Midnight Don Palm
Most of the bus services provided by First in Portsmouth, Southsea, Waterlooville, Paulsgrove, Gosport and Fareham are changing from Sunday 18th November, with many old routes and service numbers replaced with entirely new ones.
Marc Reddy, Regional Commercial and Business Growth Director for First in the South West and Wales, says:
“The current bus network in Portsmouth and the wider East Hampshire area has evolved bit by bit over several years largely since buses were deregulated in the 1980s.
"While it works to an extent, we feel that our network is overly complicated with buses running, in some places, at irregular frequencies, and following complicated routes, with many different variations operating at different times of the day and night.
"While advances have been made with things like the new BRT Eclipse Service in Gosport and Fareham and the development of the new X4 service between Portsmouth and Southampton, as a whole we don’t think the network currently meet the needs of those people who want and need to travel by bus in this area in the twenty first century.
“To address these issues we’re taking what we would consider to be quite a bold step. Instead of continually tweaking individual routes, we have instead taken a step back, wiped the slate clean and developed something which we think will offer people what they need and which better matches the demand for travel overall.
“To design the new network we've taken into account what we know about our customers and potential new customers. For instance we know that the majority of people these days want to be able to walk out of their house and know that a bus will be along shortly.
"They don’t want to consult timetables before they go, but instead they want to be able to rely on high frequency buses to get them to school, work or leisure destinations.
"They want timetables that are easy to understand and which follow regular patterns – for instance providing a bus every 10, 15 or 20 minutes, rather than at peculiar intervals.
“We think our new network, which will be fully unveiled over the coming weeks, will deliver this."
Some of the key features of the changes are:
Specifics of the changes in East Hampshire:
While Services 4/4A/X4, 15, 19/19A, 26, 52, 145, 649, 651/ 652, X40, X41 and E1/E2 will remain as they are, the following services will all change: 1/1A/1C, 3, 4, 5/5A, 6/6A, 8, 9, 11/11A, 12, 13 14, 16A, 17/18, 28, 33, 34, 35, 36, 40, 41, 45/45A, 53, 63, 83, 85, 87/87A, 88, 93/93A, 94/94A, 95/95A, X42, X88. Instead of these the following will be created:
Service 0: A new Service 0 will be created. Operating between Hilsea / Tipner, North End, Copnor Bridge, Southsea and Fratton it will provide a link between most parts of Portsea Island with St Mary’s Hospital, and will also establish a new link between Tipner and Fratton. Buses will run every 30 minutes in each direction during the day (Monday to Saturday), and every 60 minutes in each direction on Sundays and weekday evenings.
Service 1: Operating between The Hard, the City Centre, Fratton, Eastney, Highlands Road, South Parade Pier, Southsea and Old Portsmouth, buses will run every 10 minutes during the day (Monday to Saturday), every 20 minutes on Sundays and every 30 minutes during the evening. It will offer a frequent service linking a number of the main shopping districts, and evening journeys will be timed to connect with both the arrival and departure of the Gosport Ferry.
Service 2: Serving The Hard, the City Centre, Albert Road, Eastney, Copnor, Hilsea, Cosham, the QA Hospital, Paulsgrove and Hillsley Road, buses will operate every 10 minutes during the day (Monday to Saturday), every 20 minutes on Sundays and every 30 minutes during the evening. There will be a direct link between St Mary’s Hospital and the QA Hospital and evening journeys will be timed to connect with both the arrival and departure of the Gosport Ferry.
Service 3/3A: Buses will operate between The Hard, the City Centre, Lake Road, North End, Hilsea, Cosham, the QA Hospital, Paulsgrove, Portsdown Inn / Portchester, with some journeys on Service 3 extended to Fareham, via White Hart Lane and journeys on 3A extended to Fareham via North Portchester. Buses will run every 10 minutes during the day Monday to Saturday (every 20 minutes to Fareham on Service 3, and hourly on Service 3A), every 20 minutes on Sundays (hourly to Fareham) and every 30 minutes during the evening (hourly to Fareham). As a result the frequency of buses serving Portsdown Inn will be improved, while regular journeys will also operate between Fareham and the QA Hospital and between Paulsgrove and The Hard – responding to passenger demand for services in these areas. In addition the combination of Services 2 and 3/3A will collectively improve the frequency of buses between Paulsgrove and Cosham as a whole, with buses running along common sections of the route every five minutes during the day Monday – Saturday.
Service 5/5A: Serving Gosport, Cherque Farm, Lee-on-the-Solent, Stubbington, Greyshott Avenue and Fareham, the new Service 5 will follow the same route as the current Service 34. Taken in tandem with the new Service 5A though, which will operate between Fareham, Greyshott Avenue, Stubbington and Hill Head, customers will find buses between Stubbington and Fareham running every 30 minutes during the day.
Service 6: Running between Highlands, Fareham, Asda, Cherque Farm, Lee-on-the-Solent and Gosport, Service 6 will operate every 30 minutes Monday – Saturday. On Sundays buses will run hourly between Fareham and Gosport only. The introduction of this route vastly improves the frequency of buses to Lee-on-the-Solent as, when seen in combination with the existing Service 4 (Gosport - Warsash - Southampton) and the new Service 5/5A (as detailed above), it will increase the number of buses serving the area (from three buses an hour to four buses an hour). The new Service 6 will also provide a direct link from Highlands to Asda, Lee-on-the-Solent, the War Memorial Hospital and Gosport, and will connect more effectively with the ferry service.
Service 6A: Operating between Highlands and Fareham, the new Service 6A will combine much of the existing Services 95 and 95A. It will run in the opposite direction to Service 6 and will help to maintain a 15 minute frequency of buses to and from Highlands.
Service 7/7C: Operating between South Parade Pier, Southsea, the University of Portsmouth, the city centre, Lake Road, North End, Cosham, Crookhorn, Waterlooville and Wecock Farm, Service 7 will be the new number assigned to what is, at present, Service 40. Buses will operate every 10 minutes during the day (Monday to Saturday), every 20 minutes on Sundays and every 30 minutes during the evening. The changes constitute an improvement in frequency from one bus every 15 minutes, to one bus every 10 minutes. When taken in conjunction with the new Service 3 the two routes will offer a combined frequency of one bus every five minutes between Cosham, North End and the City Centre. Additionally Service 7C will also provide a dedicated link between South Downs College and Cosham, running every half an hour during the college day.
Service 8: Serving The Hard, the City Centre, Stamshaw, Cosham, Waterlooville, Cowplain, Horndean and Clanfield, the new service 8 will operate every 15 minutes during the day Monday to Saturday and every 20 minutes on Sundays. In the evenings buses will run every 30 minutes between The Hard and Cosham, extending to Clanfield on an hourly basis.
Service 9/9A: A new Service 9/9A is being created to serve West End, Fareham, Bridgemary, Rowner, Alverstoke, Elson and Gosport. Buses will operate every 15 minutes during the day (Monday – Saturday) along core sections of the route, with buses running every 30 minutes on Sundays and during the evening. The changes mean that a new link between Alverstoke and Fareham is being created, and that the frequency of buses between Rowner and Fareham will improve, from one bus every 30 minutes at present, to one bus every 15 minutes from 18 November onwards.
Service X9: Running between The Hard, the City Centre, along the M275, to the QA Hospital, to Purbrook, Waterlooville, Denmead and Hambledon, the new Service X9 will provide a fast, frequent connection six days a week. Designed to appeal to commuters and those who want to get in and out of the city quickly, buses will operate every 30 minutes throughout the day (Monday – Saturday). Every other journey will be extended to serve Hambledon, giving residents there an hourly service. Service X9 won’t operate during the evenings or on Sundays.
Service 10: Serving Fareham, Bridgemary, Rowner Road, Spring Garden Lane and Gosport buses on this service will operate on an hourly basis Monday – Saturday daytime. The route, which will run in addition to the highly successful and popular Eclipse BRT service, which operates close by, is intended to complement the other bus routes in the area – specifically Services E1 and E2 – and give people a choice over which service they catch. The company considers though that majority of commuters will prefer to catch services E1 and E2 if they wish to travel to Gosport or Fareham though.
Service 11: A new Service 11 is being created to serve Fareham, Royal Clarence Yard and Gosport. Operating via the A32, buses will operate hourly during the day Monday – Saturday. The route will work in conjunction with Service 10 (detailed above) to provide buses every 30 minutes between Gosport and the Brockhurst Roundabout though. The creation of the service establishes a new bus link between Royal Clarence Yard and Fareham.
Service 12: Operating under contract to Portsmouth City Council this service will provide a link between Port Solent, Paulsgrove, the QA Hospital, Cosham and Highbury. Buses on Service 12 will operate every 30 minutes throughout the day Monday – Saturday and hourly on Sundays.
Service 13/14: Following the route of the existing Service 13/14 there will be fewer changes here for customers to get used to. Service 13 will continue to serve the City Centre, Fratton, Milton, St Mary’s Hospital while Service 14 will operate between The Hard, the City Centre, Arundel Street, North End, Copnor Bridge and Baffins. The frequency of buses will change slightly though as both services will run every 30 minutes Monday – Saturday daytime, and every hourly on Sundays from 18 November. The change in frequency represents a slight reduction (from one bus every 20 minutes to one bus every 30 minutes) for people who currently use the existing Service 14.
Service 16: Operating on Sundays only, under contract to Portsmouth City Council, Service 16 will serve The Hard, Old Portsmouth, Clarence Pier, South Parade Pier, Eastney and the Hayling Ferry on an hourly basis. Buses will no longer serve Commercial Road South on this route (as the current Service 16A does) but instead customers wishing to travel to that part of Portsmouth will need to change buses at The Hard to connect with any of the following: Services 1, 2 or 3.
Service 20: Serving Fareham, Highlands, Funtley, Knowle and Wickham, Service 20 will be the new number assigned to what is, at present, Service 94/94A. Buses will, however, follow a slightly revised route from the current Service 94/94A calling at Knowle Village on all journeys before travelling on from Knowle to Wickham via the A32. The frequency of buses will remain roughly the same, with buses running hourly throughout the day Monday – Saturday. Notably one morning and afternoon journey will be extended to serve Wickham School, as per the current arrangement.
Service 21: Serving Fareham, Newgate Lane, Stubbington and Hill Head, Service 21 will cover what is, at present, Service 33. It will operate during the off peak only (ie between circa 0920 and 1905 hours Monday to Friday).
Service 22: Serving Farlington, Drayton, Cosham and on an alternate basis either Medina Road or the QA Hospital, Leominster Road and Paulsgrove Shops, this new service will provide a regular, half hourly service (Monday – Saturdays) along common sections of the route. On Sundays buses will operate between Farlington and Paulsgrove Shops only, running hourly throughout the day.
Service 28: Taking into account customer feedback First is amending its existing Service 28 route, which operates between Fareham, Highlands, Whiteley and Locks Heath, and is extending the route to also serve Warsash. In doing this it has also included a loop around Church Road (taking into account the local residents’ requests for it to do so) and similarly has created some journeys that operate both earlier and later in the day than at present. Overall the frequency of buses remains roughly the same with buses running every two hours during the day Monday – Saturday.
Last minute changes to the original plans:
Service 2 (Gunwharf - City Centre - Eastney - Copnor - Cosham – Paulsgrove via Albert Road - St Mary's Hospital - Hilsea - QA Hospital - Paulsgrove Shops): An additional Sunday morning journey, from The Hard to the QA Hospital at 0633, has been added into the timetable to provide staff working at the hospital with an easier way of getting there in time for early morning shifts. This change was made following customer feedback and, having already been approved by the Traffic Commissioner, will be introduced on 18 November
Additionally on Service 2 the company has sought the approval of the Traffic Commissioner to operate an additional journey from the QA Hospital to Cosham, Eastney, Southsea and the City Centre departing at 1745 hours. This journey has been created to respond to the needs of shift workers. It has also sought to introduce an additional journey from Portsmouth City Centre to the QA Hospital (travelling via Eastney, Copnor and Cosham) departing at 0558 hours. This journey specifically designed for staff starting early morning shifts at the hospital. The company hopes to be able to introduce these journeys on 18 November but this remains subject to the Traffic Commissioner’s approval.
Service 6A/6B/6C/6D (Highlands - Fareham Circular Services): In order to improve the service for people living in the Hill Park, Maylings Farms and Highlands area of Fareham, a number of additional route variations are being created. This means that people will be able to travel easily in both directions between Hill Park, Highlands, Frosthole Crescent, the local shops, Fareham Railway Station and Fareham Town Centre. Service 6 between Fareham, Lee-on-the-Solent and Gosport remains unchanged.
Service 9 (West End - Fareham - Bridgemary - Rowner – Gosport via Hoeford, Alverstoke and Haslar) and Service 9A (Fareham - Bridgemary - Rowner - Gosport): One journey in the morning – the 0812 from Fareham to Gosport - and one journey in the afternoon – the 1515 from Gosport to Fareham - is being amended to travel via Browndown Road and Gomer Lane . This change is being made to give students travelling to and from Bay House School and Rowner with a means of getting there by bus.
Service 10 (Gosport - Brockhurst - Bridgemary – Fareham, via Brockhurst Road - BRT - Fareham Rail Station): An additional early morning journey to Gosport Ferry has been added into the Monday - Friday timetable for this service. Specifically the new 0517 journey from Nobes Avenue Shops to the Gosport Ferry, arriving at 0543, will provide earlier first connections for customers wishing to travel between Gosport and Portsmouth. This change is currently subject to the approval of the Traffic Commissioner – which the company hopes will be granted in time for the 18 November changes.
For more information about First in Hampshire and Dorset or to view current – or forthcoming timetables - log onto: www.firstgroup.com/hampshire. Information about the company can also be found on its Facebook page, which is www.facebook.com/FirstHampshire.
For independent help and advice planning journeys by bus customers can use Traveline, calling them on 0871 200 2233 or logging onto www.travelinesw.com