Totton Bus Wars

David By Bus Stop
David By Bus Stop

When I first heard news that a new company, operating red buses, started operating a new service in Totton, I thought “good news, more options and competition is good”.

However, I have changed my mind in the light of concerns expressed to me and witnessing for myself what is actually happening.

The new red bus service replicates exactly an existing service operated by Solent Blueline.

It adds nothing for passengers, except for the fact that we have buses picking up people on the same route every ten minutes or so.

The result, as you might imagine, is that we have lots of buses travelling along the same route from Calmore to Southampton, many of them empty or with only one or two passengers.

It’s definitely not in the public interest because the obvious intention is for one company to drive the other out of business.

I have even been told it is a “tit for tat” action because the blue buses have started operating in an area which was the domain of the other company.

I raised this at the Totton & Eling Town Council meeting tonight, asking the Chairman of the Planning & Transportation Committee to invite representatives from the two rival companies in to talk to us about why they are behaving like this.

It isn’t good for passengers, or the environment and frankly, it makes my blood boil that neither company are prepared to introduce a much needed direct service to Southampton General Hospital.

I am pleased to say that all my fellow Councillors agreed with me.

If nothing is done, one bus company will be driven out of business, the other will have a monopoly and we all know what happens when customers don’t have a choice!

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1 Comment

  1. David Wallis on Wednesday, October 30, 2019 at 7:23 pm

    David – this situation epitomises all that is wrong with bus privatisation and replicates what has happened in other parts of the country. This is indeed a ‘tit for tat’ move by First in retaliation for Blue Star introducing their new route 19 which competes directly with part of First’s well established No.3 route. Shirley Road has a surplus of busses with both companies running frequent services along it while parts of the City are left bereft of public transport. Both companies are at fault here. The local authorities seem incapable or unwilling to do anything about the problem and until either bus services are returned to public ownership or the local authorities are given the power to regulate services, the situation is unlikely to change. I agree that these companies should concentrate on filling in gaps in services, such as connecting Totton and surrounding areas with Shirley and the hospital or improving the lamentably poor service to/from Southampton during the evening.
    You will be aware of course of the sterling efforts of Neville Penman to introduce the much needed hospital service. Let’s hope he succeeds!

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