Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Changes from Monday / Christchurch preview

This coming Monday, 28th January, sees new timetables on the following routes:

Bluestar 17 - Extra early morning and evening journeys

Salisbury Reds 26, 27, 29, 29A - Minor changes

Looking further ahead, Southbourne Buses launch their new C1 route in Christchurch on 4th March:

The route links the centre of Christchurch with Burton and Somerford, including Sainsbury's. Burton's only bus currently is More 24, which runs weekdays only, is rather infrequent and finishes by 3pm. Somerford's Hunt Road is currently only served by Yellow 1B, which has a bizarre 40-minute frequency on weekdays and no service at all on Saturdays.

This has more of a chance of being a success for Southbourne than the Ringwood incident.

Timetables for the services being reduced on 17th Feb due to Hampshire County Council/government cuts are now available on Traveline. More on those before they bite.


  1. If you go from Burton to Somerford Sainsbury's,it seems to be one hell of a journey to get back

    1. I use a similar one way service.That's always going to be so with a circular route, but preferable to no or spasmodic service. I'd also judge that a goodly number will want to visit other locations in Christchurch and Purewell before returning to Burton.

  2. The circular route doesn't work the other way around due to the limited access to Christchurch by-pass. Definitely preferable to the existing poor services; my only doubt is whether the timetable is realistic given the local traffic conditions. Time will tell but I wish Mr Gard luck - he is at least trying to fill in gaps in major operators services.

  3. Now I see the actual route, I am sure it will work, filling the gaps left by Yellows and Morebus.
    Hope the buses don't get vandalised, as Somerford Estate has bad reputation for vandalising buses.
    What are your forecasts in terms of industry in our region? Will we have another big change on Yellows? First?
    Here is mine:
    I am sure this year will hear from First whether they are staying in Weymouth, Southampton, Fareham and Portsmouth, or they are withdrawing completely from the area (I bet they will stay).
    I bet Bluestar may try to find a big depot in the Nursling Area, as both Totton and Eastleigh are a bit too small nowadays, if they want to expand, the infrastructure is their Aquiles heel.
    Morebus and the other companies from GSC will stay the same, with a few tweaks in a few routes.
    Stagecoach idem, I don't see them making huge investments or changes in routes.
    I actually think that Xelabus may buy Wheelers and, who knows, an eventual extension to Hursley (for the IBM) of the current W1 seems a good idea.
    I think 2019 will be a dormant year, with pretty much all the same as 2018. The only time we may actually have a surprise is around Christmas, but never before.

    (This is just an opinion)

    1. I do enjoy some wild speculation! I can't say much for the Hampshire companies, but here's my predictions for Bournemouth.

      More will stick to the winning formula. Extra summer routes, minor changes here and there. I don't see anything particularly revolutionary, but it will be interesting to see if any changes happen to the 14. The good publicity they got for taking over the R4/R5 was nice, but was it a wise move?

      Yellows, I think, are still trying to stem the financial tide, so more service reductions are likely. Much of the reductions (1 to Poole, 1b in Somerford, 3 to Poole, service 8) are a clear attempt to reverse the loss the company made in 2017. It's extremely unlikely the company will go under, but another year of loss could increase the chances of it being sold off.

      Route-wise, from my observations, the recently introduced 6a won't last the year - loadings are very, very light. I think they will give up on any extra routes to the university and just have the 6 running every 30 minutes. It's possible the 5 and 5a may end up returning to a 10 minute freqency as well, and I'm not entirely sure of the future of the 8, which has been cut and cut over the last three years and might not see this year out, given the improved U3.

      I'm also intrigued to see how the C1 pans out. It'll go one of two ways - either it's a huge flop, and gets withdrawn in a couple of months; or it's a huge success, and more's 24 gets withdrawn from Burton. I don't see it's success resulting in the 1b getting any worse.

    2. Southbourne Buses have introduced the C1 after talking to locals in the area.Let's hope the locals use it well.So many times I see new services introduced because locals have asked for such a service,but then it gets little support.It was nice to see a photo today posted showing people on the 39 between Nomansland and Romsey.Nice to know this service on the days it's operated is supported by those it serves.A great pity other services which recieve Council support still for the moment wern't so well supported.mind you I believe the 39 has the same driver doing it and that driver is well respected for looking after His customers.

  4. I can see First still being in Southampton by the end of the year 2019

    1. Who would have predicted ten years ago that Bluestar would become the main bus operator in most of the city.

    2. No one to be honest.

  5. First arn't going anywhere,so why people keep suggesting they are,fails Me.I could not see in anyway Xelabus taking over Wheeler's as their operations at present seem quiet boyant.I have seen no evidence that they are not

    1. If you read properly my comment, you will see that I suggested First will stay in Weymouth, Southampton, Fareham (and Gosport) and Portsmouth :)

    2. And replying to your comment, I just suggested the acquisition of Wheelers as something that may happen, if the main operation in Andover goes wrong.
      We shall see, but I don't expect much happening this year. (Oh I forgot to forecast Yellows, as a sell is likely if they don't revert the negative results in their operation. I would like to ask a local if Bournemouth Council see with good eyes an eventual monopoly of bus services in the area?

    3. Yes but First have sold there Manchester operations !
      So any thing is possible !

  6. I don't think the council would be a fan of a monopoly. That said, they are putting time and money in to ways to reduce congestion across the town. One thing that has been discussed is having an integrated ticketing system across bus and rail in the area.

    Yes, there is the Getting About card, but that's no use to most people, being offered as a day ticket only. It's unlikely, but I would like to see the conurbation introduce a PTA (as in Manchester, Glasgow and Tyne & Wear).

    I do wonder how likely they are to reverse their results. They have undoubtedly lost passengers to More over the last two years through reducing their routes, particularly the Southbourne to Westbourne and Poole route. Reintroducing them hasn't been enough to get them back. They've also got higher fares (a 30 day ticket is £60 vs More's £52). The re-re-cast of the routes has been average at best, and they are still changing routes with quite a regularity. Off the top of my head, there have been 3 major changes to routes in one year. That's not encouraging.