Red Funnel step in to save Southampton's City Link bus service

A City Link bus at Southampton Central Station

A City Link bus at Southampton Central Station

First published in News Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Political reporter

THE future of a threatened bus service in Southampton has been secured – but at a cost to many passengers.

Red Funnel has announced it has stepped in to rescue the CityLink service, which was under threat after key funding was withdrawn.

But the new service will now only remain free for people with valid tickets for travel to and from the Isle of Wight.

A flat fee of £1 per trip will now be introduced for all other passengers from the middle of April.

More than one million passengers used the free service, which runs between Southampton Central railway station, the city centre, and the Isle of Wight ferry terminals on Town Quay, last year.

But, as previously reported in the Daily Echo, cash-strapped Southampton City Council has removed £110,000 of annual funding from the service.

And WestQuay operator Hammerson has also now dropped its funding for the service, which began in 2000, leaving its future uncertain.

Now Red Funnel has stepped in to shoulder the financial burden, with the new service running every 30 minutes along its existing route along Portland Terrace and Castle Way.

It will remain free for anyone with a Red Funnel ticket, or a valid rail or National Express ticket to or from the Isle of Wight, but other passengers will now have to pay.

Red Funnel’s chief executive, Kevin George, said: “We believe it is essential that we continue to provide a fully integrated transport link for the Isle of Wight by linking our Hi-Speed Red Jet and East Cowes ferry services with the cities rail and coach services.”

And the firm’s sales and marketing director, Jonathan Green, said: “By taking over the CityLink contract we now have scope to improve its visual identity and integrate it with our real-time ferry information system so customers can see where connecting services are in relation to one another.

“In time, we would also like to improve connections for National Express customers.”

Details of the new timetable will go online later this month at redfunnel.co.uk/citylink.

Comments (8)

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1:07pm Fri 11 Apr 14

ToastyTea says...

That sucks, West Quay should have dipped into their fat pockets to help with the cost given half the people that use it I'm sure do so for shopping there.
That sucks, West Quay should have dipped into their fat pockets to help with the cost given half the people that use it I'm sure do so for shopping there. ToastyTea
  • Score: 19

1:26pm Fri 11 Apr 14

Outside of the Box says...

Before planning permission is granted to shopping arcade thing we saw yesterday in the Echo, the developer should under section 106 provide services like this for a sustained period for free.
Before planning permission is granted to shopping arcade thing we saw yesterday in the Echo, the developer should under section 106 provide services like this for a sustained period for free. Outside of the Box
  • Score: 12

3:27pm Fri 11 Apr 14

philiprhampton says...

Will my bus pass be accepted ????
Will my bus pass be accepted ???? philiprhampton
  • Score: -1

3:32pm Fri 11 Apr 14

philiprhampton says...

Absolutely agree with ToastyTea but the West Quay Operators have also withdrawn their funding, hypocrites.
Absolutely agree with ToastyTea but the West Quay Operators have also withdrawn their funding, hypocrites. philiprhampton
  • Score: 5

4:02pm Fri 11 Apr 14

Highfielder says...

Southampton City Council need to go to Specssavers. This is the most short-sighted, self-destructive piece of cost cutting imaginable and all to save 110,000 pounds. That 110,000 pounds is worth every penny for the number of people -- apparently around a million a year -- that City Link attracts and brings into the city centre and West Quay from the railway station and the IoW ferries.

Twice in the last five months the Council has printed and distributed needless and not very useful leaflets called 'Tips for cyclists', advising among other specious advice, to wrap up warmly on cold days (and not a word in either leaflet warning about cycling on pavements). Since this leaflet was distributed to every address in the city I wonder how much this extravagance cost?

West Quay has also behaved disgracefully by withdrawing from helping to subsidise the free bus. If a family with two adults arrive at the station for a few hours shopping and maybe lunch at West Quay are they going to want to spend 4 pounds on City Link to get to West Quay and back. That's 4 pounds less to spend around the shops.

It is lucky that Red Funnel, at least, are trying to keep the route going.
Southampton City Council need to go to Specssavers. This is the most short-sighted, self-destructive piece of cost cutting imaginable and all to save 110,000 pounds. That 110,000 pounds is worth every penny for the number of people -- apparently around a million a year -- that City Link attracts and brings into the city centre and West Quay from the railway station and the IoW ferries. Twice in the last five months the Council has printed and distributed needless and not very useful leaflets called 'Tips for cyclists', advising among other specious advice, to wrap up warmly on cold days (and not a word in either leaflet warning about cycling on pavements). Since this leaflet was distributed to every address in the city I wonder how much this extravagance cost? West Quay has also behaved disgracefully by withdrawing from helping to subsidise the free bus. If a family with two adults arrive at the station for a few hours shopping and maybe lunch at West Quay are they going to want to spend 4 pounds on City Link to get to West Quay and back. That's 4 pounds less to spend around the shops. It is lucky that Red Funnel, at least, are trying to keep the route going. Highfielder
  • Score: 5

11:21pm Fri 11 Apr 14

dolomiteman says...

philiprhampton wrote:
Will my bus pass be accepted ????
Depends what bus pass you have.

Why should there be a free bus service anyway, West quay won't lose any custom as the folk that work there still will get there and the few shoppers using it to get from the train station or ferry to West Quay will either walk or pay for the bus and the rest (the majority of bus link passengers) are using it as free bus service to get form the ferry to the train station and don't spend any of their money in Southampton's shops and will still be getting their free bus funded by them paying for their already expensive ferry tickets.
[quote][p][bold]philiprhampton[/bold] wrote: Will my bus pass be accepted ????[/p][/quote]Depends what bus pass you have. Why should there be a free bus service anyway, West quay won't lose any custom as the folk that work there still will get there and the few shoppers using it to get from the train station or ferry to West Quay will either walk or pay for the bus and the rest (the majority of bus link passengers) are using it as free bus service to get form the ferry to the train station and don't spend any of their money in Southampton's shops and will still be getting their free bus funded by them paying for their already expensive ferry tickets. dolomiteman
  • Score: -1

1:57pm Sat 12 Apr 14

Chrischrischris says...

philiprhampton wrote:
Will my bus pass be accepted ????
According to post on Bluestar website, concession passes (OAP and disabled passes) will be accepted. I wonder, as it's a Bluestar operated service on REd Jets behalf, if those with The Key, will be able to use it, too?
[quote][p][bold]philiprhampton[/bold] wrote: Will my bus pass be accepted ????[/p][/quote]According to post on Bluestar website, concession passes (OAP and disabled passes) will be accepted. I wonder, as it's a Bluestar operated service on REd Jets behalf, if those with The Key, will be able to use it, too? Chrischrischris
  • Score: 0

9:26pm Sat 12 Apr 14

KenPeck says...

I quote from the article above: "But the new service will now only remain free for people with valid tickets for travel to and from the Isle of Wight." As tickets for the ferries are taken by Red Funnel staff prior to getting on the ferries, how can you prove that you have just arrived from the Isle of Wight?
I quote from the article above: "But the new service will now only remain free for people with valid tickets for travel to and from the Isle of Wight." As tickets for the ferries are taken by Red Funnel staff prior to getting on the ferries, how can you prove that you have just arrived from the Isle of Wight? KenPeck
  • Score: 1

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