Wigan Depot Defects to Stagecoach Manchester

New era for Wigan and Leigh passengers as Stagecoach Manchester takes over First Greater Manchester’s Wigan operations

Optare Excel, Bolton bus station
This time next year, FirstGroup’s Barbie livery may be no more on the 540, replaced by the orange, red and blue swirls of Stagecoach. Part of the acquisition may see a reduction in non-standard vehicles, such as this Optare Excel, acquired via First Manchester’s purchase of Timeline.

Some of you may remember that FirstGroup are in the midst of selling less lucrative operations to rival companies. The depots which FirstGroup are selling off have been chosen carefully. Each area up for sale, or sold, have enough potential as going concerns, though no longer reach FirstGroup’s targets.

After the sale of part of FirstGroup’s Devon and Cornwall operations, First Greater Manchester’s Wigan depot changed hands. Greater Manchester Buses East Limited (originally founded to take over A. Mayne and Son’s bus operations in February 2008) acquired the Locket Road depot, staff facilities, leased premises in Wigan bus station, and 120 vehicles. Twenty of which are owned by Transport for Greater Manchester, mostly for school services.

At present, Stagecoach Manchester has four depots, 630 vehicles and 1,850 staff. Its expansion towards ‘traditional First Manchester/GM Buses North’ territory will increase the fleet to 750. Staff will transfer from First Greater Manchester to Stagecoach’s Greater Manchester Buses East Limited business under TUPE arrangements. It is anticipated that the transfer will be completed by early December 2012.

Les Warneford, Managing Director of Stagecoach UK Bus, said: “We have a strong track-record of attracting more people to bus travel and these new operations will expand our successful high-quality operations in other parts of Greater Manchester.

“We will continue to focus on providing customers with the best value fares of any major bus operator in the UK, investing in our networks and delivering punctual and reliable services.

“Our people are central to our growth plans and we look forward to welcoming our new employees to the company.”

Since FirstBus took over GM Buses North, operations in Wigan and Leigh started well with new buses on key routes. By 1998, they acquired Timeline’s bus operations and closed the Atherton depot on Howe Bridge. In recent years, Wigan’s buses moved from Melverley Street to Locket Street, and seemingly became a dumping ground for cast-off step entrance double deckers or elderly low floor Dennis Darts. The town also has competition from Arriva North West and South Lancs Travel.

The news will come as a relief for passengers, all too familiar with unreliability of local and long distance routes, particularly the 32 (which has seen reduced frequencies and route changes). Stagecoach Manchester’s lower fares and more modern fleet will be a real boost too. Therefore, by 2013, there’s every chance of being able to travel from Ashton to Ashton on a Manchester Megarider, by changing at Wigan and Piccadilly Gardens.

We wish Stagecoach Manchester well on the integration of their prospective Wigan operation. It’ll be a little strange to see the blue, orange and red swirls on a 32 along East Lancashire Road though.

S.V., 31 October 2012.

About these ads

113 thoughts on “Wigan Depot Defects to Stagecoach Manchester

  1. I wonder if Stagecoach will follow the Arriva approach to ticketing and have separate (more expensive) daily/weekly tickets in Wigan as opposed to the rest of the GM operation?

    Like

    1. Hi Rob,

      That could be an interesting move, particularly where competition may exist between Arriva and Stagecoach. Then again, it could be something they may keep in mind with the 113 route from Preston to Liverpool. I reckon there could be:

      • The standard DayRider ticket covering the whole of Greater Manchester;
      • Extended validity of the Lancashire Day Rover ticket to cover Wigan and Leigh services;
      • A further DayRider ticket covering Piccadilly Gardens at its most easterly point, and its Liverpudlian operations at the farthest west point.

      With the way things are shaping, we could be seeing Stagecoach Manchester taking over much of the former Lancashire United Transport boundaries. Heck, they could even resurrect the 39 service from Manchester to Liverpool, starting at Shudehill Interchange (though I pretty much doubt it)!

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

      Like

  2. Personally I find this BAD news as I will now have to buy the ever more expensive SystemOne weekly ticket when I go to Wigan or Leigh from Bolton. The sooner this electronic oyster card is brought in the better!
    I also wonder if First will let the 12, 25, 26, 32, 33, x34, 540 and 582 go? These all run from QR, Bolton and Wigan depots. I surmise that the expresses will transfer fully to QR and the 12, 25, 26, 540 & 582 fully to Bolton depot. Will the 600 also move to Bolton being a prime High Frequency route between Leigh and Wigan?
    Will this also result in First dropping their prices, especially the FirstWeek ticket, for us up in the North West and North East now that they are hiving off a whole part of the network? Time will tell.
    I wish Stagecoach success, but I hope that passengers do not suffer through this via their pockets!

    Like

    1. Hi Trystan,

      There is supposed to be 18 routes which are likely to transfer from First to Stagecoach. The 12, 25, 26 and 32 could be worked by Wigan and Hyde Road buses for example, though the others you mention (should they be part of the 18) could be worked entirely from Locket Street.

      I doubt as if First Greater Manchester may cut the price of a FirstDay ticket. If anything, any prospective price cut may come in the form of a price freeze, given that FGM’s ticket still covers Warrington and – more so from this week – the whole 184 to Huddersfield.

      It is also worth noting that Stagecoach Manchester’s highest single fare is a good £1.50 less than First Greater Manchester’s. If anything they may be better off. Adding another tier of fares for the Wigan routes flies in the face of long term plans towards the reduction of all operators’ fare stages to just four single fares.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

      Like

  3. Thinking about it, the logistical transition from First to Stagecoach will have to a rapid one. When Stagecoach took over Mayne’s, they kept their tickets and didn’t accept Stagecoach ones for a few weeks until they integrated the Mayne’s ticketing system into the Stagecoach one. I imagine once the sale goes though neither company will want the name ‘First’ on the Wigan depot buses or people will still try to use and buy First tickets.

    I wonder if we’ll see an ‘interim’ arrangement eg ‘Stagecoach Wigan’ (still with First ticket prices) with the Stagecoach logo stuck over First’s logo until the buses are re branded/have compatible ticket machines fitted, and stage fares adjusted by Stagecoach, pending full integration at a later date? Unless Stagecoach can muster vehicles from reserves to completely replace the First fleet from day one…

    Personally speaking, I think it would have been better (competition wise) if an outside company (e.g. Go Ahead, RATP etc) had acquired the depot rather than increasing the Stagecoach footprint on Greater Manchester.

    Like

    1. Hi Rob,

      The transition will need to be more rapid than the Mayne of Manchester/Stagecoach Manchester. Given that Wigan has 120 vehicles, it needs to be nipped in the bud to avoid long term complications. I doubt as if the average Wiganer or Leythan would recognise their Stagecoach bus as a Stagecoach one if the Barbie livery remained intact (even with the addition of Stagecoach’s logo). Therefore A Mother of All Paint Jobs would suffice, with a mix of loaned vehicles filling in the gaps.

      I thought D&G or Arriva would have been the lucky recipient of Wigan depot, given the two companies’ presence on local routes. Even so, an interesting climax to 2012 awaits us.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

      Like

    1. Hi Claire,

      Unfortunately not, given that the whole of the Wigan boundary is outside the M60 motorway. Secondly, most of First Greater Manchester’s Wigan routes – possibly all of them – are being taken over by Stagecoach Manchester. FirstGroup are offloading some of their least lucrative depots and have agreed to sell Wigan depot to Stagecoach. By the end of this year, FirstGroup’s Barbie livery will be replaced by the white, orange, red and blue swirls of Stagecoach.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

      Like

      1. Well thankyou for your reply well if thats the case how come the leaflets are on wigan to leigh buses when its no good to us? I use public transport nearly everday its my only means of getting to work i have no faith in the bus service at all and i really dont think being taken over by stagecoach will make a difference i cant wait to start driving so i never have to use a bus again! The fares are too expencive and being taken over by stagecoach will not make a difference to me if your only going to bring the fairs down within the m60 area disgusting

        Like

      2. Hi Claire,

        Reasons for why you’ve seen the fare leaflets on your local Wigan to Leigh buses: one, they may have been placed on every First Greater Manchester bus irrespective of changes being made a month later; two, the bus where you may have seen the leaflet might have done a journey on the 32 or 33, which goes up to Worsley inside the M60 motorway. The third reason is partly down to the second one: workings. At present, the 32 and 33 are also operated by Bolton and Queens Road depots. Therefore – and more so with the latter – the bus itself would also be seen on other workings. For example (though someone may correct me on this), a 32 or 33 may co-work with a local route such as the 88 [White Moss Circular].

        Sadly, I have no power over the fares as this blog is independent of any bus operator in Greater Manchester. I am a long term bus enthusiast and public transport user, so I don’t print nor design any of the publicity for the operators or Transport for Greater Manchester.

        I do agree with you over the need for cheaper area specific tickets and fares in Greater Manchester. My area [Tameside] is dominated by both Stagecoach and FirstGroup, therefore necessitating a System One season ticket or day rover for the most modest of journeys. An area specific ticket would be a boon anywhere in Greater Manchester – under a similar system to FGM’s – though valid on all buses throughout each borough. Though a fair few journeys are made to Manchester from my neck of the woods, a lot of people tend to use the bus for more modest journeys inside the borough. If an all systems day ticket for the whole of Greater Manchester costs £5.00 (or £5.60), an all systems day rover for Tameside and Manchester bound buses from that area (ditto the above with the other nine boroughs) at £3.00 could be a good idea.

        Kind regards,

        Stuart.

        Like

    1. Hello,

      You will find all the school bus routes in Wigan via the Transport for Greater Manchester’s website. The brochure for each area also covers standard service bus routes which best cater for school hours.

      The link: http://www.tfgm.com/Corporate/Documents/SchoolServices/Wigan-Schools.pdf

      As requested, here is a list of School Services operated by First Greater Manchester, most likely to be operated from Wigan depot:

      655: Ashton-in-Makerfield (0829) – St. John Rigby College (0906)
      657: Byrchall/Sea (1530) – Ince Bar (1608)
      657: Ashton-in-Makerfield (1535) – Ince Bar (1608)
      660: Golborne High School (1458) – Bamfurlong, Bryn Gates (1514)
      933: St. Mary’s Roman Catholic High School (1456) – Leigh Bus Station (1509)
      934: Hindley (0739) – St. Mary’s Roman Catholic High School (0816)
      934: Bedford High School (1450) – Leigh Bus Station (1500)
      950: Atherton Road/Park Road – Standish High School (one return journey)
      955: Hawkley Hall (0830) – St. Peter’s Catholic High School (0852) – St. John Rigby College (0855)
      960: Standish, Dog and Partridge (0800) – St. John Rigby College (0827) – Winstanley College
      961: Hindley – St. John Rigby College (one return journey)
      961: Winstanley College (1616) – St. John Rigby College – Hindley (1713)
      962: Standish High School (0829) – St. John Rigby College (0900) – Winstanley College (0908)
      962: St. John Rigby College (1615) – Higher Ince, Makerfield Way (1652)
      967: St. John Fisher Catholic High School (1505) – Ince Bar (1535)
      974: Woodhouse Drive/Beech Hill Avenue (0811) – M6 Motorway – St. Peter’s Catholic High School (0845)
      980: St. Mary’s Roman Catholic High School (1455) – Atherton Road/Borsdane Avenue (1522)
      981: Bedford High School (1450) – Boothstown, Chaddock Lane (1514)
      Y26: Abram – Byrchall/Sea
      Y27: Abram – Byrchall/Sea
      Y55: St. John Fisher Catholic High School – Hindley Green
      Y59: Plank Lane/Common Lane – Bedford High School
      Y60: Wigan Bus Station – Shevington High School
      Y61: Aspull – Shevington High School
      Y63: Abram – Rose Bridge High School
      Y66: Hindley, Atherton Road – Byrchall/Sea
      Y67: Hindley, Atherton Road – Byrchall/Sea
      Y73: St. Peter’s Catholic High School – Whitley Crescent/Spencer Road
      Y74: St. Peter’s Catholic High School – Wigan Lane/Monument Road
      Y75: Bradley Lane/Bentham Road – St. Peter’s Catholic High School
      Y89: St. Mary’s Roman Catholic High School – Wigan Road/Durban Road
      Y90: St. Mary’s Roman Catholic High School – Leigh Road/Westbourne Avenue
      Y91: Standish High School – Frog Lane/Gldlow Lane
      Y94: Gidlow – Standish High School
      Y95: Beech Hill – Standish High School
      Y96: Worthington Park – Standish High School

      All the Yellow School Bus routes comprise of a single return journey.

      Kind regards,

      Stuart.

      Like

  4. Found out from a TfGM insider that the 12, 25, 26, 32, 33, x34, 39, 540 & 582 are all staying as First and will be transferred to Bolton and Queen’s Road Depots. Handover of remaining routes to Stagecoach happens on 2nd December.

    Like

    1. Cheers Trystan,

      Therefore the changes won’t affect anyone who make straightforward journeys along the above routes you stated. Things are a little complicated for passenger travelling from Pemberton to Atherton whereby two different companies will run their journey (unless they purchase a System One pass or get the train).

      I thought the 540 and 582 would have remained FGM journeys, being as they can be worked solely from Bolton.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

      Like

    2. Sorry, Trystan, your insider is incorrect. Everything that is at Wigan is staying at Wigan and transferring to Stagecoach (except a couple of Salford school services). The 12/25/26, 39 and 582 wouldn’t have transferred as they are BN or QS routes. QS are keeping their share of the 33 (i.e. the Mon-Sat daytime service), WN are keeping their bit (evenings and Sundays). 32 and 540 are staying at WN. The only thing that I am not sure about is the X34… WN is keeping its share but I’m not sure about the remainder.

      Like

      1. Found out what’s happening with the X34. Stagecoach will take over the WN workings, whilst the BN and QS workings will stay with First.

        That means Stagecoach will run the following journeys:
        From Leigh – 0604, 0700, 0745 (starts Lowton 0727), 0912 then hourly until 1512, 1625, 1727
        From Manchester – 0654, 0812 then hourly until 1612, 1742, 1842

        Saturdays – all xx:12 journeys

        Like

  5. Does anyone think a price rise is on the horizon with Stagecoach with all these aquisitions? My friend from Leigh doesn’t think SC taking over will make any difference as a lot of the issue with the buses in the Wigan area is that the local road system is just so clogged up that the majority of services are delayed anyway. My most recent experience on a 600 from Leigh was fine until getting to the Bryn area. It was just a huge traffic jam in either direction with rows of buses of all colours sitting in said traffic.

    Like

    1. Hi Trystan,

      I cannot confirm as to whether there may be any change in prices, though it wouldn’t surprise me given their now expanded area. Then again, it is worth noting that at one time, the Manchester Megarider also covered Stagecoach Ribble’s operations within Greater Manchester and that prices rose by modest amounts. Furthermore, there was no great price rises on their tickets following the acquisition of Glossopdale Bus Company, Dennis’s Coaches and Mayne of Manchester. The rises were more marked on single fares as Dennis’s offered cheaper fares than Stagecoach Manchester in their last years prior to acquisition in April 2005.

      As for bad traffic jams, Stagecoach Manchester would be best qualified at rescheduling around these issues, given the day-to-day congestion they face on Hyde Road, Ashton Old and New Roads, Stockport Road and the Wilmslow Road corridor. We await the next month’s proceedings with great interest.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

      Like

  6. Take over date finally confirmed as Sunday 2nd December. As mentioned, Stagecoach will inherit exactly what Wigan depot runs now, so the X34 will be split between the two companies. NO route or timetable changes on Sunday. Presumably, Stagecoach’s priority will be ticketing, including publicising what will happen with passengers holding First tickets valid beyond Sunday. The other obvious priority is the state of the fleet, and whilst details remain confidential, the information coming through suggests that the age profile of the fleet will improve dramatically and very quickly.

    Like

      1. I wonder where the Arrows would go after Wigan? The scrapyard? Another part of FirstGroup territory? Preservation movement, hopefully in the original TfL livery? For history’s sake, I hope at least one of the Dennis Arrows joins the preservation movement – possibly with its separate exit door restored.

        Like

    1. I’m afraid (!), it wiil. All existing Wigan depot ops will transfer. A full list is now shown on Stagecoach’s website, noting that the X34 will be split roughly 50/50, and Stagecoach will take over just the evening & Sunday through Wigan-M’cr journeys on the 33.

      Like

  7. Which services do you think Stagecoach will introduce/re-introduce if any? Do you think that the 33 will eventually go fully to stagecoach?

    Like

    1. I’d love to see the 39 from Manchester to Leigh reinstated – possibly with (though most unlikely) – its extension to Liverpool restored. As for the 33, they have Sunday and Bank Holiday journeys, though I would say in about 6 – 12 months that Stagecoach Wigan may take over the whole route.

      Like

    2. Probably a bit early to speculate on Stagecoach’s long term plans. Clearly, they have wasted no time in addressing the need to drastically improve the bus fleet, so the next step will be to decide on fares & ticketing after 6th January, and see what happens with patronage/revenue.

      Like

  8. Excellent stuff, could do with taking some pictures of the Stagecoach Wigan buses over the next week. Tomorrow’s unlikely as I shall be at The Christmas Cracker event at the Greater Manchester Museum of Transport, then looking around the Christmas Market.

    Like

  9. Will Stagecoach be running the Wigan Night Services? Stagecoach only run the 256 and 192 in Manchester, First have traditionally ran more Night Services. I have read on the Wikipedia page for Stagecoach that they’ve proposed a buyout of Blue Bird in Middleton, this should be approved early 2013. Do you think that they will compete with First on the 17 eventually like JPT have been doing?

    Like

    1. Not entirely sure on the Wigan night buses; as far as I know, First Greater Manchester may operate them for the time being as they come under a Transport for Greater Manchester contract. Stagecoach Manchester also run the 216 [Manchester - Ashton - Glossop], 219 [Manchester - Ashton - Stalybridge] and 201 [Manchester - Hyde] night buses and have done for some time.

      Like

    2. Stagecoach will run all Wigan night bus services as they have been acquired with the depot.

      Stagecoach run a lot more night services than those mentioned – 43 (nightly), 82, 142, 143, 192, 201, 203, 216, 219, 237, 256, plus to a degree the 105 although that starts at 3am so catches the back end of the clubbing market

      Like

  10. I have just seen the most bizarre sight, a double decker Volvo B9TL with all the First markings except with a Stagecoach logo over the First logo. This was on the 33 going towards Manchester! Do you think that now Stagecoach may start to run more buses in Salford (inbetween their Manchester and Wigan operations)?

    Like

    1. As I’ve said, its too early for such speculation. The Evening & Sunday 33 tender passes to Stagecoach purely because that’s what Wigan depot already ran. Mon-Sat Worsley “shorts” stay with First (Queens Road depot)

      Like

    1. The Olympians, Optare Excels, old Darts and the Volvo B10BLEs are due to go, once all the replacements have arrived. At least some of the Arrows (R-regd) will be retained for a few months though, as the capacity is needed and there are insufficient spare double-deckers in the Stagecoach empire.

      Like

  11. But I feel more happy if they got sold and lived on rather than dieing when personally i think the old buses are as good as the new ones but low floor is nearly everywhere now except for some independent companys in uk

    Like

    1. Apart from the DDA requiring all buses to be low-floor/easy access by (I think) 2017 for double-deckers and 2015 for single-deckers, TFGM have a 15 year age limit for buses used on Tendered services. They also cause far more pollution than new buses.

      Like

  12. So now we’re into the phase of Stagecoach running the routes in Wigan as Stagecoach Manchester with their prices. Anybody know when they’re going to give the old First buses a re-spray? Anybody got wind of any route changes/withdrawals/introductions by Stagecoach Wigan?

    Like

    1. though they where running as Stagecoach Wigan only former first buses staying are the B9 double decks and the B7 single decks

      Like

    2. Still too early to speculate. Surely, they will monitor patronage changes with the new ticket range and the updating of the fleet, before deciding on service changes. The next agreed Service Change Date is 7th April, which means registering by second weekend in February, so they will only have 5 weeks to monitor the effects. I suspect any changes then will be minimal and probably more geared towards punctuality issues, before more radical changes in the Summer.

      Like

    3. The first couple of vehicles have been sent for repaint.

      No changes to services will take place until after the first 90 days of Stagecoach ownership due to TUPE regulations. So it will probably be in April as Dentonian has suggested.

      Michael, all in good time. Excels have been withdrawn, as have virtually all of the Darts.

      Like

      1. yes i know 4 of the Excels where withdrawn before take over so went to stagecoach as status Z about 3 darts left in service

        Like

  13. Unfortunately, there has been a negative development which has put a block on any further changes/improvements. Having passed the original deal, the OFT have now decided to RETROSPECTIVELY investigate it! Looking at the OFT website, they don’t expect to come to a decision until approx. 25 February, which means a moratorium on any repaints and presumably, any further fleet changes. Probably more significantly – and even assuming the deal is passed (again!) – it means no service changes can be implemented until at least 22 April. As this is a fortnight after TFGM’s “Fixed Change Date”, and getting close to the Holiday season, this will almost certainly mean no service changes/improvements until July, or even September.

    Like

    1. My Word, Phil!

      Not very good for the bus travelling public of Wigan and Leigh. After expecting dramatic improvements compared with the old order, our fellows will be uncertain as to whether Stagecoach will remain at Wigan or see another company. I think I may have seen similar parallels with Preston Bus, before Rotala took over from Stagecoach who bought the municipality first.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

      Like

  14. Any update on the Stagecoach Wigan situation? Anybody heard any more about Statecoach Middleton? I am guessing this is all stalling the livery being updated on the old First Buses. What does the OFT take exception to with regards to Stagecoach Wigan?

    Like

    1. The inquiry into the acquisition of Bluebird closes next Wednesday, with the Wigan one not due to conclude until Feb 25th. The flippant answer to your last question is the OFT takes exception to Stgaecoach FULL STOP. More seriously, its believed an unknown party objected NOT to the takeover, but to the drastic reduction in fares.
      The biggest general criticism of the OFT I have – given they sit in an ivory tower deep London, where on road competition is ILLEGAL – is that they only consider internal competition between bus companies. In reality, the bus industry is in compettion with local rail, car and cycle.
      However, there is one question that is valid given the £9 a week ticket. How long Is it sustainable, especially in a town where the vast majority of services cope with single deckers, and mid-route congestion/late running in the borough (mainly Ince Bar!) is second only to Tameside? Operational costs (eg. fuel and especially the tax element therein), plus driver costs (numbers needed, not wage increases), must be increasing dramatically month on month, yet Stagecoach can charge lower fares for regular customers in Wigan than virtually anywhere else.

      Like

      1. Mark, Phil and Michael,

        It seems unbelievable that one can complain to the OFT about the fares on Stagecoach’s routes being too low. In one sense, it should expose how expensive some of First Greater Manchester’s single fares are. The highest single fare on FGM’s buses is a good £1.50 less than top whack on Stagecoach Manchester. If the complainant’s views are upheld and Stagecoach Manchester are force to increase their fares to FGM’s levels, the passengers lose out big style! It also reduces the competition element between themselves, Arriva and D&G [South Lancs Travel] – as well as between other modes.

        Having said this before, I can imagine the £9.00 offer being a limited promotion. Should Stagecoach Wigan be able to harmonise its fares with Stagecoach Manchester, I can imagine there being three Megarider type tickets. There could be your Manchester and Wigan Megariders, whereas one for Greater Manchester could be named the ‘Greater Manchester Goldrider’. This would bring it into line with other Stagecoach subsidiaries where cheaper local tickets (weekly, monthly and day saver) are available alongside more expensive versions covering a wider operational area.

        Bye for now,

        Stuart.

        Like

      2. Actually, First and Stagecoach single fares for the vast majority of non-commuting journeys (ie. 5 miles or less) are broadly similar, and many, many times the cost of petrol! The only reason First appear more expensive, is because you have to go a further distance to reach the DaySaver “cap”.

        Like

      3. Not really, there is a fair difference between the two…
        Stagecoach = First
        120 = 150
        160 = 210
        180 = 250
        210 = 310
        240 = 380
        290 = 450

        PS – Stuart, its South Lancs *Travel*… South Lancs Transport was the St Helens based operator that sold out to Arriva way back when :)

        Like

      4. I’m not sure that’s entirely correct! Surely, not even First charge £3.10 for a 1.0 to 1.49 mile journey.

        Like

      5. Fares in central Manchester are broadly similar (£2.10 from town to Pendleton with both operators) but the five stage fare on a normal stopping service is £2.10 on Stagecoach and £3.10 with First.

        Like

      6. Stagecoach Manchester’s fares tend to be cheaper on journeys 3 miles and above. Interestingly, my local route (346) is £2.10 and £2.20 from the Albion Hotel to Ashton-under-Lyne on Stagecoach Manchester and First Manchester, so the difference is meagre.

        With the 343 to Stalybridge (again from the Albion Hotel), it is £2.20 on First’s journeys but £1.60 on Stotts’.

        Bye for now,

        Stuart.

        Like

      7. 5 stages! How far apart are Stages nowadays? Denton to Hyde (201) is only 7 STOPS, and that’s £2.10 – or was last Summer. 204/206 is £2.40.

        Like

    1. White, orange and brown buses For The Win, Andrew!

      Ditto the above with Verona Green and Cream (I could go on). :-)

      I would like to see our buses back in public ownership, but I doubt as if it may happen unless a spectacular collapse affects any of our big bus owning groups.

      Warmly,

      Stuart.

      Like

      1. Public ownership normally means loads of officialdom squandering your taxes on gold plated pensions as the civil service and local councils do now all paid by those who work and pay in the private sector. It means that buses that are not well used will be kept running and the tax payer which is you and I will have to pay even more tax to subsidise them. Private companies such as S/C look to build trade as empty seats means lost selling chances unlike in the past where nobody gave a dam as the country was prosperous with plenty of jobs. You cant create wealth with nonjobs for civil servant who always become top heavy with managers they must create some thing as the only way that comes about is by manufacturing goods that can be sold at a profit that where it all starts and ends.

        Like

      2. the OFT have now passed Wigan and I have read that the B9s there are going to East Midlands soon and Envrio 19391 is there for driver famisliren as some are going there

        Like

      3. Where have you got this information about the OFT “passing” Stagecoach’s aquisition of First Wigan? This has not been reported anywhere else, and the latest reports are that the decision will still be made early next week.

        Like

      4. CC: Straight out of the Jeremy Clarkson book of right-wing generalisation. But more disappointing that someone with a presumed interest in buses should infer that those who don’t travel from/to and when the private sector dictate, should buy a car – and therefore through economic necessity, never go near a bus again.
        The worst generalisation comes from your ignorance (look most of the overpaid private sector media bods in this country) of Public Sector pensions. No doubt you are right when it comes to Whitehall Civil Servants, and of course MPs (including those attacking the public sector etc) get £43k a year pension. However, the LGPS which most er “Local Government” employees are in is not subsidised by the tax-payer, and you have to work many, many years and now retire at 68, to collect anything like a decent pension. Indeed, I have calculated that if I am “lucky” enough to keep my job to a predicted Retirement age of 70 (by the late 2020s/early 2030s), I will have to live to 77 just to break even on my contributions. As male life expectancy in east GM is FALLING (slightly), and the males in my family have very poor genes, that seems highly unlikely.

        On a lighter note, if S/C etc want to fill “empty seats”, they could try putting cushions on them – better yet, make them more affordable for part time workers, shift workers, carers etc. ie. the lowest paid, who pay the highest fares per mile.

        Like

      5. I worked for Remploy at Oldham for 21 years till August last year when is sham of a goverment kicked us out of a job and i am still looking for new job i want to work as for OFT i misread something on slf so whoops on my account so i hope Wigan gets passed they have done nothing wrong

        Like

  15. Whilst it is widely anticpated that a decision will be made regarding Wigan early next week, the OFT HAS today cleared the aquisition of Bluebird, Middleton. No official word on the effective takeover date, but from what I’ve heard you’d better get your cameras out smartish to record another chapter in Greater Manchester’s turbulant public transport history.

    Like

    1. Thanks Phil,

      I found about this on the Coach and Bus Week Twitter feed, and mentioned this on my Bluebird post. Needless to say, I shall be getting my camera(s) out ready to capture the last of Bluebird Bus and Coach. Therefore, Stagecoach will be the proud owner of Bluebirds north and south of Hadrian’s Wall!

      Stone me, 96 or so hours that could shake the Greater Manchester bus world…!

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

      Like

  16. njlawley – What have you heard about the destination of the B9’s? What will happen to the Excels? I think the B9’s have a better specification than Stagecoach’s buses. I wouldn’t like to see them go altogether.

    As for privatisation – when has privatisation worked for the public, it has enabled massive companies to cream profits off of essential services. The only winners are the richest in society, not the kind of people I’d expect on a bus appreciation blog!

    Like

    1. Enviro 19391 is on loan to Wigan training the drivers on them i know this for a fact as i get weekly reports for both firstgroup and stagecoach

      Like

    2. As the OFT clearance has gone through (as of late this afternoon), the Excels will leave as I believe these were (provisionally) sold a few weeks ago. As for the B9s, I’m not sure I can say where they are going (I’ll have to check!) but if I can, I’ll let you know… but my source is internal :)

      Like

      1. Hi Nicholas,

        I wonder what’s going to happen to the Excels? Has anybody considered preserving one in the Timeline livery, as that would be an interesting project.

        Warmly,

        Stuart.

        Like

    3. Hi Andrew,

      I’m struggling to name an example of a privatisation which has worked well in the public interest. Some might hail the privatisation of British Telecom as a shining example. Though it has enabled us to choose our own telephone without waiting, it has put us several years behind many countries in terms of broadband speeds. Some might say British Airways was another: on the contrary, as the ‘market’ determined that Ringway and other airports outside London weren’t worthy of anything besides a shuttle with Heathrow or Gatwick (hence easyJet, Ryanair, Virgin, Emirates and Etihad filling their gaps).

      As for the likes of any big bus owning group bosses commenting on here – or any other head of recently privatised or soon to be privatised bodies, I’m not holding my breath.

      In the more immediate future, I hope Wiganers see improved services, compared with their predecessors’ efforts only recently. They’ve already made a positive impact from what I’ve seen, even in its transitional period.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

      Like

      1. The problem with the “free market” is that, to maximise profits, it concentrates on critical mass, so the customer has to conform. As you rightly say, the unfortunately named British Airways concentrates on London; the holiday industry concentrates on couples/families; and the bus industry concentrates on main corridors and during shopping hours. That alone is a dangerous strategy long-term as outside major cities, it is only a matter of time before all parking is free, and whose going to wait 25 minutes for a bus charging them £1.50 a mile, when they can be sat in their car, causing the delays to that self-same bus, for little more than a tenth of the cost………and that assumes no passengers aged 5-62ish?
        Anyone who has read this month’s (March cover date) will also see two other reasons why de-regulation is judged a failure by most bus passengers – and to a lesser extent the same principles go for other private sector industries. Most obviously in this context, a native (so he should) know, laments how First took a proud and profitable municipality in Northampton Transport, and let it go to rack and ruin, and then Stagecoach come along – not just as predatory competitors – and run supposedly loss-making routes, not only at an initial profit, but invest in better, more frequent buses. Its a hard fact of life that few, if any, bus services outside London (ironically) have a big enough market to support sustained competition, so its purely down to (hard) luck, whether your local route is well run, or badly run. And because its privatised, you have no say. You can’t vote out a bad bus company!
        The second article was a situation in Tyne & Wear, that in essence has been replicated many times in GM since 1986; A disgruntled ex-manager from a former PTE (or NBC) coompany, goes head to head with his former employer on exactly the same route at almost exactly the same fares and almost exactly the same times. ie. offering NOTHING new to the customer, who is just collateral in what is little more than a vendetta. How many truly innovative services have we seen in Gtr. Manchester in the last quarter of a century? Virtually NONE.

        Like

      2. Hi Phil,

        I too decry the lack of bus related innovation in our city region. Electric hybrid vehicles have only just come into mainstream use 40 years after the Chloride Silent Rider, Lucas Electric Bus, and the electric hybrid Seddon Pennine IV. Yet they’ve been hailed as ‘new’ despite SELNEC’s pioneering research in the early 1970s. Demand responsive transport? Dial a Ride did that in 1975, as did the National Bus Company and London Transport! Frequent minibuses, a la Bee Line? SELNEC tried and failed in that department, but a knock-on effect of this was the Centreline services (without which we wouldn’t have the Metroshuttles in city centre Manchester, Stockport, Oldham and Bolton). Even Centreline had its roots in Manchester Corporation’s failed City Circle services. Frequent single deckers on main routes? The norm everywhere, but predicted as far back as 1963 when Manchester Corporation ordered dual door Leyland Panthers.

        The visionaries we had in the 1960s have gone, as the tired and tested continue. A lot of it is down to the ridiculous notion of bus competition being serial (among established networks, between operators), instead of parallel (with other modes including the car). Hence the archaic ticketing system which penalises irregular passengers for changing modes, boundaries, or breaking journeys (unless they possess a day rover ticket). The problem is, our deregulated bus network stymies proper integration, hence delays in introducing an all-modes Mancunian Oyster Card. Furthermore, the average Greater Mancunian child now sees about seven different fare rises a year, including train and tram fares, and at least five different bus operators, depending on area.

        Re-regulation and standard fares throughout our bus network? An absolute must!

        Bye for now,

        Stuart.

        Like

      3. I must admit in terms of innovation, I did mean genuine fare cuts, service level improvements – eg if incumbant runs at 00 & 30, newcomer registers (and RUNS) at 15 & 45 – and most of all, new routes. The idea of competition being solely between bus Operators has become a self perpetuating prophecy, as there is no way they can compete with cars. Before deregulation (and the M60!), you could genaralise and say a bus journey (not involving the city centre) took twice as long as a car, and cost twice as much. Today, it probably takes five times as long and five times as much – and that’s before you take into account the high cost of owning, but NOT using a car. After all, you don’t buy a very expensive dog and bark yourself. Here, east of the M60 and indeed east of the A57(M), we probably have the worst of all bus operating environments. We’re the only side of Manchester for which the cross-city ban is effectively still in force; Tameside has the least punctual “mid-point” bus services of the entire county; running times in the south/west of the borough in particular are on a par with London – shame the fares aren’t! – and free parking (legal or otherwise) is the norm. Reading further into Buses mag, I came across a very telling comment to resonate with all car-less Tamesiders (and others): “It is somewhat galling that buses should be moved around to make way for a ridiculously costly (to the taxpayer) tram extension, which only exists to prey on the bus market”. The quote was from a former Arriva MD, and was referring to Birmingham, but it was interesting to hear such an “elephant in the room” comment, and that its not just GM where the naive notion that Trams are there to reduce congestion and improve social inclusion, is worthy of question.
        The only argument (and it is an overwhelming one), is that local politicians quickly washed their hands of the bus industry once deregulated, and saw those that continued to patronise privatised buses (usually through no choice) as traitors, and “acceptable collateral”. Domestic politics in this country has swung massively to the Right since 1986, and Reregulation would probably just give politicians (especially Labour) the power to close down bus routes, and force us all to drive to Railheads. How else would you explain the TIF advert near Christ Church, Denton (just Manchester side of the town centre), eschewed the advantages of Metrolink to the locals. The TIF plans called for a CUT in bus services through Denton (and Stagecoach duly obliged, anyway) – therefore the C-charge would not have applied to Hyde Road – so the message was “Dump the bus, buy a car and DRIVE 4 miles to Droylsden or the Snipe”.

        Like

  17. Bang on there, Phil,

    Especially the issue regarding Tameside’s (lack of) mid-point punctuality and the denigration of buses, despite being an important mode of public transport. One which even now, carries about eight times the number of tram and train passengers throughout Greater Manchester.

    If I remember rightly, was the last cross-city bus route from Hyde a version of the 8 service from Bolton? If so, that service was split at Market Street in 1932, with the 8 almost in its early-mid 1930s, and the Hyde to Manchester section part of today’s 201 route (or did it extend to Glossop and become the 125?). The Hyde terminus for that route was Greenfield Street, by the school (or rather in today’s terms, the back of Wilkinson’s store). National Express’ irregular 351 service from Liverpool to Sheffield and Clacton-on-Sea is probably the only cross-city route via Tameside – and its only stop in the borough is in Hollingworth (The Gun Inn).

    Warmly,

    Stuart.

    Like

      1. Hi Nicholas,

        It was the 57 route, from Pendlebury to Debdale Park. There was also the 77 route from Swinton which accompanied it up to Manchester city centre.

        The last Tameside true cross-city bus route, rather than last Hyde one? Definitely the 64 and 66 from Peel Green to Ashton-under-Lyne. Split in 1978 when Manchester to Ashton section became the 219. Though only just cross-city, the 236/237 used to terminate outside Deansgate railway station after Lower Mosley Street bus station closed in 1973. It approached Manchester via St. Peter’s Square before reaching Piccadilly Bus Station, then Ashton New Road prior to reaching Ashton bus station and its present day route.

        Bye for now,

        Stuart.

        Like

      2. I was thinking more “cross-city centre”, with Reddish/Stockport, Denton/Haughton Green and the whole AOR corridor having regular direct access to the Arndale Bus station (as was) and Victoria right up until 1995. Until it closed just before De-reg, I used to get the 0704, 204 from Haughton Green to Frederick Road depot, and in the 3+ years I worked there, I probably missed clocking in by 0800 (earliest start under “flexi-time”) on barely a dozen occasions. Imagine how long it would take today!

        ________________________________

        Like

  18. Hi Phil,

    I have fond memories of getting the 220 to and from Manchester Victoria railway station during the mid 1980s. If I remember rightly, it more or less followed the Metrolink route from Piccadilly railway station into Piccadilly Gardens, then passed and stopped outside Lewis’s before reaching Manchester Victoria railway station via Cannon Street and Corporation Street prior to reaching Hunts Bank and the railway station. On the way back, I think it turned left onto Victoria Street prior to reaching Cateaton Street and Cannon Street before reaching Piccadilly Gardens.

    On one journey, I remember having to dive off at Lewis’s because of the traffic (about 1985 with my Dad at the time). On a return journey, after a trip to Morecambe in summer 1986, we copped for a return 220 with a broken Almex ticket machine (last stopping trains to Stalybridge used to finish at a daft time back then, unlike today’s much superior rail service).

    Even as late as 1994, it was still cross-city centre. Prior to the takeover of Mayne of Manchester’s bus operations’ by Stagecoach Manchester, the 232 – 235 routes used Arndale Bus Station, then terminated at Piccadilly Gardens before changing the terminus to Shudehill Interchange.

    Bye for now,

    Stuart.

    Like

    1. iirc, it was May/June 1995 when the sham “City Centre Bus Strategy” was introduced. The excuse was dispicable. It preyed on a tragic accident at the junction of Cannon Street and High Street, when a woman was trapped between two buses. However, it transpired that the plan was already being considered before that incident, and it is now believed to have been purely to give Metrolink an advantage over buses. If they had waited a year, they could have blamed the IRA!

      Like

      1. Hi Phil,

        That [the Metrolink priority issue] doesn’t surprise me one bit. One could say that the opening of the island platform on Market Street (1998) was another tacit example of this. By contrast, I boarded a tram from Derker today and noticed that the 59s, 83s and 184s had more priority over the tram. I cannot see why buses shouldn’t have the same priority as trams and greater priority measures on main roads, especially so in tram-less areas like Hyde Road, Stockport Road and Chester Road (which is always dismal around Broadheath for traffic). Then again, it probably sounds too much like a sensible idea.

        Bye for now,

        Stuart.

        Like

  19. So, Stagecoach are still running Wigan Services. I’ve seen many more Stagecoach livery buses running on Service 33 (Wigan – Manchester Piccadilly). However, they don’t seem to have repainted the old First ones. It does seem that they’re just phasing them out. Does anybody know any more? Another strange thing, the lost property phone number at Lockett Road still says First Bus on the answer phone.

    I think JPT are being squeezed by the acquisition of Bluebird, this could spell the end of JPT all together. What are everybody’s thoughts on that?

    Like

    1. The majority of buses inherited from First were elderly and non-standard. All the 17 year old single-deckers were quickly withdrawn by Stagecoach, and replaced by new or 7 year old Stagecoach standard types. The older double-deckers should also be replaced by the start of the next School Year. The newer B9 double-deckers are being transferred to Scottish subsidiaries, although – unless Michael knows different – only five have actually left Wigan. They have been replaced by 10 newer standard E400 double-deckers, as part of a fleet move round resulting from Stagecoach receiving 40 more diesel-electric hybrid E400s for the 192 route. That just leaves the B7RLE single deckers which will be repainted as part of their normal maintenence programme. Its not practical to take them all of the road at once just for repainting.

      As for Jpt’s future. That is largely in their own hands. If they go to war with Stagecoach, they will lose.If they concentrate on their own initiatives such as 118 and 156/7, along with running TFGM tenders properly, then they shouldn’t have any more to worry about than the bus industry in general.

      Like

      1. Not really the forum for arguing about semantics, but there is a difference between what is planned to happen in the near future, and what HAS actually happened. For those unfamiliar with the operational niceties; Stagecoach (and probably other operators), circulate an internal memo detailing what is INTENDED to happen in the next four-weekly accounting period, in terms of the bus fleet. These used to be publicly available (the London one still is), but has been dropped from their localised websites, partly because people were extracting the information and publicly broadcasting the details as facts set in stone. This means that if there was a change of plan, it could be misinterpreted as Stagecoach not knowing what they were doing. When in fact, they were just changing plans to accomodate unforseen events eg. major roadworks, serious damage to a bus etc.

        Like

      2. Actually, partial apologies to Michael. Yes, you are right not to believe all you read on said thread. Also, I’ve just seen a message on another enthusiasts’ site stating that 9 of the 10 B9s from Wigan have now gone to Scotland. Five travelling up there just yesterday.

        Incidentally, and I don’t know if this has reached the general media – or if they are interested anyway – but First have announced further fare cuts for regular passengers. It basically looks like all First passengers will have what certain areas/corridors have enjoyed for a few months. First Day Tickets (off-peak, I think) will come down to £4, with FirstWeeks dropping to £13. iirc, this is from 8th April. Somewhat surprising in the face of massive and discriminatory increases in fuel tax, but there you go……………..for now.

        Like

  20. Since Stagecoach took over Wigan Depot, First have done an M60 Day Saver and M60 Weekly at £3.90 and £13 respectively. I think this was because of Stagecoach running on the A6 corridor in Salford with the 32, X34 and 50. These tickets are on-peak tickets. Are these new £4/£13 tickets restricted to single areas or are they network tickets? First also need to address the fact that their Day Saver doesn’t work on services between midnight and 04:00, you need to purchase a First Night (after 18:30 for this). This is in stark contrast to Stagecoach’s Day Rider which is valid until 04:00 (Night Services).

    Do you think Stagecoach might consider taking some of the other Manchester – Leigh services, such as the 12, 25 and 26? Also, Stagecoach would run the 132 to the Trafford Centre.

    Finally, I’m disappointed that Stagecoach are sending the ex-First B9’s to Scotland. They are better spec than the Enviros that Stagecoach are replacing them with.

    Like

    1. Hi Salford,

      I can assure you that the £13.00 and £4.00 tickets are for the whole First Greater Manchester area, so it is still possible to go from Warrington to Huddersfield on a FirstDay ticket.

      On the Enviro400 versus Volvo B9TL debate, I like the legroom on the Enviro400s and the ride quality of the Volvo B9TLs. I wish there was a middle ground, like a Volvo B9TL with Enviro400 legroom. This I found was true on Transdev Burnley and Pendle’s ‘Witch Way’ buses on the top deck. I suppose the main reason is standardisation, so the Volvo B9TLs would be deemed ‘non-standard’ to Stagecoach’s Manchester and Wigan companies.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

      Like

    2. Salford; Apologies if I am wrong, but your comments suggest you don’t fully understand the deregulated environment. First presumably have a specific policy regarding Night Fares. This probably reflects the longer distance of their night journeys – remember they are in competition with taxis – and generally lower patronage levels. Stagecoach are in competition with Finglands (off and on) for the lucrative Student market on some of their Night buses. Additionally, it should be remembered that crime is higher on these services, thus the Operators need to take account of that for insurance purposes. Finally – and contradicting myself by reverting to ethics and need, rather than money and greed – High Night Fares are hardly a major concern given that the vast majority of areas don’t have Night services, and the vast majority of customers are discretionary. What is most “unfare”; £4 for a 12 mile journey after a few bevvies, or £2.20 for a 1.3 mile journey to the doctors, chemists, supermarket or low-paid, part time job?

      Similarly, Stagecoach aquired the Wigan depot operations of First, so it has nothing to do with 12, 25 & 26 services. Stagecoach may choose (but I very much doubt it!) to compete with First on these routes, but bus companies do not just “take over” commercial services. Same argument goes for the 132, except it isn’t even run by First. Its SLT.

      Like

  21. I understand the system but I do not like the system. I think as you said the mere fact that Stagecoach wouldn’t compete with First goes to show just how flawed the free-market capitalist model for public services is. I think most enthusiasts will agree that the bus network was far better before it was de-regulated. The number of services have been reduces massively, the cost of travelling has sky rocketted (in real terms – factoring in inflation) and the network is fragmented. We do however have a rather useless regulatory body (TfGM), but they are simply in cahoots with the big operators, giving them preferential treatment like the Quality Bus Partner status (which is an utterly stupid thing to do).

    As for night services, yes I agree it’s unfair and that it affects low paid workers during the day. I do however think that we need a more extensive and comprehensive night bus network that runs every night for low paid workers who have to work shifts. For instance those who work in the hospitals and in the City Centre over night. They would oppose this on the grounds of low patronage, what they mean is, they do not want to eat into their daytime profits. A nationalised bus network, run by AGMA would be the way forwards. They could use the daytime profits from the likes of routes like the 192, 17…. to pay for the less profitable ones.

    So, to conclude, I think we need to re-instate GM Buses, just as we need to re-nationalise all public services: Gas, Electricity, Water…..

    Like

    1. Whilst generally agreeing with your politics, you have shown again that you don’t understand the finer details of the deregulated bus induustry. TFGM is NOT a regulatory body. That is the job of the North West Traffic Commissioner and her Area Office. TFGM’s role is limited (by LAW) to subsidised services/journeys, where they can (and do) fine Operators for unreliability. TFGM are NOT in cahoots with any single operator, and as employee I can tell you any favouring of larger operators over smaller ones is laughable. If anything, it has been the other way round.
      Notwithstanding the Bluebird acquisition – which does bring an additional element of competition to North Manchester – the flaw in the free market ethos is even more basic. THE PUBLIC TRANSPORT MARKET IS NOT BIG ENOUGH. As for the more specific lack of competition between First and Stagecoach; As well as the market being too small, the operational costs and difficulties would make it virtually impossible. What would you suggest Stagecoach do; spend massive amounts of money setting up depots in Salford, Bolton etc, or burn millions of litres of diesel running round the M60 from existing depots? Where in Bus Stations and the city centre would the extra buses be accomodated?
      You also misunderstand one of the basics of Bus De-regulation, at which the architect, Nicholas Ridley proclaimed “Cross-subsidy is evil”. It is illegal for an Operator to use the profits from busy journeys to subsidise the loss making journeys EVEN ON THE SAME ROUTE at quieter times eg. Evenings.
      Finally, you contradict yourself by attacking the employees of TFGM, but then say that our political masters (who USED to be part of AGMA) should run a “nationalised” (sic) bus network.

      Like

  22. I never attacked TfGM employees and I never would attack any employees for what I saw as failings of their organisation. I may not fully understand the purposefully confusing layers of buraucracy, set up and layered as such to make it difficult for the public to place accountability. I think it’s evident that somebody like myself who is interested in public transport is so utterly confused as to where to lay blame, this is one of the main benefits to a government of privatisation. Infact I was under the impression that the reason for replacing GMPTE with TfGM (spending time, effort and money on re branding) was that TfGM would have more powers, I am guessing I am wrong?

    In any case, my confusion as to which level of bureaucracy is accountable is neither here nor there – the man on the street can see that the current system of regulation (if any) is not working effectively. I think you’re right that the market isn’t big enough, but there’s an inherent flaw in the whole free-market ideology in general and that is, once you have a dominant operator, nobody else can compete. My comments about Stagecoach not taking on First were really just to highlight the fact that a free-market model doesn’t work because big operators act like a cartel.

    My comments about AGMA were simply that I think the councils of Greater Manchester should run the services themselves in a join organisation.

    So in conclusion I merely setting out my thoughts that the whole thing should be re-nationalised for the benefit of the passengers. We need to cross subsidise (because otherwise profits disappear to shareholders and council tax payers end up subsidising the less profitable routes more heavily than they should be required to) regardless of what Lord Ridley of Liddesdale says, incidentally, what do you think his annual bus mileage was? Oh, and which friends in First/Stagecoach…. do you think he has?! We need a transport network that is not fragmented and that can never be achieved by this failing private sector model. I am sorry if I didn’t fully understand which organisation was in charge of what, but I am not going to pretend I care about the labyrinthine structure of bureaucracy that a bunch of Tory profiteers created when setting up this corrupt system!

    Like

    1. TFGM replaced GMITA, with additional powers over highways…………….which have yet to materialise! The logo was revised in house to save hiring extensive consultants, and apart from one of your “AGMA” friends insisting certain city centre bus stops be rebranded, all the rest are being replaced as they come up for maintenance. So the re-branding has cost virtually nothing.
      The free market may very well lead to cartels, but just because Stagecoach (or First in reverse) don’t find it good business sense to set up new operating centres in north/west GM, or run buses round the M60 all day to/from remote routes (I’m sure they car-loving media and public would love that!), doesn’t mean that they are in cahoots.
      And talking of political personalities; Lord Ridley has been dead for a number of years, and why didn’t the Labour Party Re-regulate during their 13 years in power?

      Like

  23. Lol, you’re assuming Labour are a left of centre political party, this is most certainly not the case any more. It well known that New Labour is a right-of-centre political party. It is very much into privatisation of public services, just look at the PFI Schemes under Tony Blair. It would take something like The Socialist Party to get into power to put workers back at the centre of government policy and along with them, sort out the public services upon which they rely.
    The two biggest operators in Greater Manchester choose not to compete against each other, it’s naive to suggest that this is a fair practice, if the free-market is to drive down prices. Once again it leads to questions of any regulatory bodies. The “car driving public” are a small number of right-wing pressure groups who want to abolish all forms of state run services (including the NHS). Most car drivers (me included) would use the buses more frequently if the prices were fairer, this needs to start with a flat rate single fair (of around £1.50), which if doubled is less than the cost of a day ticket. It should be significantly cheaper to use public transport than using a car, the fact that it’s not highlights the issue that the operators are creaming off too much in the way of profit.
    As for Lord Ridley, he may have died, but the complete mess that his right-wing ideology created will be sitting around for generations, just as the mess that Margaret Thatcher created (crime, culture of unemployment, rioting in 2011 – yes this level of delinquency has its foundations in the Thatcher era) will still be here long after she has passed away.
    I am not fussed about TfGM re-branding themselves, but to say it cost nothing is a massive understatement. The cost of getting a graphic designer to create a new “M” logo and the creation of a new website will cost something. It’s a fairly typical thing to do when a system is looked upon cynically by the public, re-brand it in order to give the appearance of something better. What people on the street who use the services want is a decent level of service, throughout the day and evening for a reasonable price. That is currently not happening, people feel ripped off, services are constantly being curtailed and cut back and this leads to the public feeling that the service is significantly worse than before de-regulation.

    Like

    1. Are you actually capable of listening (reading) or do you just ignore everything you are advised – even if in line with your political thoughts? YES, De-regulation and our right wing car owning politicians are to blame – and yes, the idea that the fre market reduces prices or improves quality is right wing theoretical nonsense. IF it was true, First would have reduced their fares 17 years ago – not next wekend. But all that shows is that THE MARKET IS NOT BIG ENOUGH. How do you envisage Stagecoach and First competing head-to-head? Should they invest millions in new depots, or spend millions on diesel running between (say) Hyde Road and Oldham, or Wigan and Bury? Apart from the cost – including FULL Fuel tax – what Environmental message does it send out; empty buses running round the M60 all day? And what routes should they compete on? Presumably the ones that are already overbussed like 17 & 192? So where in Manchester will terminating buses be accomodated?

      Yes, you are right about ALL political parties, when it comes to transport, being right-wing hypocrits. And I would include the out and out socialist parties in that. All they are interested in is re-nationalising RAIL. Notwithstanding the appalling reliability and punctuality record of the rail industry and the billions of pounds of tax-payers money it swallows up, the most fundamental point about Rail is that most people need private transport to reach it! The most obvious illustration of this came a few years ago, when some idiot from the Green Party came onto Breakfast News and literally said “everybody drives”.
      Do you honestly think any of your Councillors in Salford use buses? I’m pretty darn sure those in Tameside don’t. My local MP even exploited his time as Labour’s “Bus minister” to be the political voice supporting the Private Hire taxi industry’s demands that blocking bus stops and bus lanes be legalised! But then Tameside Council have a long history of punishing bus users for the illegal parking of motorists……….and that’s just in Denton!

      As regards TFGM’s rebranding – and I’m sick of having to repeat myself on this subject; WHITEHALL TOLD GMITA that they MUST change their name to TFGM. Presumably the name was chosen to deliberately mislead the public into thinking TFGM would have powers (and budget!) akin to TFL. I said that the cost of this ENFORCED rebranding cost *next to* nothing, because the design was done “in house” by TFGM staff supplementing their normal workload. Additionally, bus stop plates and other signage will only be “rebranded”, when the come up for repair or major change to services ie. the new logo will only go on stops at the same time the old logo would have been replaced. In fact, it is estimated that the re-branding could go on into the 2020s,

      Like

  24. This will be my last post because this argument is becoming circular, it seems that you cannot comprehend the questions that I am asking (outside of the existing quagmire of a system). This business of Stagecoach/First, I asked that to illustrate the failures of the system, this feeble reply about buses going round the M60 is nonesense, they both have Manchester Depots and so First could in theory run on the 192 and Stagecoach could run on the 17 (if they swapped some of their existing fleets from one route to the other, it would make negligible difference to the size of their operations). Or you could have a Bury-Stockport route jointly operated by First and Stagecoach made up of the 192 route and the 135 route. I am trying to illustrate that there is nothing to ensure that companies do actually compete and so as such they don’t. The market is not so small that some level of competition could not be put into practice, it would just require a level of regulation that was greater than zero. I do not lay the blame locally, I believe that Whitehall like you said have created a system that is favourable to big bus companies.

    As for political parties, the Green Party are a capitalist party who want to promote sustainability, something that the capitalist system can never provide – for more on that read Marx. The councillors in Salford are mainly Labour and Tory and as such are self-serving capitalists. I think you are wrong about The Socialist Party though, they have stated in local elections (running as Trade Unionists and Socialists Coallition – TUSC) that they would re-instate GM Buses and would re-instate all of the routes that have been withdrawn since privatisation. They would remove ALL private operators from the system and it would be run by an association of the local councils, at arms length. This would include the trams and it would include local rail too, infact they pledged to extend the tram network using the profits made from the current local bus/tram/train services. That means one transport network, so you’d only need one type of ticket, plus cross subsidies would be allowed in order to pay for services which are not economically viable but socially required.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s