By Multicoloured Cab to the Seaside…

Remembering the taxi drivers’ outings to Southport

For several years, a popular fixture of most taxi drivers’ calendars was a trip to the seaside. Instead of being a typical seaside jolly, there would be no cases piled in the boot. Nor would its passengers be couples or families hoping to make rail, air or coach connections. Instead its passengers would be underprivileged or disabled children living locally. They may have been ferried to and from schools by the same drivers. Continue reading “By Multicoloured Cab to the Seaside…”

Tameside Bus Service Changes, May 2011

A picture of a Volvo B6 Wright body low floor bus in FirstGroup livery, Ashton-under-Lyne bus station

In the words of Tori Amos… “It’s going to be big”.

  • 346 route upgraded;
  • 220 and 389 services slashed;
  • 7 service cut to half hourly;
  • 236/237 to cease serving Stalybridge bus station;
  • New buses to come for 346 and 347 routes.

Given the recent news over service cuts outside London and possible contraction of the UK’s bus network, May’s round of service changes for the Greater Manchester area would naturally be met by the same cynicism. Tameside’s future network seems to be a mixed bag with Stalybridge, Dukinfield and Denton most affected. Continue reading “Tameside Bus Service Changes, May 2011”

Recreational Bus and Coach travel in the 1980s

The joys of summertime bus and coach travel in the North of England

For bus enthusiasts, the 1980s was a transitional period which made other transitional periods seem halcyonic. It was a decade which opened with the dawn of coach deregulation and finished with the privatisation of former National Bus Company subsidiaries. Not to mention bus deregulation, an abomination which wreaked havoc in many an urban area and cut off rural communities from affordable alternatives to private motoring.

Continue reading “Recreational Bus and Coach travel in the 1980s”

One in Six Young Mancunians Benefit from Cheaper Bus Fares

How System One Travelcards and the Future Jobs Fund has put young people back to work with cheaper bus fares

For anyone with a low income, especially young people, bus fares can take a significant chunk out of their daily budget. New figures released by Greater Manchester Travelcards Ltd has seen 13% of all participants on the Future Jobs Fund take advantage of cheaper bus fares to and from work. This was since the introduction of a 28 day travelcard in March 2010. Continue reading “One in Six Young Mancunians Benefit from Cheaper Bus Fares”

Hills and Mills: The New Mills Beer Festival

Chalkers’ Snooker Club, Newtown, New Mills, Derbyshire, 8 – 9 April 2011.

Devotees of the real ale cause like myself will be interested to know of a beer festival in New Mills. Situated in Chalkers’ Snooker Club, Newtown, the festival begins at 1200 on Friday 08 April, running till 2300 hours with a similar time the following Saturday. The event has the full backing of the North East Cheshire and High Peak branch of CAMRA, which covers a fair number of pubs east of the M60 motorway. Continue reading “Hills and Mills: The New Mills Beer Festival”

Tameside Reaches for the Sky

Close Encounters of the Hyde Kind: Revolutionary transport system to hit borough by 2017:

  • England to Australia in 45 minutes;
  • Earth to Mars in 6 hours;
  • Newton to Manchester in 2 minutes.

A plan of the Newton Skyport, set to open in 2017.
You Take Me Up: facilities at the Newton Skyport

Forget the High Speed 2 link from Manchester to London and Paris, the latest transport project is set to hit Tameside in a big way. The first scheduled service from Newton to Manchester since 1998 will be launched five years before Philip Hammond’s flagship project is built. Though this journey’s more modest than London to Paris Nord, there will be one major difference.

New Skyport

The last journey from Newton to Manchester was by ageing double decker buses. Instead of double deckers, journeys to Manchester will be made by a fleet of Asprood Filay rocket ships. The Asprood Filay rockets can carry 86 passengers in comfort anywhere from Newton to the planet Neptune. Standing room is available for 16 passengers.

The purpose built Skyport is set to open in 2015, and will be situated on Victoria Street/Talbot Road junction, opposite the Bay Horse pub. Through-ticketing between the 346 bus route and Mars will be made available with fares from Ashton, Newton (Cheshire Cheese), Dukinfield and Hyde starting at a cool £500 return. Senior citizens will travel for £104 after 9.30am. IGo pass holders can travel for £250, so long as they aren’t travelling during school hours.

The landlord of The Bay Horse opposite said that “the new skyport will be a boost to the local economy, and the whole of Greater Manchester. I would be most happy to nip to Melbourne and be back in time for Come Dine With Me.

“Anybody boarding the new services will be more than welcome to call in for a pint of Robbies and a burger – for a cosmic £4.50”. Councillors voted in favour of the proposals regarding the skyport as “a radical approach to solving the borough’s high unemployment problem and commendable example of private money reaching Tameside”.

However, the proposals did meet some opposition. The local Green Party stating that “money should be spent on improving Tameside’s bus and rail routes” with concerns about it fuelling “Britain’s appetite for hypermobility”. Elsewhere, residents on Victoria Street are concerned about the extra noise pollution. There was one in favour, who claimed “it would be more reliable than the 346 ever will be on a Friday afternoon”.

The Asprood Filay rockets will be named Stuart Hall, Ricky Hatton, Barbara Castle and Timmy Mallett. Each vehicle costs £4,010,000 to build with the new skyport costing £100 million to build. Facilities will include a waiting room, newsagents, bar/restaurant facilities and fast food outlets. We hope this new venture takes off well, we really do!

S.V., 01 April 2011.