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All Change at Southampton

Saturday 18th February 2023 was the final day of ‘Red’ bus operation in the City of Southampton when First Bus ‘City Red’ closed both its operations and the Empress Road depot for the last time ending 144 years of transport history that began with trams and later buses in Southampton.  The following day, Sunday 19th February 2023 Go South Coast’s (GSC) Bluestar buses took over the six routes that were operated by First Bus.  On Tuesday 21st February Bluestar launched their six new routes with an event held at the Bargate in Southampton city centre.  Enviro400City double-decker 1245 (HF68 DXO) was displayed with a team handing out timetables and ‘giveaways’ to the public and enthusiasts!  Go South Coast General Manager Andrew Wickham gave a speech alongside the Lord Mayor and the Leader of the City Council explaining how proud the Company was to serve the city with its buses.

The independent transport videos cameras were on hand to record the event and the bus actions in the city that day, although our programme begins on the morning of Sunday 19th with Andrew Wickham seeing the first ‘new’ drivers off on their new Bluestar routes.  In order to run the six new routes inherited from First Bus, Bluestar had to draft in 27 additional buses to cover the services.  These included Wright-bodied Volvo B7TL double-deckers from Go North East (GNE), that had their fronts over-painted blue on their GNE livery of red and blue.  These buses began their career in London.  Southern Vectis, from the Isle of Wight supplied some Scania OmniCity single-deckers in their smart two-tone green livery that carried Bluestar fleet names.  Swindon’s Buses supplied some Optare Versa single-deckers in their smart green, red and blue livery – also carrying Bluestar fleet names.  All of these buses are seen on this programme.  However there were other changes in the bus world in the Southampton area during 2023.  In June independent Xelabus handed over their 49/49H service to Stagecoach and in July Xelabus withdrew the X4/X4A service, which was its last all day commercial bus route.  This DVD programme was filmed during February, June and July 2023.  Our filming locations in February included the city centre and the Bluestar routes launch.  In June we filmed in Hamble, Netley, Woolston and Romsey.

The July filming took place in Eastleigh and at the Hedge End superstores recording Xelabus on their final X4/X4A days and our programme is completed in the city centre where we also caught up with First Bus, this time with buses painted in their smart blue and yellow ‘Solent’ livery operating the X4 and X5 routes to Portsmouth, Fareham and Gosport. Big changes have taken place in Southampton adding a lot of interest to the ever-changing bus scene in the area!

 Filmed :  2023
 Duration :  55 mins
 Price :  Within UK - 16
   Rest of world - 18
 Format :  DVD -R
   Picture Aspect 16:9
 Order Ref :  D452


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