Saturday, 27 July 2019

Bluestar 19 to take on First Three


Bluestar have announced a new route, the 19, which will start on 22nd September competing directly with the eastern half of First's Three.


This is significant for several reasons.

  1. The first is that this half of the Three is First's last high frequency route in Southampton that does not face direct competition from Bluestar. This further weakens the economic viability of First Southampton.
  2. The second is that in September 2015, First launched their then route 10 directly duplicating this side of Bluestar 18 to Thornhill via Bitterne. They wanted to kick Bluestar out of Thornhill and run both routes themselves. They stopped serving the Thornhill via Bitterne route in January 2018, seemingly content with just the Three running the Fairfax Court via Woolston route. Now the shoe is on the other foot and Bluestar is coming for the Three.
  3. The third is that First at a corporate level is in disarray. It wants to separate its UK bus division from the rest of the business, but nobody seems clear how this is going to happen. They've recently sold a depot up in Manchester to Go Ahead and one in Bolton to Rotala (to jubiliation from locals I should add - the First brand is tainted in many areas), so nothing can be ruled out. This is the time for Bluestar to make a grab for territory before another company with possibly more ambition (even if it's still First Bus, just legally separated from the rest of First Group) takes over.


So what happens now? It really depends on what happens at a corporate level with First.

  • If the bus business is merely spun off into a separate entity, they could decide to close unviable operations, which Southampton may by then have become. 
  • If it's sold in one big job lot, then it depends who buys and how much they think they can make a go of what First couldn't - National Express might be in a position to revitalise the operation and would face few regulatory concerns as their existing bus operations tend not to overlap with First elsewhere in the country. Or another company from outside the UK or outside of the transport sector could fancy their chances.
  • If it's broken up bit by bit, then anything could happen. On its own, Southampton is probably unattractive to potential buyers in its current state, but if it's bundled up with Portsmouth and/or Weymouth, then there's hope of it surviving. 

For now I'd say it's 50/50 whether Bluestar will still face a serious competitor in Southampton in 2 years time.


Stagecoach 700 has a new timetable for the section between Portsmouth and Flansham from tomorrow. Details here. The main changes are to early morning journeys.


In Bournemouth, Yellow Buses have new timetables on many routes from 1st September. The full timetables are yet to be published but some details can be found here. The 1a's extension to New Milton is doubled in frequency and the 6's extension to Wimborne also stays.

There will be changes at the start of September on many routes of Bluestar, First Portsmouth, Stagecoach Winchester and Southern Vectis too. More on them as we get it.



See all upcoming changes across the region at-a-glance here.


235 comments:

  1. First will surely win this battle

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    1. Sorry Reece, but I do not think First will be here by next Easter. They have nothing left to fight with. Even their shop steward is telling new recruits to get onto Bluestar now, or risk being out of work by Christmas!

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  2. I think the jubilation by the locals that Rotola are taking over in Bolton won't last long when they discover how sh*t Rotala are at running buses

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  3. Lots to look forward too in September it would seem

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  4. I never understood why First withdrew the 10.As it did not run cross City it was so much more reliable than the 18 and mainly well used.What in the past they have done with some routes has been sheer folly.Even the quite well used section between Bitterne and Townhill Park they abandoned which now run by Bluestar has after a slow start become busy on many journeys.Very sad with what's happened with First over the years

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    1. You can blame what goes on in Aberdeen for that

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    2. Well that's the difference with Go-Ahead who tend to let local management run it and make decessions

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    3. Add to that all the local initiatives that Bluestar gets involved in in the local area which First don`t.

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    4. You`re right Bluestar and Southern Vectis both work with the community on various initiatives raising the profile of the brand in the local area.

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  5. What will First do?, considering I think the 3 would be their flagship route.

    I think 1 of 3 things will happen.

    1) A frequency increase on the 3, or an extension to Kanes Hill R/but, (less likely) Harefield, (or a long shot) Hedge End Stores.

    2) Create a new route in competition with Bluestar 1, 2, or 4.

    3) Do nothing.

    In my opinion, I think 1 or 3 is most likely.

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    1. New route coming September.

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    2. Ha ha. Yes,of course there is! Or could that be yet another story being invented to try to keep drivers from defecting? Remember when they said that they were getting brand new vehicles for the three route, and then they were getting newer vehicles cascaded down instead, and then they were refurbishing the current buses? Look what didn't happen at all! If a new route were coming in September, they had better hurry up and register it, don't you think?

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    3. Not seen any hint anywhere of a new services.perhaps the details could be posted so We all know

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    4. New route will have 7 buses.

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    5. As asked what is this new route that will have 7 buses on it.As aked maybe you could post the details as Ilike others have seen no posting of a new route

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  6. They will watch their patronage ebb away, just like they have on the 11. The 17 continues to get busier with every week that goes by. Their head office will not give them permission to spend any money, with the volatile nature of their boardroom battles.

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    1. And I guess Bluestar also thinks that which is why it thinks now is a good time to expand the business while First is paralysed. First's head office stranglehold over local decision making has been their downfall in so many places. Still they don't learn.

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    2. But will the 19 get well used by passengers though

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    3. It might not.It's just a gamble by Go-Ahead

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    4. No info as to what side of Central Station will be served

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    5. It's like what I said about Firstbus yrs ago- it's like they're committing commercial suicide by the way they carry on.

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    6. It will be serving the North Side. That's what it says on the timetable.

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    7. No information on what side the station it will run from.For goodness sake the timetable has been on Bluestar website for days now.Sometimes I wonder what world Reece lives in

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    8. It might not be well used from day 1 but I'm sure Bluestar will see it as a long term project and give it time to grow, gradually increasing the service level as it does, just like they have with the other routes they've launched in Southampton.

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    9. They fully intend to up the frequency of the 19 to every 10 minutes by the end of this year I think. Look at the 17 for example, the extension across town to Weston was a gamble from the off-set, but apparently is beginning to pay off. No doubt the 19 may be a slow start, but I would imagine it will pick up within weeks. I don't think Bluestar/GSC will be particularly worried about whatever reaction they may get out of First somehow.

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    10. Some drivers have allready put their names down for the 19 Rota

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  7. Still awaiting approval from traffic commissioner BS are. It'll be funny if they don't get approval, but seems unlikely seeing how they confident they are. Don't traffic commission think as I do that they're already too many buses through Woolston etc?!

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    1. The commissioners do not give a hoot about how many buses run through a particular area. They just have to be profitable within a reasonable time, throughout the whole route. Most services that go to any central point will achieve this goal. I am intrigued what the next Bluestar move will be once the 19 is consolidated into place. My betting would be a cross city service to Hamble, which will put them on every route that they would aspire to be on, before they swoop for a takeover of First Hampshire and Dorset, immediately closing Firsts operation in Southampton, to avoid competition questions. New depot to boot. This looks the most likely overall plan to me.

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  8. If anybody bothered to read what Andrew Wickham has said that plan to increase the B*19 to every 10 minutes next year

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  9. Same old story,some people are incapable of reading anything that's published and keep posting stupid comments.All very sad

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  10. Daily Echo has an article on Unilink changes...

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    1. Echo basically repeating what Unilink posted on their site a few days ago.

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    2. Quote from Unilink

      "Buses will no longer serve bus stops at Binstead Close, Leaside Way, Bassett Green Road (southbound), Market Buildings, Swaythling McDonald’s, Aster Road, Tulip Road, Bealing Close or Burgess Road Library - but these stops are just a short walk to other stops on Lobelia Road for the U2, the Bluestar 2 and U6 in Stoneham Lane or U1 in Burgess Road."

      With no mention of the stops on the flowers estate or Glen Eyre, does this suggest the U2 is reverting back to its pre-2017 route via Chilworth Roundabout?

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    3. In their statement about the changes they do state U2 will serve Glen Eyere Halls.you just have to read the posting from beginning to end.Nothing mentioned about U9 though

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    4. Bassett Green CUT OFF by GSC

      Why has our blogger not posted the news. He/she would certainly have done so if First had made that announcenment. I think we should be told! And then he/she wonders why folk think this blog is pro GSC and anti First. Can't imagine why they think that........

      I'm surprised GSC have gone public and yet haven't clarified what route the U2 will take after the Lobelia Rd stop. They are not as good at communication as they think they are, whilst the day to day operation of the 18 is as chaotic as always. I feel so sorry for the decent drivers on this route (most appear to be trying to get off this rota ASAP).

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    5. As the service is primarily for students perhaps not great usage round Bassett Green so it's be redesigned on what has come from students feedback as can be read on the Uni link news website

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    6. Yes it is reverting to the Chilworth roundabout route

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    7. Go ahead aren't cutting off Bassett Green as the routes are decided by the university NOT Bluestar so I suggest you get your facts right before posting .

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    8. The university aren't as involved as you think. Pre GSC days the Unilink services had duplicate buses running to accomadate the huge numbers of students. Now the attitude is one bus will do. There's been incidents where the poor driver of the last bus has over 100 students left stranded who then take it out on the driver and the bus. The poor driver has no back up and is left to it. Plus unilink services are also cut due to drivers shortages And the buses GSC bought for the Unilink contract are cheap, nasty and unreliable. The expensive better buses where bought for the Bluestar 18

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    9. The university determine the routes that are served and Bluestar provide the buses and drivers it`s as simple as that.

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    10. Hilarious comment above about the buses used on Unilink on 31 July at 2220. They are the same make and model as used on the 18 route, but a slightly different body layout! Incredibly similar in price too.

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    11. I went to Southampton Uni around the time GSC took over and it was not as good as it is now. They *had* to put on duplicate buses because they were less frequent. Cramming myself onto a single deck U1C at 6.20pm was a weekly occurrence - and that was a duplicate!

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  11. Well I think Bluestar are jumping in with both feet. I think there getting too big, too quick and not seeing the bigger picture. As today they are already struggling with staffing levels, services are already being cancelled due to staff shortages that even the management are out driving. They have to draft staff in from other GSC companies. As of September they have 7 extra Barton Peveril routes that they have to cover and now the 19?????
    It's ok being the biggest but you need to be the best. Cancelling services due to staff levels or shortage of buses and then taking more on???
    First had this attitude back in the 2000s when they where the biggest. People lost faith and used the opposition. I think any company that take First on will see this. On the other hand if Bluestar push out all the opposition you watch there network get smaller and smaller and the fares rise and rise. It's happened to other areas that they already dominate!

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    1. Also not forgetting they have the Aviva Park and Ride Contract

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    2. That is just one bus, Reece

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    3. 2 buses operate Aviva Park and Ride

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  12. Plenty of buses missing most days on their high frequency routes.They are not the shining example they advertise and some of the new drivers recently employed are shocking

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  13. Shortages happen at First Empress Road depot as well also some drivers there on loan from Hoeford and Hilsea

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  14. Yes there's a national shortage of drivers but, I see as a planner how there going to cover the 19. Reduce the buses on the loops of there services. The public won't notice as they'll just reduce the frequency by a minute or 2, reduce the timings/layover time. So it saves the buses/drivers to cover the 19. Meaning more late running. More stressed drivers. And the management rubbing there hands in delight and with reducing timings/layovers/breaks etc they can see it as punishment for those drivers that dared strike to get better pay/conditions

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    1. What's the plans regarding the 1 being increased to every 10 Minutes?

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    2. They have over 10/15 minutes each end. Cut that time out, it saves a bus possibly 2. Increase but decrease if you understand

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    3. Some postings on this site are so ridiculous it beggers belief such as anon 31st july 2208

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    4. I can assure you 'they' won't be doing any of that! Do you really think bus operators reduce timings and layovers to punish drivers? If only you knew howmmuch care and effort goes into compiling timetables and making sure they're reliable.

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    5. Agree with every word in the above reply. No operator plans to get things wrong. Recruitment for September going very nicely from my information!

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    6. Go South Coast have been very active in increasing running times where they see it necessary, usually at peak times. However they have been reducing running time early morning and evenings and reducing dead running times to and from depots making life more stressful for drivers.

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    7. GSC have also been scheduling driver's duties to 12/13 hours per day (maximum 10 hours driving of course) and weekly rotas of up to 60 hours have been introduced.

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    8. Weekly rotas of up to 60 hours introduced because drivers wanted them! For volunteers only. Some drivers like to work a lot of hours or want to earn a lot of money.

      There have always been duties of 12 or 12 and a half hours. I don't think theyve got any longer.

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    9. Anon 19.49 can you give me one actual example of a route where running time has been cut? Looking at old timetables it's amazing how much running times have increased on almost every route and every operator. Not just at peak times but all times of day.

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  15. No news as yet about changes on the M2.

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    1. As far as I am aware there are no changes to m1 and m2 in September. There is a slightly modified "frequent" service running for the summer which will revert in September but no major changes.
      Ken Traveline

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    2. Hi Ken,
      Thanks for your answer.
      I have been playing around with Traveline website and rumours made on this site by its users have fallen:
      - M2 extension to Christchurch - not gonna happen
      - Bluestar 1 every 10 minutes - not gonna happen

      What's more:
      - Few changes to timetable on services 1, 5, 8, 9, 11, 12, 16, 17, 18
      - Last journey on service 8 (Southampton to Marchwood) withdrawn, replaced by a diversion on the 9 via Marchwood at 19:40
      - Extension to Lepe Beach to be kept only on sundays on service 9; also changes to timetabling;
      - introduction of a later journey on service 11 (19:55) monday to saturday; also later journeys on service 12 on sundays (last bus same time as monday to saturday)
      - one early journey on service 16 each way, monday to friday
      - few extra journeys on service 17 to terminate at lower brownhill way instead of adanac park
      - one early service each way on weekends on service 18

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    3. What about the 1 and 5

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    4. Reece, the timetables are on travelling, go and check by yourself.

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    5. Yes Reece they are on Traveline so check them out yourself and stop posting silly questions to people

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    6. Calm down mate

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    7. I forgot to mention the total rework of timetable on service 4.

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    8. It's running 5 minutes longer

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    9. Yes,anyone as a regular user of Bluestar 4 should check the new timetable very carefully as quite a bit of difference during the daytime Mondays to Saturdays

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    10. Bluestar 4 also has an extra later journey to Romsey on Sundays and an extra morning journey from Romsey on Sunday morning.

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    11. Good news about BS4.

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  16. PH1121126/453 Registered
    GO SOUTH COAST LTD
    Route: Southampton Central Station to Thornhill via Woolston, Sholing
    Service number: 19 ()
    Service type: Normal Stopping
    Effective date: 22 Sep 2019

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    1. We knew that ages ago Reece.

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    2. Please leave poor Reece alone. He is just publishing the official notice of what Bluestar announced last week, as confirmation. He is a committed bus man, who embraces his hobby to the full, doing no harm to anyone!

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    3. Reece`s chatting to drivers whilst they are supposed to be concentrating on their driving could harm many though.

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  17. Anon at 23:53 I would be careful what you say mate some people that post on here I do know personally by the way.

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    1. I'd be more careful if I am talking to a driver while the bus is in motion.

      Driver runs some poor person over because they are busy chatting about the latest rumours in the mess room and the person distracting him could be an accessory.

      It's even more disturbing if the member of the public is not capable of holding a driving licence so does not really appreciate the skills of driving a bus.

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    2. I think that most professional drivers are fully aware of what does or does not distract them, and are perfectly capable of telling someone to sit down and shut up, if they need to!

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    3. Exactly if they want to talk to me they are more then welcome to but if any of my driver friends tell me to be quiet I will mote then happily do so.

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  18. Nobody seems to have mentioned the slight changes to the 18 from Thornhill? Looked on traveline comparing the new & old timetables & I noticed that the stops appeared in a different order on new times? So compared both route maps & there is indeed a different starting point in Thornhill from Sept.

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  19. The reason for this is that one timetable is showing the diverted route due to roadworks and the other shows the route when it's back to normal

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    1. Well even if it's down to roadworks- there are still changes on future timetable compared to prev. Some folk may be caught out next mth by slightly earlier departure or as I face, a slightly later departure than before.

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    2. Well if they read the new timetable correctly there should be no reason for them to get caught out

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    3. Most of the general public won't see the Timetables until they are on the Bluestar website

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    4. Bluestar normally put new timetables up way before they are due to start the new 19 being a good example

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    5. Only because it's a new route others are not up yet

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    6. Just how long in advance do you want them posted.in most cases surely a week is more than enough notice by any operator

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    7. It be nice for passengers to know in advance about the 4 change and 16 change due to another early bus being added.

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  20. It's only people on forums like this who seem to be aware of timetable changes & aware of traveline site putting up times a month in advance. Most people are not even aware of any forthcoming changes...

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    1. Yeah let's see what happens with the 19 when it starts. I can see it starting very slow like the 17 did in Weston.

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    2. Of course the 19 is going to be a slow start. Not everyone is going to ditch First and go running to Bluestar. Believe it or not, there will be people who have never used a Bluestar bus before and will remain committed to First, at least for the time being. New routes are always slow, but in the case of the 17 extension, pay off in the long term if marketed enough. The 17 went through a few changes at the Weston end, and now seems popular, no reason the 19 won't be the same story, especially if they up the frequency like they wish to.

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  21. I noted yesterday in City centre by Holy Rood spaced apart from each other at about 1400 to 1430 4 17's heading towards Weston and between them they had no more than 4 persons on board.In fact I have yet to note any on this section with any reasonable loads on board.I also came back from Ocean Village about 1515 and waited 30 minutes until 1545 for a First 3 back into city.if I had known I had to wait so long I would have walked it

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    1. Yesterday when I was on a 7 towards the city centre approching Portswood around half 5 - There was 5 7s on the other side.

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    2. The stretch of road from Portswood to Bitterne Park Triangle is one of the worse at peak times for traffic in the whole of Southampton.It's no wonder the buses bunch up all together

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    3. One driver told me she finshed an hour late when I was chatting to her before I got off

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    4. More than likely 55 minutes of Her being late was caused by you talking too Her

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    5. I was only briefly chatting to her before I got off the stop on Above Bar Street the traffic was seriously bad that day.

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    6. But, but Anon @1443, she is a professional driver, Reece is absolved of all involvement.

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  22. Details of Bluestar`s September changes are now up on their site and on Southern Vectis` site they are running out of timetable books.

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    1. I can't understand the reasoning of running the last BS9 from Fawley through Marchwood and Pooksgreen. Marchwood would reduce the distance travelled on the journey, but there's surely no demand for this.

      By the way as a Marchwood resident, I've long thought that more of the 9s should come through the village instead of non-stop on bypass

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  23. Southern Vectis trying to make out that they cut back on timetables to help the environment rather than to boost profits taking us all for idiots again.

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  24. One of the drivers sure as heck loves the New Forest Tour in looking at the Bluestar Facebook page

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    1. If he is the driver if I go on the New Forest Tour - I sure as heck will be sitting downstairs without a doubt

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    2. Meaning what Reece? It sounds as if the driver has put you off sitting upstairs? What is it that he has said that makes you think that upstairs would not be good, if he was driving?

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    3. No I meant it it's a driver I like and know very well I would consider sitting downstairs

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    4. Ah, that will be a relief to him! I thought he had said something awful about sitting upstairs.

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    5. Nah I like most drivers just a couple of bad ones about mate.

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  25. https://www.go-ahead.com/who-we-are/uk-bus
    It is a bit tricky to get this, but once you select Go South Coast from the dropping menu "overview", you will see something quite surprising, which is the inclusion of Portsmouth as a served area. Will it mean something or is non-sense speculation and just a gaffe from go-ahead?

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    1. Going back a while there was a Southampton to Portsmouth service. I wonder if that's the reason and of course it just looks better.

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    2. That was the Solent Shuttle but it's sadly a thing of the past

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    3. Are there any school/college routes into/out of Pompey by Bluestar?

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    4. I do wonder whether it will make a whole lot more sense in the near future?

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    5. There is one school route starting at Port Solent which is a bit far from Portsmouth

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    6. Could also refer to rail replacement & private hire coverage (given GSC run on the West Coastway line during RR)?

      It looks like the Brighton & Hove area covers Brighton to Bognor, despite their bus network only stretching as far as Worthing (23 from Horsham).

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    7. Port Solent is not that far from Portsmouth; technically I think it is in the Portsmouth Council area.

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    8. Bluestar are taking on several Barton Peveril College contracts from September, most starting in the Port Solent/Warsarsh/Fareham areas.

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  26. Yellow Buses timetables now up. Note a huge amount to note but:
    6a journeys are numbered back to 6b (not 6s at the website states) but also are re-routed back via Cemetery Junction and no longer Springbourne.

    "Evening departures from Poole are reduced for the winter" means "there are no buses from Poole after 7.30"

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    1. Extra journey on the 737 Bournemouth Airport towards Bournemouth town centre (1800 Monday to Friday)
      Little tweak on timetable on services 36
      Some services on route 19 will run via Old Christchurch Road towards Bournemouth station only. Services to tower park with no changes.
      All of this is available to check on traveline.

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    2. I also note that the last bus from Poole was at 21:55 in January and From September will be at 19:30

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    3. Is Buster's Beach Bus, aka route 12, continuing for the winter season?

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    4. Yes, but it returns to its previous Square-Alum Chine route and timetable

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  27. Rumours that First are starting a new route in Southampton next month.So far however have seen nothing published about anything new starting next month

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    1. I would be precautious as it may just be a replacement for the now withdrawn service 40. However I would not be surprised if they did a shuttle service from Town Quay/Vincent’s Walk to General Hospital via Hill Lane and miss Shirley Precinct completely.

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    2. I have been told that Empress Road are to reiceve 7 15-Reg Streetlites from Hoeford and 7 buses are to arrive at Hoeford from Sheffield these are expected to be 16 reg Streetlites

      The driver who I was chatting to on the 3 from Fareham to Southsea told me he is one of the drivers who will be working overtime on Sunday to bring one of the buses down to Fareham

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    3. As I have said previously, it sounds like another red herring in the long line of rumours being spread to make their drivers stay with them. It would now be impossible to start a new service by September, as it has not been registered in time. I do believe that some 15 plate streetlites are on their way, but these will replace older vehicles. There really is nothing to see here, and no fightback looks possible. It's just prolonging the agony!

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    4. @Anon 9/8 00:56 - what agony is being prolonged? I think this is more wishful thinking. Both Bluestar and First struggle with recruitment, its the City economics very little to do with the company they work for. Although I believe the shortages at Bluestar do seem to be not managed very well from time to time.

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    5. Technically they could start a service in late September as the notice period to the traffic commissioner is only 42 days. Used to be 56 days to the commissioner and local authority, but now 70 days to the local authority and 42 days to the commissioner.

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    6. @anon @09:05 hurs - if that is true, why on earth has Bluestar announced a new route in advance of the minimum notice period - sounds like a school boy error isn't it - if true of course

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    7. First new route is set to be launched 22nd September according to management. We've get a notice saying a new route is coming but they won't tell us where its going. Also a couple of Solent Streetlites arrived at Empress Road this morning. Presumely some of the 7 due to arrive for the new route. A frequency increase is also planned for the 3.

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    8. I understand 47667 will soon be arriving as well

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    9. Ive heard rumors that 7 busrs are coming from the soon to be closed Bolton first depot to first southampton for the 3

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    10. A frequency increase for the 3.that's a joke they can't run it at the moment on it's present frequency.In fact most high frequency routes in Southampton whether run by First or Bluestar are just a joke.Even in the evenings between 1900 and 2100 most run erratic or just don't turn up.Far better using a Taxi even though it might cost a bit more.However if there are three of you sharing a Taxi in many cases it's a lot cheaper than the bus

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    11. It's the state of this city that makes them late all the time.

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    12. There is a new timetable for the First 3 from Sept 1,but I couldn`t see any change in frequency.It was on Traveline by the way.

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    13. If it is true that the newer buses are to be used on the three, it was well worth replacing all those old Volvo bus engines! Or is it a lie that they have all been upgraded to euro 6?

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    14. No newer buses for the 3. They've not long been upgraded to Euro 6. Every bus in the First Southampton fleet is now Euro 6 Spec.

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    15. New timetable for the 3? Only because of the roadworks in Thornhill this is. If you see above timetable said from 22/07-31/08, & new one from 01/09
      So that's all it is.

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    16. Engines on the volvos haven't been replaced. Just an upgrade to the current engines bringing to to euro 6 spec

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  28. I believe its 47665 - 47671 that are coming to Empress.

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    1. Are you a driver at First Southampton

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  29. I notice the frequency on Bluestar 18 gets a slight change weekdays from every 7-8 minutes to every 8-9 in September.Will anyone notice I very much doubt they will.Why not call it every 10 minutes and have done with it

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    1. Looks like this change was done around 1 year ago?
      Only the Mon-Fri School Holiday timetable has buses Every 7-8mins the rest of the time it is Every 8mins but Ecery 9mins during aternoon peak. I guess they use an 18 bus to cover an afternoon journey on something else

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    2. New City Red 1 service has been registered starting 22nd September.

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    3. They don't use an 18 bus for anything else. The slight frequency drop is just the effect of peak journeys taking longer.

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    4. The 1 route that is registered today is to do with Weymouth

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  30. Going to Calmore

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    1. I ceratinly would if First started running a frequent service there ;)

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  31. Ok, so First think they can make money by going straight into blue stronghold! Crazy misjudgement but they are so desperate that they have to do something I suppose. Plenty of non profit passholders who won't care what colour bus they get on. Brave decision and doubtless an uplifted frequency to follow almost immediately from Bluestar. Plenty of spare capacity between peaks to fill, so expect a price war here, as six pounds return is overpriced for the distance involved. If they have to, I will expect Bluestar to fend this off very quickly by extending the eight pound weekly to Totton.

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    1. Ok, assuming firstly that the rumours are true about First running to Calmore and is not just fake news.

      Not sure that Bluestar would increase the frequency of the 12, as that would mean the 11 would have to be increased too as they inter work. I think Bluestar would keep the frequency of the 12 the same, but instead have a special price ticket from Totton/Calmore to town.

      Also if First is running this new route, I can't see it being every 20 minutes, maybe 30 minutes as before when First went to Totton, it was just an hourly service.

      Myself, I'm still not too sure if First is starting any new routes.

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    2. Anon @16:26....lets just put your comment into reverse for a bit of fun!..."So Bluestar think they can make money in a CityRed strong hold (that’s operating service 19 by the way!) Bluestar are so desperate to do something with their new vehicles (which I assume were originally planned for elsewhere". ....Why a price war...don't forget Go South Coast like their big hefty fares - just take a look at the prices once you get outside of the city, Salisbury, Blandford, Swanage, and lets not forget the cherry on the top - of course its the Isle of Wight with the £10 day ticket and hardly any return fares!. So Bluestar can hardly get staff now - they have to staff the new service 19, they have to staff Unilink (which they cannot drop trips on), they have to staff National Express (which they cannot drop trips on) and they are also in a mess in Poole for staff - so even more of a mission for Bluestar to put even more buses on the road. Both operators have their good and bad points, but First tend to be marginally better at punctuality, while Bluestar do better at the razamatz. So my friend answer me this...why don't Bluestar already offer Totton as the Southampton City Ticket at £8 per week ??? Or include Eastleigh in the Southampton City Zone ticket...

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    3. Anon@19:23-If you think £10 for a southern Vectis day ticket is pricey then do what I do and load a bundle of 5 onto a key card for £26 which works out as £5.20 a day.

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    4. That`s almost half price for a Southern Vectis day pass-I`m on it.

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  32. A Lot of potential passengers in Totton would like the idea of First running in Totton and Calmore

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    1. Well when First ran in the Totton area a while ago they let the residents of Totton down very badly in gradually reducing the service until it became pointless.Most liked the through connection to the General Hospital which they took off.First like most things in the end put the kiss of death on everything.

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    2. The old First 10 was only an hourly service and not a direct route to Southampton City Centre, therefore it's no surprise very few people used it. Even in a hypothetical situation where one company operates a route four times as frequent and three times shorter than a competitor's, yet also charge twice as much, i'm sure most patronage would still take that route as they just want to get from A to B as quickly as possible.

      Even so, it's a shame that the direct link between Totton and the Hospital was lost. I think there could be some merit in Bluestar extending some route 17 journeys beyond Adanac Park to Totton to reinstate this link.

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    3. I believe there are/were talks between Councillors in Totton & Xelabus about a service between Totton and the General Hospital.

      I believe it awaits funding, which as I'm sure you're all aware, is very scarce.

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  33. Why would they when they have a bus every 20 minutes

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  34. Because the fares are extortionate....?

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    1. No more extortionate than in some other areas of the UK.Plenty of cheaper fares offered for regular users.If you don't like the fares get your own transport then you won't have to pay them

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  35. I could see first Extending the Southampton Plus ticket to Totton and Calmore should the new First service be running there.

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    1. That will never happen Reece.

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    2. Well Hedge End is under Southampton Plus and would make sense for Totton to be included on the Southampton Plus Ticket

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    3. The Bluestar Southampton Plus ticket is valid to Totton & Calmore, so should First want to hypothetically compete they too would need to cover it in their Plus ticket range to stand even the remotest of chances of winning any custom away from the guys & gals in blue!

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    4. A first bus route running to Calmore would do very well

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    5. What an earth makes you feel it would do well

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    6. I know passengers there would get cheap fares without a doubt

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  36. First running to Totton is the most ridiculous thing I ever saw in my life.

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    1. That did happen a very long time ago

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    2. Marginally less ridiculous than trying a route to Marchwood, but still a completely crazy move, unless they try routing it through Shirley, which would gain some custom, but alienate everyone going to town. It will be interesting for a while until they withdraw it, which is an absolute certainty, in my opinion.

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    3. Remeber First watersider Route 11 from Southampton to Hythe

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    4. @Claudio- Why is it the most ridiculous thing you ever saw in your life. Is it as ridiculous as Bluestar operating the 19 route - what benefit does the service 19 give to customers, except for more buses on the same route.

      @Anon @2251: A completely crazy move - why ? I assume both of you would rather see First close down Southampton; see Bluestar reduce the number of buses in the city, and from having a monopolistic approach see those fare rocket - same as Southern Vectis - is this good for the customer (after all thats what buses are for) - definitely not. Is it good for "Armchair Bus Operators" who have just want buses to ride on with one simple ticket to maximise their benefit with their hobby - yes of course, however, the "Armchair bus operator" benefits are insignificant compared to the customer benefits.

      Having said all this..no one has actually stated with evidence whether First have registered a new route or not ?

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    5. There hasn't been any First So'ton activity on VOSA since the amended 3 route due to roadworks... somebody is spinning a yarn on here, Chinese whispers, clutching at straws.

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    6. Let's not forget to that the Watersider 11 was a tendered service and not commercial - a sensible decision from First.

      People using the Isle of Wight as an example of Go South Coast hiking up fares when they have a monopoly are slightly misconstruing the point - Southampton is a highly urban area with plenty of short hop journeys.

      Whereas the Isle of Wight has basically a series of interurban routes - therefore passengers are onboard for longer (hence the higher fares). There's no reason to suggest that Bluestar would hike their fares (other than removing the £8 promo ticket).

      I do think that First running to Totton would be an odd, and possibly bad, decision on their part. I don't see how First could make that service viable, let alone profitable. Bluestar would defend Totton to the hilt, like they did with First's 11 to Hythe.

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    7. When I say it is a ridiculous idea I mean that it is impossible to compete with Bluestar in Totton, as Bluestar have a depot in Salisbury Road and they start and finish the day service in Totton, reducing drastically dead mileage. It is bad enough for First to start and finish the day service in Totton too, as the dead mileage would be much higher, hitting on profits.
      So if First operates a bus service to Totton (which I think it is ridiculous) it needs to have a different route than services 11 and 12, probably via the Hospital or doing a bigger circular, via Salisbury Road, Calmore Loop, left at Cooks Lane, left again at St. Anne’s Church (Calmore Road), passing Calmore Service Station, straight to Totton College and Water Lane back to Totton Town centre.

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    8. Adding that, if First do a bigger circular, they would conquer some patronage that works at Tatchbury Mount Hospital, reducing the walking to 10 minutes, instead of walking 15-20 min from the beginning of Calmore drive.

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    9. Nobody in Totton would want long circular routes tbh as people want to go the quickest way

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    10. Taking the start point at Embsley close, the 12 takes on average 17 minutes to get to Totton. The city red 1, by missing Morrison’s, would take 15 minutes, but if it includes Morrison’s it would take 19 minutes. So I don’t think it is that long. Reece I know the area better than you, I worked in Tatchbury Mount for 18 months.

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    11. All these estimations were based on the Bluestar 616, available here: http://www.travelinesoutheast.org.uk/se/XSLT_TTB_REQUEST?language=en&command=direct&net=swe&line=44616&sup=%20&itdLPxx_direction=H&project=y10&outputFormat=0&itdLPxx_displayHeader=false&itdLPxx_sessionID=EFA01_37310556&lineVer=3&itdLPxx_spTr=3&itdLPxx_operatorCodeForTTB=SQ (I added extra time comparing to this timetable). Check the timetable.

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    12. @Claudio: depot location has minimal effect on the network operated

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    13. It is completely different running from Calmore and from Southampton.

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    14. Anon if you go to Portsmouth you will notice some journies of First Solent 1 and 3 run dead back to Hoeford depot all the way from Portsmouth The Hard.

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  37. I reckon First will need to operate the City Red 1 with at least a 15 minute frequency if it is to be successful against Bluestar 12. If reliable enough, they could extend the route to West Totton Morrisons to take away patronage from the B*11 as well.

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  38. I keep saying that it is a bad move but in the numbering of first services they go west - east.
    So an eventual city red 1 will go west of Millbrook, and that is... Totton.
    It just makes sense.

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    1. There is no Cityred 1 and there`s not going to be so don`t let the wind-up merchants have a field day and move on.

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    2. There is a new registration on vosa under first Permit Holder: PH0006159

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  39. Do not be rude to me Claudio no one cares who's been in an area longer then others this is not a competition at the end of the day mate

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    1. Sorry mate I didn't intend to be rude.

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    2. I know you didn't I just want the best bus operation possible in areas like Totton mate and Calmore

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  40. Reece - Honestly, stop stirring up fake news!
    Nothing has been registered at all on the GOV.UK website, and no news from First Southampton's website.

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    1. Anonymous at 11:16
      I am sorry I have to defend Reece on this case.

      On VOSA, there is a new route registration under First Hampshire & Dorset. Their Permit Holder number is PH0006159.
      When you select “New”, you will see one bus route registered, however no start or finish points yet, and it will start from 22nd September, a Sunday.

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    2. I will when you stop farting

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  41. Check out the First Southampton Facebook page

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  42. Just seen Firstbus on Twitter teasing about a new City red coming soon...

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    1. All we know it is a city red 1. It is very likely to go to Totton because of the numbering pattern.

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    2. Drivers have told me that this is the case

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    3. Cant see how they can compete when Bluestar have so many different buses to Totton

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    4. Yes nothing exciting to get concerned about.Wonder how long it will last.Still it may well benefit Bluestar passengers in the Totton area with some reduced fares while it lasts

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  43. identical comment can be made about service 19 from Bluestar!

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