First Hampshire & Dorset

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First Hampshire & Dorset
First Hampshire & Dorset 37162.JPG
Wright Eclipse Gemini bodied Volvo B7TL in Southampton in September 2008
Parent FirstGroup
Founded 1997 (1898 as Southampton Citybus)
Headquarters Southampton
Service area Hampshire
Service type Bus services
Destinations Southampton
Fleet 360 (March 2013)

First Hampshire & Dorset[1] is a bus operator providing services in the counties of Hampshire and Dorset. It is a subsidiary of FirstGroup.


Wright Handybus bodied Dennis Dart in Southampton in September 2008 in First Provincial livery

First Hampshire & Dorset was created out of various different smaller companies which were merged once FirstGroup had acquired them.

In October 1995 FirstBus purchased the bus services in Fareham, Gosport and Portsmouth operated by People's Provincial.

In April 1996 FirstBus purchased services in Portsmouth 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. This operation was then put under the control of People's Provincial and the whole renamed to First Provincial.

In 1997 FirstBus purchased Southampton Citybus and after a brief period of using the Citybus name, the operation was renamed First Southampton. In 1999 First Southampton merged with First Provincial[2] to form First Hampshire, later being renamed First Hampshire & Dorset. The company is facing growing competition in Southampton from Go-Ahead owned Bluestar.

In 1999 FirstGroup purchased Southern National with the Dorset operations merged to form First Hampshire & Dorset in 2003.


  • Bridport (Tannery Road) (Sub-depot of Weymouth)
  • 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)
  • Yeovil (Sub-depot of Weymouth)


As of March 2013 the fleet consisted of 360 buses.[3]

In Weymouth, First operate a number of Wright StreetLite buses on routes 1, 2, 3, 4, 8 and 10 purchased between 2013 and 2015. Several Optare Solos purchased in 2014, working primarily on routes 3, 4 and 8. Wright Eclipse-bodied Volvo B7RLEs which started operation in 2006. A number of Alexander ALX400s on various routes. A single Dennis Trident 2 purchased in 2005 branded for route 502. Several Wright Eclipse Gemini bodied Volvo B9TLs operating mostly on route X53 between Poole and Exeter bought in 2008. A single surviving Plaxton Pointer 2 bodied Dennis Dart 9.2SDA in operation since 1997. And Six Scania N94UDs bought in 2004 & 2005 operating on route X51.

First inherited a large number of Leyland Atlanteans from Southampton Citybus along with Leyland Lynxs, 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.[4] First introduced a number of bus types that are also no longer in service in Southampton; these include Volvo B7LA / Wright Eclipse Fusion bendy buses introduced in 2000 but transferred to First Glasgow in 2003 after they proved unsuitable for a number of Southampton roads,[5] 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.


As of April 2016, First Dorset operates 12 bus routes in and around the Weymouth area:

  • Service 1 - Weymouth to Portland via Wyke Regis, Fortuneswell, Easton, Weston and Southwell.
  • Service 2 - Weymouth to Littlemoor via Dorchester Road and Broadway (also two late night services to Overcombe Corner)
  • Service 3 - Weymouth to Westham via Town Bridge, ASDA (Newstead Road), Hereford Road and Fiveways.
  • Service 4/4A - Weymouth King's Statue to Preson via Lodmoor County Park, Overcombe Corner, Chalbury Corner, Seven Acres Road (4) and Sutton Poyntz (4A)
  • Service 6 - Weymouth to Portland NSA via Fiveways, Wyke Regis (Walker Crescent), Ferrybridge and Portland (National Sailing Academy).
  • Service 8 - Weymouth to Chickerell via Town Bridge, ASDA (Newstead Road), Westham (Evenings only), Fiveways and Chickerell, East Street.
  • Service 10 - Weymouth to Poundbury via Dorchester Road, Broadway, Upwey, Dorchester (Trinity Street) and Poundbury.
  • Service X51 - Dorchester (South Station) to Axminster via Poundbury, Bridport, Lyme Regis and Axminster Rail Station,
  • Service X53 - Poole to Exeter via Wareham, Wool, Osmington, Weymouth, Abbostbury, West Bay, Bridport, Lyme Regis, Axminster, Seaton, Beer and Exeter Bus Station.
  • Service 502 Summer Holiday Park Service - Littlesea Holiday Park to Lodmoor County Park via Weymouth King's Statue
  • Service 503 Summer Holiday Park Service - Weymouth King's Statue to Waterside Holiday Park via Bowleaze Cove.

First Dorset also operate school bus services for Budmouth Technology College and Wey Valley School. In March 2016 First announced the summer timetable which will bring the new X55 service from Weymouth to Bovington, an extended '4B' service serving Preston, Spice Ship, Seaview Holiday Park, Osmington and Warmwell Cross. Also the splitting of X53 services into sections (X51, 52, 53 and 54) and the return of the open top bus from Weymouth to Portland Bill.[6]


  1. ^ Companies House extract company no First Hampshire & Dorset Limited formerly First Hampshire Limited formerly Southampton City Transport Company Limited
  2. ^ Companies House extract company no 2110585 First Provincial Buses Limited formerly The Provincial Bus Company Limited
  3. ^ FirstGroup Fleetlist Steve White
  4. ^ Archived 1 January 2011 at WebCite
  5. ^ This is - "Getting the hump" - Bendy buses have trouble over speed bumps Archived 9 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ "Dorset and Jurassic Coaster summer service changes starting on Sunday 8 May | Wessex, Dorset & South Somerset". First UK Bus. Retrieved 2016-04-22. 

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