First Southern National

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First Southern National

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Review of "First Southern National"

published 14/09/2001 | leggb
Member since : 10/05/2001
Reviews : 34
Members who trust : 6
About me :
Pro Cheap all zone tickets available, Friendly drivers, Clean busses and lots of bus stops
Cons Fares are expensive on single and return tickets
very helpful
Quality of Rooms
Customer service
Frequency of bus / buses
Value for money

"First Mistake"

When the old Southern National bus company was bought out by the First group the whole of Weymouth gave a sigh of relief. For years we had suffered busses that had no windows that opened and constanty broken air conditioning making it nearly impossible to breathe.

First Southern National run the bus services in the Dorset and Somerset areas. My experiences with the company are only in Weymouth, Portland and Dorchester really but I hear its the same story all over the area.

*The busses
Different routes in the towns have different kinds of busses. The two main routes in the town have fairly new low floor busses that are always in imaculate condition. As you move down the order of route numbers you get worse and worse busses ending up at mercedes benz shuttles that run on most routes. If you are down in the summer you can take the open top bus over to portland, just dont expect to have a hair style when you get off the bus.

*The staff
Something I have never noticed anywhere but in Weymouth are friendly bus drivers. They all seem to want to chat to you as your step aboard the bus and always greet you with a smile. Of course with any company you get the odd driver who thinks he can break the land speed record in a double decker but apart from that you feel quite safe putting your life in the drivers hands.

*The routes
All the busses in Weymouth start off at the centre and go outwards. The main bus stops are right next to the town centre making it easy to catch a bus there. In all there are 13 main local bus routes operating in Weymouth. Most areas are within walking distance of a bus stop or you can just hail and ride if you want to. You can work out what bus you have to catch from the underground style maps at the bus stops.

The busses run from about 7am to 11pm on several of the routes. The rest of them just have a 7am to 6pm service that can be a bit annoying if you want to go into town for the evening but it is still only a short distance from a bus stop that does have a service running.
Weymouth has a metro bus service meaning that busses run every 10minutes on peak times and every 30minutes the rest of the time. This service is available on the 3 top routes on the network. The metro busses seem to often run to time.
The rest of the routes are a completely different story, they never seem to run on time and the service levels are terrible with busses often just not turning up.

Weymouth is split up into 5 different zones like the underground. You then pay more for each zone boundary that you cross. Its a really simple way of being able to work out how much your bus fare will be from the underground style maps at the bus stops.
The only problem with this idea is the massive increase in fares that accompanied it. It costs about 85p for a 15minute ride.
The weird thing about the service is that return tickets (£1.50) that can only be used once are more expensive than tickets that can be used all day (£1.30). With the day ticket you can travel as many times as you like within a certain number of zones. This can be a major cost saving if you have to go a long distance.

First Southern National has made a massive improvement to bus services in Weymouth, but it has now become cheaper to travel by car and pay for the car parking charges than take the bus. It still is the best way to travel around Weymouth after all that though!

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Listed on Ciao since: 14/09/2001