- Solent Blue Line
Solent Blue Line is the internal and official legal company name of a bus company operating in central
Hampshire, England. Originally the name that the company traded under, from 25 February 2008, all of its bus services were rebranded and now operate under the Bluestar brand. To the public, the Solent Blue Line name has disappeared.
Solent Blue Line was started by
Southern Vectisin 1987. Along with Southern Vectis, they were purchased by the Go-Ahead Groupin 2004.
Since late 2005, the management and head office functions of Solent Blue Line, Southern Vectis and Go-Ahead's existing
Wilts & Dorsetoperation have been consolidated at Wilts & Dorset's Pooleheadquarters, as part of the Go South Coastdivision.
On 24 October 2006, Solent Blue Line acquired Marchwood Motorways (Southampton) Limited and Marchwood Motorways (Services) Limited (together, "Marchwood Buses") for £3.0m, with the assumption of £1.4m of net debt at completion.
After the withdrawral of the Red Rocket brand on 25 February 2008, all of the company's services began to run under the Bluestar brand, with the exception of the
New Forest Tour.
Solent Blue Line services ran under a number of brand names. On 25 February 2008, service changes meant that most services now run under the Bluestar brand.
Originally a brand for the premier Solent Blue Line routes, in 2008 the majority of Solent Blue Line routes were changed to trade under the Bluestar name.
Please see the main article for route details.
This is an express coach link between
Portsmouthand Southampton. This service was originally run by Southampton City Bus and later First in Hampshire and Dorsetas services 727 and 747. It has had a number of other operators since, prior to the Solent Blue Line attempt it was branded as the Solent Clipper and run by Tellings-Golden Miller, they retained part of the original Southampton City Bus route numbers with the services becoming X27 and X47. The SBL service was due to terminate on 2 June 2007 due to financial funding from the local councils being taken away, but it is now being continued due to popular demand, with a revised timetable from 2 July 2007. The Solent Blue Line name change to Bluestar has not greatly affected the service, with it still operating as it did before, just with details now in Bluestar publicity
The New Forest Tour
This circular open-top bus service was started in 2004, using distinctively branded yellow and orange
Bristol VRs (in the same livery as the old Southern Vectisopen-top services.) The service was reversed in 2005, to run in the opposite direction. For the 2006season, two low-floor Volvo B7TL/ East Lancs Myllenniums from Wilts & Dorsetwere used, retaining the Wilts & Dorset livery but with 'New Forest Tour' vinyls added. In 2007 the buses passed to Solent Blue Lineand were repainted in a new green and orange livery, with ponies on the side. Again, this is similar to the Southern Vectislivery which that company uses on their open-top buses. As with the Solent Shuttle, the Solent Blue Line name change to Bluestar has not greatly affected the service either, the only change being that details of the service now appear on the Bluestar website.
On 20 March 2008, Solent Blue Line announced to its staff that it had received notification from
Southampton Universitythat they intend to award the company the contract to operate the Uni-link service. Solent Blue Line took over the service at the start of the 2008/09 academic year. Solent Blue Line intends to run Uni-link as a separate unit within the company.
Red Rocket was launched on 3 September 2006 and was a high frequency network centred on
Eastleigh, extending to Winchesterin the north and Hamblein the south. Red Rocket services were either withdrawn or re-branded to Baby Bluestar on 24 February 2008, to enable Solent Blue Line to trade under the Bluestar name. [ [http://www.solentblueline.com/news/news020.html Red Rocket changes] ]
The routes were are:
Eastleigh- Hedge End- HambleThis service was withdrawn by SBL on 23 February 2008, but was continued by another operator, Velvet.
*B: Eastleigh - Boyatt Wood This service ceased on 23 February 2008.
*C: Eastleigh - Velmore Estate -
Chandler's Ford- Fryern Hill - Hiltingbury This route became Baby Bluestar C1 on 24 February 2008 and now runs between Eastleigh, Velmore, Chandler's Ford and Fryern Hill.
*D: Eastleigh - Valley Park - HiltingburyThis service ceased on 23 February 2008.
*E1: Eastleigh - Boyatt Wood -
Otterbourne- Compton - Stanmore - Winchester
*E2: Eastleigh - Boyatt Wood -
Colden Common- Twyford - St Cross - Winchester
*E3: Eastleigh - Boyatt Wood - Otterbourne - Compton - Badger Farm
Sainsbury's- WinchesterThis route became Baby Bluestar E1/E2/E3 with minor timetable changes.
*F: Eastleigh - Stoke Common -
Fair Oak- Bishop's Waltham- Swanmore- Waltham ChaseThis route became Baby Bluestar F with possible minor timetable changes.
Do the docks
This was an open top bus tour of Southampton docks. It used open top buses from the New Forest Tour and a debranded
Wilts & DorsetLeyland Olympians. Due to poor weather during the 2007 Summer season and resulting lower passenger numbers, running the tour in "turn up and hop on" format was made unfeasible. So on Sunday 29 July 2007 this format stopped. [ [http://www.dockstour.info/ Docks Tour - Service changes] ]
In April 2008 the service ran for just two days on 26 and 27 of that month, as part of the Caribbean festival in Southampton on those dates. As Solent Blue Line no longer had the open top buses for the routes, a hired
Southern Vectisopen top bus was used. [ [http://www.bluestarbus.co.uk/dothedocks.shtml Solent Blue Line - Docks Tour] ]
* [http://www.solentblueline.com/ Company website]
* [http://www.bluestarbus.info/ Bluestar service]
* [http://www.solentshuttle.info/ Website for Solent Shuttle (X27) service]
* [http://www.thenewforesttour.info/ The New Forest Tour service]
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