First Hampshire & Dorset
A First Hampshire & Dorset Volvo B7TL / Wright Eclipse Gemini on Southampton route 8A.
|Locale||Hampshire & Dorset|
|Service type||Urban and interurban bus services|
First Hampshire & Dorset has its head office in Empress Road, Southampton and operates bus services in the Weymouth and Bridport areas in Dorset; and services in Southampton (Empress Road Depot), Portsmouth (Hilsea Depot), Fareham and Gosport (Hoeford Depot).
First Hampshire & Dorset was created out of various different smaller companies which were merged once First had acquired them.
FirstBus acquired bus services in Portsmouth in 1996 from Transit Holdings trading as Red Admiral & Blue Admiral, which in turn had taken over the Portsmouth CityBus operations under the title of Southdown Portsmouth.
First Group purchased Southampton Citybus in 1997 and after a brief period of using the Citybus name the operation was renamed First Southampton. In 1999 First Southampton was merged with First Provincial to form First Hampshire. This later became First Hampshire & Dorset. The company is facing growing competition in Southampton from Go-Ahead owned Bluestar.
The former Southdown operations continue to be operated by Southdown Motor Services Limited t/a Stagecoach Coastline, or Stagecoach in Portsmouth (Portsmouth area services) or Stagecoach in the South Downs (Chichester/Worthing services).
FirstBus (later renamed FirstGroup) had previously taken over the bus services in Gosport and Fareham formerly operated by People's Provincial and Hants & Dorset and amalgamated the services in the East Hampshire area as First Provincial.
In December 2006 the Traffic Commissioner fined First Hampshire & Dorset £35,000 for failing to run one in five buses in Portsmouth on time. The operator received an earlier formal warning over timekeeping in June 2005. The Traffic Commissioners' nationally accepted criteria for the operation of a bus journey is running more than one minute early or more than five minutes late (otherwise the journey is deemed not to have run). In its defence, First Hampshire & Dorset had submitted that Portsmouth City Council's five year plan to resurface every street to improve street lighting had severely affected the operator's ability to maintain services, something rejected by the Traffic Commissioner. First Hampshire & Dorset now publishes reliability and punctuality data on its website.
- Bridport (Tannery Road)
- Fareham (Gosport Road, Hoeford)
- Poole Outstation of Weymouth Depot, providing vehicles for a school contract for Bournemouth Grammar Schools, Kingston Maurward College (Dorchester) work and X53 short workings and the 387 service.
- Portsmouth (Hilsea West, London Road, Hilsea). Due to the depot allocation size; many buses are also parked overnight in The News Centre, London Road Hilsea.
- Southampton (Empress Road), which also includes the Yellow School Bus section
- Weymouth (Edward Street)
First services in Hampshire, Dorset & South Somerset utilise a mix of single and double deck buses. The double-deck fleet includes several Volvo Olympians with Northern Counties Palatine 1 bodywork. All of these are second hand, the double door vehicles coming from Go-Ahead's London operations and Stagecoach. The company also has Volvo B7TLs with Alexander ALX400 and Wright Eclipse Gemini bodywork. The single deck fleet is composed of Dennis Dart SLFs with Plaxton Pointer 2 and smaller MPD versions, Volvo B10BLE with Wright Renown bodywork and a number of Mercedes-Benz based minibuses.
First inherited a large number of Leyland Atlanteans from Southampton Citybus along with Leyland Lynxes, Leyland Olympians and gas powered Dennis Darts. All of these have now been withdrawn from the Southampton fleet. An unusual vehicle inherited from the Provincial fleet was the first ACE Cougar, one of just two built, which has also been withdrawn. First introduced a number of bus types that are also no longer in service in Southampton; these include Wright Solar Fusion bendy buses introduced in 2000 but transferred to First Glasgow in 2003 after they proved unsuitable for a number of Southampton roads, former First Capital Dennis Arrows proved unpopular in Southampton and moved onto First Greater Manchester in 2006. First had operated Optare Solos on the free City-link service between Southampton Central Station, West Quay Shopping Centre and Town Quay, these left the Southampton fleet when First lost the City-link contract to Uni-link, which subsequently became franchised to Bluestar in 2008.
Incidents and Accidents 
On Monday 28th January 2013, a Double Decker bus collided with a train bridge near Portchester Precinct. The top deck was completely destroyed and the driver was treated for serious shock. The bus wasn't in service and there were no passengers onboard. This incident occurs 5 months after another double decker belonging to First had a similar accident.
- BBC News - "Bus firms fined for late services" - Fines for First H&D Archived 1 January 2011 at WebCite
- About Us | First in Dorset & South Somerset
- http://www.provincialsociety.org/survivors/h523ctr.htm Archived 1 January 2011 at WebCite
- This is Hampshire.net - "Getting the hump" - Bendy buses have trouble over speed bumps[dead link]
- First Group homepage
- First Dorset and Hampshire Southampton and Portsmouth services
- First Dorset and Hampshire Weymouth and Dorchester services