Thursday, 13 November 2014

Cuts latest: Boyatt Wood boost / Solent Go launches city multi-operator ticket

More details have emerged about the cuts being imposed by Hampshire County Council. They will take effect from Sunday 4th January 2015. Initial details in this previous post. These are the details that are new:

Bluestar have already released new timetables for the 5 and 6. The 5 is extended to Boyatt Wood, replacing the E1 and E2, a shrivelled up version of which is moving to another, yet to be revealed, operator. Boyatt Wood's half-hour frequency will now last for most of the day, which is a frequency increase.

More have released the new timetables for the X1, X2 and 119. There will no longer be any buses between Lymington and Bournemouth on Sundays.

Xelabus have given details of the changes to their services, but the timetables are not out yet. The C3, C4 and X7 are merged into a new X6/X7 service. The X4 will no longer serve Fleming Park in the evenings. The X1, X2 anxd X3 get new timetables too. The X5 has some early changes on 24th November.

In other news, you've no doubt spotted that the multi-operator Solent Travelcard has become Solent Go, but the regional ticket price has remained the same. From Sunday, a Southampton City Solent Go will be available for £5. Valid within the city boundary plus to West End, it will allow you to travel on the buses of any operator without having to pay for the full regional Solent Go ticket.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Hampshire County Council cuts: details of routes affected

Hampshire County Council are yet again slashing their budget for subsidised bus services and have revealed the next wave of services to be cut as part of the Tories' war on the bus passenger.

The full dossier of shame can be viewed in disgust here. Here are the cuts to come in our part of the world:

  • Xelabus C3/C4: HCC wanted to cut these to just three days a week, but Xelabus has offered to keep running them six days a week on a revised route for a reduced subsidy.

  • Bluestar E1/E2: These routes will be retendered at a lower cost, so they could move to another operator and/or the fares will rise.

  • First H1/H2: These Hythe local services will be cut back to three days a week. They might also switch to another operator.

  • Bluestar T1/T2: These Totton local services will be axed.

  • Bluestar T3/T4: These routes between Totton and Cadnam will be cut back to three days a week, ending the era of daily weekday public transport for Cadnam, Bartley and Winsor. Tatchbury Mount Hospital will also have no public transport for four days a week.

  • More X1/X2: Some journeys between Lymington and Bournemouth will be cut.

  • Salisbury Reds X7: Some journeys will be cut, due to funding cuts from both Hampshire and Wiltshire councils.

  • Bluestar 5: Some journeys will be cut between Eastleigh and Romsey.

  • Bluestar 6: Some journeys between Southampton and Lymington will be cut. The Sunday service will probably disappear completely, leaving Lyndhurst cut off. Why on earth they don't consider a shuttle service between Brockenhurst and Ashurst railway stations via Lyndhurst, timed to connect with trains, is beyond me. 

  • First 6: The half of Sunday journeys between Hamble and Southampton that are subsidised will be axed, leaving an hourly commercial frequency.

  • Brijan 7 & 8: The Saturday frequency will be halved to one bus every 2 hours, making it more difficult for tourists to visit Bishops Waltham.

  • Bluestar 8/9: The peak-hour extensions beyond Fawley to Calshot will be cut.

  • First 8: Likely to be cut back from Hedge End and Botley in 2015 as developer funding for the extension beyond West End expires and HCC will not allocate any money to keeping this part of the route going.

  • Bluestar 11: The peak-hour extensions to Cadnam will be withdrawn.

  • Brijan 15: To be cut back to off-peak only, three days a week. It currently runs six days a week with peak-hour journeys. To get between Hamble & Hedge End on the days when the 15 will no longer run will now mean a change of buses between First 6 and Bluestar 3 in Woolston.

  • Brijan 17: The Saturday service will be cut, leaving this route running on Wednesdays only. Good news for car dealers in the Meon Valley.

  • First 26: This route between Hedge End and Fareham will be axed, ending all public transport to Curbridge and Burridge.

  • Salisbury Reds 34, 35 & 39: These could face cuts, depending on what Salisbury Reds decide to do with the commercial part of the X7. HCC have deferred a final decision.

  • Stagecoach 46: Cut back to run between Winchester and North Baddesley only, with some journeys cut. Many areas will lose their direct link with Southampton General Hospital. From North Baddesley, passengers for the General will need to change to Bluestar 4 to Lordshill and then change again to First 3 or 12 or Velvet S1.

  • More 118: This Wednesday-only service from Lymington to Ringwood is being axed.

  • More 119: The Saturday service between Lymington and New Milton will be cut. The off-peak weekday service will still run.

We'll let you the date from which these cuts take effect as soon as it has been announced.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Freebies on route 66 / Bluestar Xmas times

Stagecoach's new timetable and route on the 66 between Romsey and Winchester started today. To celebrate the introduction of evening and Sunday journeys to the route, Stagecoach are giving free evening (after 7pm) and Sunday (all day) travel on route 66 from 2nd to 30th November inclusive.

Someone at Stagecoach has forgotten how many days there are in November.

In addition, local journeys within Romsey are free at all times from 2nd to 8th November inclusive. Quite what counts as "within Romsey" is not specified, so you'll need to ask Stagecoach about that one. See the new timetable here. They have also released a new, much clearer map of the route the new 66 takes in Romsey:

Most journeys will run via either the blue or red route. The orange route is served by a couple of peak hour buses per day on weekdays only.

Bluestar and Unilink have already released their Christmas and New Year bus times, which includes the usual skeleton service on major Bluestar routes (1, 2, 4, 9, 12, 16, 18) on Boxing Day and New Year's Day. Full details here. As more operators reveal their plans, we'll compile them all into one helpful list and of course we'll have the usual daily postings throughout the festive period with comprehensive details of the timetables in operation at all local bus companies each day. Watch this space.

In other news, Hampshire County Council are expected to confirm details of more bus subsidy cuts tomorrow. Evening and Sunday services will be worst hit, but we also hear that First 26 between Hedge End and Fareham is to be cut completely. More as those details are released.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

13 cut back from Central Station / Romsey revamp

From this, in First's timetable booklet...

First 13 is being cut back from Monday 27th October, so that it will no longer serve Central Station. Merry Oak and Harefield will therefore lose their direct link to Central Station, but can still use the 13 to catch the train from Woolston, or change at Woolston to the three, which still runs through to Central Station. Details here and new timetable here. this, courtesy of Traveline.

From the same day, Stagecoach is revamping its routes in Romsey. The 32 and 33 will disappear and be replaced with an enhanced 66 running all the way to Winchester every half hour Mon-Sat daytimes. The Cupernham parts of the 32 and 33 routes will be covered by alternate journeys on the new 66. The new timetable is buried on Stagecoach's website, but can be found on Traveline. The 36 is not affected.

The 66's new route in Romsey, according to Traveline. So that's clear, then. It's a bit easier to understand on Stagecoach's website.

As many commenters on this blog have already remarked, Xelabus have a new website and it is a huge improvement on what they had before. It is now far simpler and easier to use and features route maps.

Don't forget that Gardbus 139, until now a Sunday-only service, now also runs on Saturdays.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Freight train forced to halt by bus on level crossing

A freight train was forced to stop by a First bus that was stationary on a yellow box at a level crossing on Canute Road near Ocean Village.

The drama was caught on camera by a teenager from Hythe, who passed the footage to the Echo. See the full story and video here.

First are now investigating why their driver stopped on the yellow box, which is highly dangerous and a violation of the Highway Code.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Wheelers W2 is no more

Wheelers W2 ran for the last time today. It has run since 18th November 2013.

The most direct route between the city centre and the General Hospital is now once again First three.

Stagecoach 46 still connects the General with Valley Park and Hiltingbury.

Valley Park and Hiltingbury no longer have a direct link to Southampton. The nearest direct route is Bluestar 1 through Chandlers Ford.

Monday, 8 September 2014

First roadshow / Xelabus X4 rerouted / Gardbus 139 to run on Saturdays

First have held a few public 'Meet The Manager' sessions recently and another is to follow this coming Saturday 13th September at the Bargate between 0900 and 1600. Full details here.

Xelabus X4 was due to be rerouted from 17th September but it looks like that has been brought forward to today. The change is in Hedge End: Wildern Lane is no longer served with all X4 buses in both directions running via Turnpike Way and Upper Northam Road. No mention of this on Xelabus's website, but the new route and timetable are on Traveline. To confuse things even more, First A on Sundays is sticking to its existing route via Wildern Lane. Here's a helpful map of how Xelabus X4 now runs in Hedge End:

I've edited this map, the original of which is from

Thanks to PAC for leaving a comment to draw my attention to that one and also to the fact that Gardbus 139 will start running on Saturdays from 11th October. It currently runs on Sundays only and provides the only bus link between Southampton and Ringwood, plus an alternative to Salisbury Reds X7 for visitors to Paulton's Park. Here's the new timetable, which applies from Sunday 5th October: again

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Guilty but free - thanks to purple 'Get out of jail free' card

Adam Smith, also known as Paul Jones, would be in jail today were it not for the fact that he owns Velvet buses.

Adam Smith/Paul Jones's picture taken from Buses Excetera's website

As the Daily Echo reports, he first denied but later pleaded guilty to handling counterfeit banknotes.

A 16-month jail sentence was suspended for 2 years because people's jobs at Velvet depended on him and because Velvet owes £140,000 in tax, which it would be unlikely to be able to pay back had Smith/Jones been jailed. He will have to do 150 hours community service and pay £700 of genuine money in costs and surcharges.

Smith/Jones claimed that Velvet was in good hands, but admitted that he had been "stupid".

Velvet ceased trading on 16th July under the ownership of its founder, Phil Stockley, and would have entered receivership had Smith/Jones not bought it just days later, enabling its buses to resume operation.