Sunday, 2 February 2014

Council check: Hampshire County Council

Each Sunday, we review how one local council promotes the bus services in its area. Today, we look at Hampshire County Council.

What happened to Bournemouth? Left in 1974, conquered by Dorset. Southampton? Divorced the county in 1997. Portsmouth? Same. But the rest is still there.

Where do the buses go?

We have a county-wide map, a selection of detailed local maps (although they don't cover all areas) and some local timetable books, again covering selected areas only. It's a lot more than what some councils provide. Services can change often, so the maps are occasionally out of date, but not normally for too long. I'm feeling generous: 5 out of 5.


Council-issued timetable books cover most of the county, but Fareham and Gosport are obvious exemptions. To fill in the gaps, you're left to your own devices to find timetables on the operators' websites or on Traveline South West, which does its job quite well. this was so nearly a 5 but the fact that some areas' timetables are left out drags Hampshire's score in this category down to 3 out of 5.


No info on single fares or on operators' own tickets. Operators' websites vary in how much fares info they give. There is no ticket valid on all buses in the county, but the southern half does have the Solent Travelcard, also valid in the breakaway cities of Southampton and Portsmouth. The link is rather hidden though: you won't find it on the Public Transport page of the council's website. Rather, you need the Public, Community & School Transport page to find out about it and also to see the link to Plusbus, which covers several areas of the county: Aldershot, Basingstoke, Eastleigh, Fareham, Farnborough, Havant & Winchester. Considering what's on offer, the information could be made a lot clearer. 2 out of 5.


So we have a good range of maps, timetables for almost everywhere in the county but little fares information even though some very good value tickets do exist. Hampshire County Council scores a total of 10 out of 15.


  1. Ten rescued as wave strands bus in Newgale, Pembrokeshire

  2. I've always found Hampshire County Coucil to be pretty good with timetables for it's area. Pity Southampton City Council could not do a comprehensive timetable which included all operators instead of having to hunt around for certain operators timetables,and even then sometimes with no luck. As you state shame Gosport and Fareham are not included however Firstbus do their own timetable book for this area that's if you can find one apart from going either to Fareham or Gosport enquiry office.The Firstbus travel shop in Southampton seems not acknowledge that this area exists in any form.

  3. That Firstbus Southampton & Fareham/Gosport "divorce" also applies to the services. The Southampton timetable book shows a service 8B running to Botley from Hedge End in the evenings (it's a contract thing). However it does not show First service 26 that links Hedge End & Botley with Fareham & runs during the day. Service 26 in Fareham/Gosport booklet. 8B in Southampton booklet. NO mention of either service in the other timetable booklet!!!

    1. Yes, it want's a dam good shake up

  4. Traditionally in certain areas HCC came to arrangement with the dominant operator for them to include timetables of other operators in their local books. There was a deal with Solent Blue Line for the Eastleigh & Hedge End area & First in the Fareham & Gosport area, I know SBL declined to continue the deal with one of the local councils then issuing replacement books themselves - they weren't in the same style, and were from a different supplier, compared to the standard HCC product so not sure if they came from HCC or Eastleigh Borough Council who are unusually pro-active in their bus services compared to most Borough Councils. I'm not sure if First still have such a deal for Fareham & Gosport but since only First serve Gosport & there is a single Stagecoach service from Fareham it may explain why HCC still don't duplicate the existing First booklets. The only downside in this was as they were operator publications they weren't available as downloads on the HCC website. There has been a similar deal apparent previously in Basingstoke with a non-standard booklet for this area also appearing over time. Interestingly, from a bus user perspective Fareham & Gosport have always been a little separate from the rest of the council, when free fares came in Fareham & Gosport declined to join the county administered scheme and ran their own (conversely Portsmouth which as a unitary is not part of Hampshire joined the wider county scheme) though this has changed now the scheme has been transferred to the county councils rather than Boroughs.


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