profits in our city and make it more likely that they will leave sooner rather than later. We just have to hope they sell rather than close down, as a Bluestar monopoly will be free to raise fares to the higher levels they charge outside the city.