Bluestar (bus company)

Bluestar (bus company)

Infobox Bus transit
name = Bluestar

logo_size = 250

image_size =
image_caption =
company_slogan = "A brighter way to go"
founded = 1987
headquarters = Eastleigh
locale =
service_area = Hampshire, England
service_type = Mainly urban bus services
destinations = Eastleigh, Southampton, and Hythe
fleet =
operator = Go-Ahead Group
ceo = Alex Hornby
website = []

Bluestar is a bus company operating in central Hampshire, England. It is based in Eastleigh and was started by Southern Vectis as Solent Blue Line in 1987. It is now owned by Go-Ahead Group, and part of the Go South Coast division.

The name Bluestar was originally the brand for the premier Solent Blue Line services, but with the withdrawal of the Red Rocket services on 25 February 2008, all services now operate under the name. Some local routes run under the Baby Bluestar name. The New Forest Tour and the Solent Shuttle run under their own sub-brands.


Bluestar services run under a number of sub-brands. To complete the change of all Solent Blue Line routes running under the Bluestar name, a number of brands were discontinued. These can be seen on the Solent Blue Line page.


Bluestar was originally the brand for Solent Blue Line's premier services. With the rebranding, it was extended to most of the main services.

All of the routes serve Southampton, with only the 18 running through it; all other services terminate there. Current routes are service 1 to Chandler's Ford and Winchester; 2 to Eastleigh and Fair Oak; 3 to Hedge End and Botley; 4 to North Baddesley and Romsey; 8 to Totton, Marchwood, Applemore and Hyther; 9 to Applemore, Dibden Purlieu, Hythe and Blackfield, Fawley or Langley; 10 to Totton, West Totton, Woodlands and Cadnam; 11 to Totton, West Totton, Tatchbury and Cadnam; 12 to Totton and Calmore; 15 to Bitterne, Thornhill and Weston and 18 from Thornhill and Bitterne through Southampton and on to Shirley and Millbrook.

Baby Bluestar

Baby Bluestar is the name given to the more local routes run, and those that weren't withdrawn after the demise of Red Rocket.

Current routes are the C1 and C2 from Eastleigh to Chandler's Ford on a less direct route serving various housing areas; E1, E2 and E3 from Eastleigh to Winchester via different routes; F from Eastleigh to Fair Oak, Bishop's Waltham and Waltham Chase; H1 and H2 Hythe circular services; H3 Hythe to Calshot and T1 and T2 local Totton services.

olent Shuttle

This is an express bus link between Portsmouth and Southampton. This service was originally run by Southampton City Bus and later First in Hampshire and Dorset as 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 Bluestar 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 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 Vectis open-top services.) The service was reversed in 2005, to run in the opposite direction. For the 2006 season, two low-floor Volvo B7TL/East Lancs Myllenniums from Wilts & Dorset were used, retaining the Wilts & Dorset livery but with "New Forest Tour" vinyls added. In 2007 the buses passed to Solent Blue Line and were repainted in a new green and orange livery, with ponies on the side. Again, this is similar to the Southern Vectis livery which that company uses on their open-top buses.


These are late night services running on Friday and Saturday nights aimed at people who have a night out in Southampton. All services begin at Leisure World and additionally call in the area of number of city centre bars and clubs. Nightstar services operate outbound from Southampton only and charge a flat fare of £3 except N18 and N19 which is £2. [ [ Nightstar Information] ] . For these services, Solent Blue Line use the same buses as used in the daytime.

After serving Leisure World and the city centre, service N1 continues to Chandler's Ford and Winchester; N2 to Eastleigh and Fair Oak; N9 to Applemore, Blackfield and Fawley; N18 to Bitterne and Thornhill and N19 to Shirley, Millbrook, Lord's Hill and Aldermoor.

Beep Bus

Beep Bus is a new brand name for the Bluestar service B between Eastleigh and Southampton via Boyatt Wood - Velmore which began on 8 September 2008. The service operates in direct competition with Velvet service B. Beep Bus is timed to operate 3 minutes ahead of all Velvet B services. Initially the service was registered with VOSA as a Wilts & Dorset route to begin on 15 September 2008 but this was later cancelled and replaced with an identical Solent Blue Line registration [ [ Omnibuses2.0 - Market Forces or Market Farces?] ] . Because the service is not officially scheduled to begin until 15 September Beep Bus is unable to take fares for the service, therefore it is currently operating as a free service.


Bluestar utilise a mix of single and double deck buses.

The double deck fleet is made up of seven East Lancs Lolyne bodied Dennis Tridents built in 1998, seven East Lancs Myllennium Vyking bodied Volvo B7TLs built in 2001 and a Enviro400-bodied Volvo B7TL which joined the fleet in October 2006 and entered service in November of that year. This vehicle, given the fleet number 758, was originally intended for Wilts & Dorset and is fitted out with their interior design. 758 is the only Enviro400-bodied Volvo B7TL as the B7TL has been replaced with the Volvo B9TL. The company also has a number of Leyland Olympians and Volvo Olympians with East Lancs or Northern Counties Palatine 1 bodywork. The New Forest Tour utilises two East Lancs Myllennium Vykings from Wilts & Dorset.

Single deck buses include DAF SB120/Wright Cadets which are primarily used on Bluestar routes 18 and 19, Dennis Dart MPDs for use on Baby Bluestar services, Volvo B10Bs transferred from the Oxford Bus Company. A small number of Optare Solos transferred from Wilts & Dorset and ten new Mercedes-Benz Citaros arrived in 2006.

In late 2008 seven brand new Scania OmniCity double deckers will enter service with the company. They will be primarily used on the Bluestar 1 route.


In March 2007 whilst being used as a rail-replacement bus a double-decker member of the Red Rocket fleet drove under a low bridge at Barnham causing the top to be ripped off, in addition to minor damage to the bridge [ [ Bus Roof Ripped Off in Crash - The Argus. Sunday 18 March 2007] ] [ [ Moment - Driving a bus? blog] ] . It is now with Southern Vectis as an open-topper.


ee also

*List of bus operators of the United Kingdom


External links

* [ Company website]
* [ Website for Solent Shuttle (X27) service]

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