Southern Vectis is a bus operator on the Isle of Wight. The company was founded in 1921 as "Dodson and Campbell" and became the "Vectis Bus Company" in 1923. The company was purchased by the Southern Railway before being nationalised in 1969. In 1987, the company was re-privatised. Southern Vectis was accused of unfair trade practices and was investigated by the British Office of Fair Trading. In July 2005, it became a subsidiary of Go-Ahead Group.
Southern Vectis ADL Enviro MMC 1660 at Shanklin, Isle of Wight operating route 3 to Ryde.
|Slogan||the island's buses|
|Service area||Isle of Wight|
|Service type||Bus services|
|Operator||Go South Coast (part of the Go-Ahead Group)|
|Chief executive||Andrew Wickham|
In 1921 in Cowes, the company was founded as "Dodson & Campbell". In 1923, the company was renamed the "Vectis Bus Company". "Vectis" is the Roman name for the Isle of Wight. The buses were built by the London bus body builder, Christopher Dodson.
In 1987, Southern Vectis started Badger Vectis in Poole, and Solent Blue Line in Southampton. The new operations used older Southern Vectis buses and second-hand double-deckers. Southern Vectis also moved into other business areas on the isle of Wight. The company bought a self-drive van hire firm. It also bought two Ford Granada taxis, which it ran from the Cowes pontoon and began taxibus services which continued till 1989.
In April 2006, the network was changed with Newport the hub and other routes linking to it. Some routes, for example the "Island Explorer" were lost. However, the changes proved successful. Within 18 months, passenger numbers had increased by 45 percent. This included a 14 percent growth in fare-paying customers.
In October 2009, Southern Vectis launched a website promoting a car scrappage scheme. This offered Island residents a season ticket of bus journeys for use in the next twelve months if they agreed to scrap their car. Southern Vectis announced that five vehicles had been scrapped within the first fortnight of the promotion and it had received around 6,000 enquiries.
As a result of deregulation in 1986, several competitors started and others increased existing services. These competitors included Gange's Minicoaches, Grand Hotel Tours, Island Travel (Cooke's Coaches of Porchfield), Moss Motor Tours, Seaview Services' RedLynx and Wiltax of Shanklin. Island Travel and Gange's Minicoaches established routes between Cowes and Ryde.
The newly privatised Southern Vectis responded with a number of new business practices. These practices raised the interest of the Office of Fair Trading who, in 1987, investigated the company and found their behaviour to be anti-competitive.
It was alleged that Southern Vectis was engaged in "duplication", running buses immediately ahead of competitors' where routes coincided, and having their drivers lie in wait for competitors' vehicles in order to beat them to waiting passengers. In 1991, duplication tactics were seen again when Southern Vectis shadowed an Isle of Wight County Council contracted bus run by Norman Baker Taxis.
In 1986, Southern Vectis acquired Newport bus station as part of their privatisation and refused competitors access to it. The Office of Fair Trading report, published in 1988, found Southern Vectis' behaviour to be anti-competitive. Southern Vectis was told to either allow competitors to use the bus station or appear before the Competition Commission. Gange's Minicoaches, the plaintiff, was offered use of "Stand F" in Ryde bus station, and was also offered a stand in the Newport bus station. However, Gange's did not find the charges set for either station agreeable, and continued to operate from the opposite side of Ryde bus station on council land and the South Street bus stop in Newport, until their service discontinued.
Southern Vectis started to franchise its routes. For instance, Southern Vectis franchised Solent Blue Line routes to Marchwood Motorways; the Newport Town Circular was franchised to M-Travel, and then the Alpha Group after M-Travel closed. The Traditional Bus Company and The Village Bus Company were franchised some open-top routes including the Shanklin Pony.
In 2008, after its sale to Go-Ahead Group, Southern Vectis competed directly with the Isle of Wight Council's Wightbus school services. It duplicated routes and claimed term ticket fees for student passengers from the council. In September 2010, the Isle of Wight council engaged Southern Vectis to operate many school bus routes. Under the terms of the contract, the general public were not able to use these services.
Southern Vectis's "Open Top Tours" (orange and yellow livery) ran two circular summer routes to tourist destinations. In 2007, "Open top Tours" was rebranded to "Island Breezers" (yellow and blue livery). Other open-top tours operated by Southern Vectis included "The Needles Breezer", "The Downs Breezer", "The Sandown Bay Breezer" (finished 2012).
In 2007, an "Island Coaster" service started between Ryde and Alum Bay with a ten-pound all day ticket or longer period tickets for local residents. The Island Coaster followed the route of two former services, the "12" from Ryde to Sandown and the "7/7A" from Sandown to Alum Bay. Stops were at Freshwater Bay and Blackgang Chine, linking them with Ventnor, Shanklin, Sandown and Ryde. To get between Blackgang Chine and Brook near Brighstone, the service used the Military Road.
The 2008 season began on 15 March and finished on 2 November 2008. Some changes were made. Route number "X40" was removed (although still displayed on buses). There was no stop at the Bembridge Coast Hotel or Sandown Esplanade. In 2009, there was only one morning and one afternoon journey each way, one of which terminated or started in Shanklin rather than Ryde and reached from Freshwater Bay to Yarmouth, but not reaching Alum Bay. Coaches were used rather than buses.
Until September 2009, three tourist road trains operated along the seafront of three island towns, Ryde, Shanklin and Sandown. The services were run by Southern Vectis under contract to Isle of Wight Council. In April 2010, it was announced that the vehicles would be retired due to increased maintenance costs. In January 2011, the Dotto Trains were sold to a dealer in Llandudno.
In July 2012, a new £28m school transport contract was made by the Isle of Wight council with Southern Vectis. New vehicles, Optare Solo SR M920s were ordered and arrived in September 2012. Some buses were transferred from the Go-Southcoast subsidiary, Damory Coaches formed of Volvo B12Ms with Alieeze T9 Bodywork Registered MV02. New double deckers ordered from Alexander Dennis were delivered in January 2013. Southern Vectis' involvement in coaching had varied through the years; early in the company's history the firm took no interest in coaching, preferring to leave the field to other operators. However, the company became involved in coaching through acquisition and conglomeration.
Some buses had previously been acquired from Fountain Coaches. The company had been assimilated into Southern Vectis when the National Bus Company rationalised in 1969. West Wight Bus & Coach Company and four of its coaches had been purchased by Southern Vectis in 1987. Moss Motor Tours was purchased by Southern Vectis in 1994. Wightrollers' eleven coaches were purchased by Go South Coast in July 2011. Southern Vectis employed staff from the firm.
The company has been involved in Isle of Wight events such as the Isle of Wight Festival and the Bestival. Additional buses were brought to the island. During the Isle of Wight Festival, extra shuttle services were run from Lymington to Yarmouth Wightlink ferry terminal; from the Southampton to East Cowes Red Funnel ferry terminal; and from the Portsmouth to Fishborne and Portsmouth to Ryde Wightlink ferry terminal and Fastcat passenger boat terminal.
An Open Top Christmas Lights Tour has been operated. One of the company's "Island Breezer" liveried buses took a two-hour journey past the most illuminated houses on the island. For the 2008 tour, a stop at the Old World Tea Rooms in Godshill was added for a complimentary mince pie and a hot drink.
Southern Vectis has increased its fares in reflection of its strong market position and lack of effective competition. Southern Vectis fares have also reflected the need to provide free transport to a relatively large population of elderly people who reside on the Isle of Wight.
Students under 19, in full-time education on the Isle of Wight, have received discounted fares under the Isle of Wight Council's Student Rider scheme. In July 2010 after cuts in funding from the UK government to local authorities, the scheme was ended.
Island residents and visitors living in England over the qualifying age or with a disability have travelled for free in the council area at any time of day, under the Government's England-wide scheme. In 2007, the Isle of Wight council reduced its reimbursement to Southern Vectis for free travelling passengers from 76 percent to 46 percent. In 2009, concessionary travel accounted for just under half of all journeys on Southern Vectis buses. In 2010, free travel was restricted to off-peak times..
On 17 March 2008, Southern Vectis ended several evening, night and Sunday routes. More details about the service cuts emerged soon after. On 1 September 2008, routes 27, 28 and 29 ended.
In 2014, the company had 105 vehicles. These included Enviro 200's single deck buses replacing the Dennis Dart SLF's; seven Volvo B7TL/Plaxton Presidents double deck buses of which two are open-top; twenty-eight Scania OmniCitys of which one has been converted to open-top following an engine fire; and sixteen Alexander Dennis Enviro 400's, of which six are on loan. In 2016, the company took delivery of 10 16 plate Alexander Dennis Enviro 400's complete with white destination blinds and next stop destination screens these replaced the five remaining closed top Volvo B7TL/Plaxton Presidents then receiving a 10th Enviro200 later that year. 2017 Southern vectis took delivery of their first Second Generation Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 MMC to launch at the same time as its new ticket machines.(1656 pictured on the right) 2018, the company saw delivery of 16 more of the Second Generation Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 MMC's and given their fleet ID's 1656-71, these have onboard Next stop announcements for all routes and a more spacious and brighter environment. 2019, Southern Vectis regained one of their old Dennis Dart|Plaxton Pointer MPD's (3326 HW54BUU) its currently painted up into the same livery as the Enviro200s wear, and gained a ex morebus Scania OmniCity CN230UD single decker which is now painted up in the current Southern Vectis Livery.
Vectis Blue, the coach fleet had twenty Alexander Dennis double deckers and around fifteen Optare Solos as well as a few vehicles acquired from Go South Coast subsidiaries. All of the coaches have seat belts.
In April 2006, all the buses were painted in two shades of green with a new logo and slogan, "The Island's Buses". There were some exceptions to the new livery. In 2014, the Needles Breezer livery was refreshed. Two Volvo B7TL's converted to open-top were repainted. The remaining open-top routes had a blue and orange livery, with "Island Breezers" branding.
Afton is a hamlet just outside Freshwater on the west side of the Isle of Wight. It features a local hill known as Afton Down which was the site of the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970, one of the largest rock concerts to be held in the UK. Freshwater Bay Golf Course is located on Afton Down. Afton lends its name to a number of local properties, including Afton Lodge, Afton Manor and Afton Thatch, the latter two dating from the 17th Century.A barrow located on Afton Down has been the subject of archaeological interest, and is thought to be from the Bronze Age.A yearly Apple Day Festival takes place every fall at a commercial nursery known as Afton Park. The Apple Festival draws several thousand people a year to enjoy entertainment, a children's "apple olympics", and demonstrations.Transport is provided by Southern Vectis route 7, which runs close by.Afton Park
Afton Park is a settlement on the Isle of Wight, off the south coast of England.
The hamlet lies to the east of the A3055 road, near to the larger settlement of Freshwater . Afton park is approximately 10 miles (16 km) west of Newport.The gardens at the park incorporate a farm shop, cafe, plant nursery, wildflower meadow and apple orchard. In 2010, the park was purchased by Paul & Michaela Heathcote, who also own Chinashop Rare Breeds in Bathingbourne. As of 2010, the Heathcotes planned to maintain the existing layout of the park, while also using it to display the collection of livestock from Chinashop Rare Breeds.Transport is provided by Southern Vectis route 7, which runs close by.Now caters for weddings onlyBlackwater, Isle of Wight
Blackwater is a village on the Isle of Wight, England. It is located about two miles south of Newport, close to the geographic centre of the island. It is in the civil parish of Arreton. The Newclose County Cricket Ground is just to the north of the village.
Newport Junction Railway opened a railway station at Blackwater. Blackwater Station first appeared on railway timetables in June, 1876 and operated until June 6, 1956. The trackbed of the former railway line is now part of National Cycle Route 23.
Public transport is provided by Southern Vectis bus routes 2 and 3, serving Newport, Ryde, Sandown, Shanklin and Ventnor. Former Wightbus 33 between Newport and Ryde, also serves part of the village.Chessell
Chessell is a hamlet on the Isle of Wight, England, towards the west in an area known as the Back of the Wight on the B3401 road. Public transport used to be provided by Southern Vectis on route 1. It is the location of the Chessell Pottery Barns, a popular tourist attraction.Cowes
Cowes () is an English seaport town and civil parish on the Isle of Wight. Cowes is located on the west bank of the estuary of the River Medina, facing the smaller town of East Cowes on the east bank. The two towns are linked by the Cowes Floating Bridge, a chain ferry.
The population was 9,663 in the 2001 census, which doubles during the regatta in early August. The population at the 2011 census was 10,405.
Charles Godfrey Leland's 19th century verses describe the towns poetically as "The two great Cowes that in loud thunder roar/This on the eastern, that the western shore".
Cowes has been seen as a home for international yacht racing since the founding of the Royal Yacht Squadron in 1815. It gives its name to the world's oldest regular regatta, Cowes Week, which occurs annually in the first week of August. Later, powerboat races are held.
Much of the town's architecture is still heavily influenced by the style of ornate building that Prince Albert popularised.Luccombe, Isle of Wight
Luccombe is a village on the south coast of the Isle of Wight near Shanklin. There is some indication of Bronze Age settlements on the top of the nearby hill of Luccombe Down.The Luccombe area features some spectacular cliffs and scenery. It is a popular site for hang gliding and paragliding if there is an Easterly wind of around 12mph and it is low water, and on good days flights to Sandown and back can be achieved.
Luccombe forms the east end of the Ventnor Undercliff region, which extends for 12 kilometers from Blackgang to Luccombe, also encompassing the town of Ventnor and the villages of Bonchurch, St Lawrence, and Niton. There is some concern that the Ventnor Undercliff area is experiencing substantial coastal erosion.Public transport is provided by Southern Vectis bus route 3, which run between Newport, Ryde, Sandown, Shanklin and Ventnor.Moss Motor Tours
Moss Motor Tours Ltd. was a bus and coach company that operated on the Isle of Wight between 1921 and 1994. The company sold its assets in 1994 to various bus and coach providers on the Island and off. The name and "goodwill" of the company was purchased by Southern Vectis in 1994.
Following Southern Vectis' purchase by the Go-Ahead Group in 2005, "Moss Motors" was resurrected as one of several fleet names for the company's coach unit (also including, amongst others, Fountain Coaches and the West Wight Bus & Coach Company). "Moss Motors" was also used for a short time to brand a commuter coach service into Newport. In January 2013, a change in management and significant investment in new vehicles (mostly buses, not coaches) meant that these classic fleetnames were abandoned in favour of one "home to school" brand "Vectis Blue".Nettlestone and Seaview
Nettlestone and Seaview is a civil parish and electoral ward on the Isle of Wight. It contains the villages of Nettlestone and Seaview.
Public Transport is provided by Southern Vectis bus route 8, which operates between Ryde, and Newport via Bembridge and Sandown.Newbridge, Isle of Wight
Newbridge is a hamlet on the Isle of Wight. It is situated on a small hill, nine kilometres to the west of Newport on the western half of the island. According to the Post Office the 2011 Census population of the hamlet was included in the civil parish of Shalfleet.The village has a social club, situated in the old school house, and a holiday park with indoor and outdoor swimming pools and the villages only remaining shop. There are no churches in Newbridge, however there were two chapels. One was demolished in the early 1980s, and the remaining Newbridge Wesleyan Methodist Chapel is now part of a residence. Newbridge is part of Shalfleet parish council. The name Newbridge is explained by the bridge near the edge of the village which crosses the Calbourne this being literally the "New Bridge".
The Calbourne stream running through Calbourne passes through Newbridge and Shalfleet and discharges into the Solent at Newtown.
Until September 2010 the village was linked to other parts of the Island by Southern Vectis circular bus route 7, Following the withdrawal of this service Newbridge is served by the infrequent Wightbus service 35/36.Newport bus station (Isle of Wight)
Newport bus station, on the Isle of Wight is located at Orchard Street in Newport town centre. Recent redevelopment has seen the former 1960s-built South Street bus station demolished, to make way for a new row of shops, and the current facility built behind that site. Newport is used as the hub of Southern Vectis's network of bus routes, so the majority of routes use Newport bus station, currently 11 out of 14. On 1 July 2007 the bus station became a no smoking area in its entirety.
From April 2011, the bus station travel office has accommodated a 'Visitor Information' point, to serve as a replacement for the Tourist Information Centres, which were closed by the Isle of Wight Council to save money as a result of funding reductions from central government.Ningwood
Ningwood is a village on the Isle of Wight. It is on several lanes about three miles east of Yarmouth in the northwest of the island. According to the Post Office to 2011 Census population of the village was included in the civil parish of Shalfleet. The Horse and Groom Pub is a prominent establishment in Ningwood, as is the Ningwood Bible Christian (Methodist) Chapel. Well-known island brickmakers, the Prichett family, established a brick yard in Ningwood in the 19th century.
It is linked to other parts of the Island by Southern Vectis bus route 7, serving Freshwater, Yarmouth and Newport including intermediate towns.Northwood, Isle of Wight
Northwood is a village and civil parish on the Isle of Wight. It lies south of the town of Cowes and has been occupied for about 1000 years. The Church of St. John the Baptist in Northwood, was first built between the 11th and 13th centuries.
There is a primary school in Northwood which was first begun in 1855. Until 1990 it still featured an outside toilet.
The main form of transport is Southern Vectis bus route 1, which runs every 7–8 minutes in the daytime to Cowes and Newport, along the main road. Local bus service route 32 is provided by the setting up of a Joint Scheme involving Southern Vectis and the Parish Council mid-2011. Several changes to this route have occurred after Southern Vectis withdrew their 27 to Cowes and 28 to Newport.Puckpool
Puckpool is a small coastal settlement on the outskirts of Ryde on the Isle of Wight. The area is best known for Puckpool Park, a park with an 18-hole putting green, 12 hole mini golf and two tennis courts. Puckpool Battery is located within the boundaries of the park; this is an old Palmerston Fort built in 1865.
Puckpool Point features a natural sheltered bay offering a large expanse of sand and a gently sloping beach which becomes very popular with tourists and local residents during the summer season. A wide pedestrian and cycle promenade leading to Puckpool Point lines the entire bay. Until December 2009 Southern Vectis operated standard bus service 16 which served the area between Ryde and Bembridge via Seaview and St Helens. However, no route currently serves the park and the arrangements for summer 2010 are not known. The Ryde Road Train is also operated during the summer, designed to transport tourists from Ryde to the beach and park at Puckpool.Thorley, Isle of Wight
Thorley is a village on the Isle of Wight, 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) from Yarmouth in the northwest of the island. Public transport is provided by buses on Southern Vectis route 7 and the Needles Tour.Wellow, Isle of Wight
Wellow is a village on the Isle of Wight. It is located about two miles east of Yarmouth in the northwest of the island. The name is believed to be of Jutish origin. Recently a proposal to erect a wind farm was rejected after a high-profile protest campaign. Located within Wellow are a small chapel, post office, vineyard and several farms including Mattingley and Manor Farm. The Hamstead trail runs through Wellow.Whiteley Bank
Whiteley Bank, also spelled "Whitely Bank", is a small village or hamlet on the Isle of Wight, United Kingdom. It is located two miles west of Shanklin and five and a half miles (8.9 km) south-east of Newport. It is mainly known by the crossroads, now styled as a mini-roundabout, between the A3020, B3327 and Canteen Road to Apse Heath. Whiteley Bank is in Newchurch Parish.
Whiteley Bank is the home of the Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary. The Donkey Sanctuary was established in 1987 to provide a safe home for donkeys in distress. It currently houses about 200 animals. It was originally in Newport but had to be moved to Whiteley Bank to accommodate more animals. America Wood is a SSSI located between Whiteley Bank and Shanklin.
It is served by Southern Vectis buses on routes 2 and 3. There used to be a public telephone. Whiteley Bank House is a nursing home in Whiteley Bank.Wightbus
Not to be confused with Wrightbus, the bus manufacturer
Wightbus was a bus operator on the Isle of Wight, owned by the Isle of Wight Council. It operated a network of 13 local bus services running across the island, mostly services which would not have been viable for the island's dominant commercial operator, Southern Vectis, to operate.
Wightbus also provided school buses, and transported disabled adults to various day care centres on behalf of the council's social services department. A dial-a-bus service was run over some parts of the island to residents who would be unable to leave their homes to catch a regular service bus.
The Wightbus fleet was made up of 27 vehicles with capacities ranging from 16 to 72. Around 40 trained drivers and passenger-escort staff were employed. Over 1 million passengers travelled on Wightbus services annually.Wightbus was axed by the Isle of Wight Council in February 2011, with the last services operating on 2 September 2011. Under a new "Community Bus Partnership", Southern Vectis agreed to take on a number of routes previously operated by Wightbus to rural areas of the island in co-ordination with the Isle of Wight Council and the town and parish councils which the services run in. The services are all run by volunteer drivers.Wroxall, Isle of Wight
Wroxall is a village and civil parish in the central south of the Isle of Wight.
It is close to Appuldurcombe House. The parish church is St. John's Church, Wroxall.
Bus services operated by Southern Vectis link the village with the towns of Newport, Ryde, Sandown, Shanklin and Ventnor, as well as intermediate villages.Yaverland
Yaverland is a village on the Isle of Wight, just north of Sandown on Sandown Bay. It has about 200 houses. About 1⁄3 of a mile away from the village is the Yaverland Manor and Church. Holotype fossils have been discovered here of Yaverlandia and a pterosaur, Caulkicephalus. The White Air extreme sports festival was held annually at Yaverland pay and display car park between 1997 and 2008, but moved to Brighton for 2009.The older part of the village is spread along the road to Bembridge by the Norman Church. The newer part is along the seafront, consisting entirely of a bungalow estate. The name appears to come from a local rendition of "over land" - being the land over the once-tidal causeway. An alternative derivation is from "Yar Island".
In the fields below Yaverland the archaeological television programme Time Team discovered a Roman smithy.
In 1545 a battle took place in Yaverland between French forces and local levies. The French were crossing Culver Down from their landing at Whitecliff Bay in order to attack Sandown Castle and link up with a force from Bonchurch. The French fought their way into Sandown but were defeated at Sandown Castle, then under construction in the sea.
The Isle of Wight Zoo is in Yaverland. The zoo is noted for its collection of rescued tigers and increasingly realistic and spacious enclosures for them. The zoo inhabits much of the converted buildings of the Granite Fort built by Lord Palmerston as a defense against the French in 1860. The grounds were used by the military during World War II as part of the Pluto pipeline to send oil under the English Channel to France to fuel the Allied war efforts.
By the sea is the Yaverland Sailing and Boat Club and along the seashore are fossil-bearing beds, which may be explored by guided walks from Dinosaur Isle. A holiday camp is located further north in the village, and was once the site of Yaverland Battery.
In November 2008, the Isle of Wight Council opened a new public toilet block which runs completely from renewable energy generated on-site. It is thought to be one of the "greenest" facilities in the UK.Southern Vectis bus route 8 links the village with the towns of Newport, Ryde, Bembridge and Sandown, including intermediate towns. Wightbus run route 22 around Culver Way to Sandown, after Southern Vectis withdrew route 10 from the area.
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