Wednesday, 21 June 2017

The Whys and Wherefores of Whiteley (3)

Contrast and Compare
Mr Hammond says there has been no publicity for the W2 between Warsash and Whiteley.
Clive, who has visited Whiteley, says there is absolutely nothing at the shopping areas to show even the existence of buses.
If you can be bothered, there is an entry for the W1 in First's "news" section ...
... dating from June 2016. Hot news from First!

The best that can be found on the Whiteley community pages is this ...
... again wildly out of date.

Searching on line reveals the launch of a "Whiteley Shuttle" ...
... but that dates from 2014.

A lunchtime Shuttle service costing £25,000 has begun a one-year pilot trial providing residents with a vital lifeline into the centre of a Hampshire village. Whiteley Shopping has fully funded the service for a one-year trial period run by bus operator First. Eight services will run between 11.50am and 2.30pm on weekdays via the Solent Business Park and Yew Tree Drive using 15 existing bus stops. The service starts and ends at Whiteley Tesco.

And you are right - it didn't last!

Both W1 and W2 are "supported" by funding from the Shopping Centre, so you might expect significant publicity from them. Immediately obvious on line is this uninspiring panel ...
... printed in contrasting shades of grey on grey. Grey is currently trendy in advertising.

There is a more enterprising page ...
... which popped up as fbb was searching for "W2"; but he could not find it on the current Whiteley web site.

Recently, this blog took its loyal and avidly excited readers (?) to Rushden Lakes shopping centre. This is not yet "officially" open but some of the shops are already trading. 

Local bus operator Stagecoach has announced its service revision from 23rd July. The details are on-line (of course - everything is except when it isn't) but something wonderful is already available. Here is how it arrived at fbb mansions last week - please note OVER ONE MONTH before services start.
Hmm. Northampton correspondent Alan is such a hoot! But here is the booklet ...
... 31 pages of the 36 carry useful bus information, the remaining five are designed to make Rushden Lakes look fantastic. (yawn!) There is an excellent route diagram, explaining what runs where with great clarity.
Each locality served by buses diverted to the "Lakes" has a double page spread. Verso shows a departure list, a map of the stops and, wowsers, fares ...
... recto has the return departures all nicely colour coded to match the colours on the map. This does mean that the highly detailed map of the wide selection of bus stops within Rushden Lakes is repeated twelve times.
This cartographic overkill ensures, however, that travel options for any particular community are all there on a double spread of open pages.

It is hardly worth asking how this compares with Whiteley.

It doesn't.

Why the difference? One possible answer is that it was relatively easy to divert the Stagecoach routes into the Shopping Centre. Through journeys were not delayed significantly and the extra cost is probably limited to the new service 14 covering the bits of X46/X47 lost be the diversion.

Diverting, say, the through buses between Southampton and Portsmouth and Fareham via Whiteley would have an obviously detrimental effect on costs and running time.
The X5 already wanders round Warsash and the X4 via Titchfied. Whiteley is the grey lump between the A3051 and M27 labels and, realistically, there is nothing else to go that way.

The Saturday only W1 and W2 are, fbb guesses, fairly cheap to provide but, as our correspondents and letter writers aver, poorly promoted. Sadly for the environment and the bus industry, the easiest way to get to Whiteley will always be by car.

A brave bus company might add half hourly buses to the X4 and X5 complex creating a bus every ten minutes between Southampton and Fareham ...
... continuing alternately via Whiteley to Portsmouth and Gosport.

But First Bus has rarely been brave!

Meanwhile, back at Rushden lakes, time alone will tell if the bus business is there. It will be interesting to see how it all goes when the novelty wears off.
Killer Cat Returns to Terrorise Peterville
"Please don't be cross," says Jacko, "it is the coolest place to snooze on the hottest day of the year so far!"
 Next Queensferry blog : Thursday 22nd June 


  1. Andrew Kleissner21 June 2017 at 07:05

    Even though it was primarily sited to catch car traffic from the M1 and the North Crcular Road, Brent Cross in London has always been well served by public transport, indeed the tube station (which is actually a bit of a trek from the centre) was renamed specially. And today at least the basic info. is easy to find:

  2. Whiteley falls into a no man's land between Southampton and the Fareham/Gosport area. The Botley, Bursledon, Hamble area is I believe part of the Eastleigh Borough Council area of Hampshire and timetable details of services in that area are in the Eastleigh timetable book produced by the County Council (last edition I have is Oct 2016). The area to the East of the River Hamble does not feature in any Hampshire booklet but is left to First and its booklets. Presumably because they are the only bus operator and they would otherwise be duplicating one another.

    The most recent First booklets I have are Southampton (Sep 2016) and Fareham (April 2016). Both naturally include the X4 and X5 but have no mention of the Whiteley services. They are the books I use as a guide when visiting the area.

    Some of the family live the other side of Southampton Water in Hythe and we often spent time there. Whilst the Hythe Pier Tramway office does sometimes have bus information often it does not. A visit at the end of April found nothing or in the nearby Library/Information Point who said they hadn't had any bus timetables for a long time. With an imminent holiday period I wondered how they would attract anyone?

    Most big shopping centres have an information desk. The those at Lakeside usually had some bus information. Hempstaed Valley and Medway Dockyard both used to - provided it was supplied by the operator/council. Now there is nothing.

    1. It is part Fareham Borough Council and part Winchester Borough Council. Winchester wraps around Eastleigh.

  3. Just for the record I have today received a copy of the new edition of the Hants CC New Forest bus timetable booklet (11 June 2017). But will I see any copies when we visit again this weekend?

  4. Interestingly you didn't pick up on the major development of 3,500 dwellings at Whiteley which was given planning permission fairly recently and which, as part of the deal, will change bus services in Whiteley beyond all recognition.

    At the moment Whiteley is a cul de sac with the only real access over M27 J9. This will end when a new spine road links the top of Whiteley Way with the A3051 north of Curbridge.

    As a result it is planned that new, more frequent, bus services will run on the Fareham to Hedge End corridor which will replace service 28A.