Thankfully Not The Cruel Summer We Expected…

Citaro Blur

East of the M60 had expected more far reaching service revisions for 2011, mainly in the form of service cuts. What with SpeedwellBus withdrawing the S48 – S50 and 239 services, we feared the worst. Thankfully, the expected storm didn’t materialise.

First Manchester has emerged as the victor of TfGM’s summer round of tendering and re-tendering of its subsidised routes. The close of July will see them gain a monopoly in Saddleworth by means of the weekday and Saturday 353 and 354 services, gaining the tender from Stotts of Oldham. Therefore First, courtesy of its Dukinfield garage will be the sole operators of the 353/354, along with their 350 route serving most Saddleworth villages, the 180 and the 184 service. The latter two are operated from Oldham and Huddersfield garages.

They too will gain the evening 346 route (Ashton – Gee Cross) from The Coachmasters. This move will see First as the dominant operator along that route, running the service on a full time basis since February 2001. An evening Bank Holiday service will be reinstated, bridging a gap unfilled since 1998! In spite of these improvements to the evening service, this, regrettably would see the fleet age increased a little (the outgoing operator’s vehicles are on average two years) throughout the whole 346 route, though dramatically on the evening route (from two year old Enviro 200s to an average of nine years with the Optare Solos and Dennis Dart SLFs). By contrast, dead time (which to non-bus anoraks relates to the journey between depot and termini) will be reduced dramatically.

Gee Cross seems to be bearing the brunt of this summer’s changes. Firstly, Stagecoach Manchester’s 206 will be rerouted via Stockport Road in both directions. Changes to the peak hour timetable of the 206 will see some journeys replaced by the 204. Following customer complaints about the 206 omitting Hyde bus station, this issue will be remedied. SpeedwellBus’ 344 will be rerouted to serve Waverley Road estate to compensate for the 206’s diversion. Peak hour journeys on the 205 (Manchester – Dane Bank route) will be retimed.

First Manchester also seem to be making further inroads in the Stockport area. Arriva North West’s daytime 380 and 381 services will become First Manchester routes. Evening journeys will be withdrawn and replaced partially by a LocalLink service, plus incumbent evening journeys on the 330, 383 and 384. Also returning to the fold for First Manchester is the 386 Stockport to Greave route. I would assume that the 386 may co-work with the 346 to reduce dead time. The amount of dead time between the 386 terminus at Pennine Road and Gee Cross would be minimal, with the journey taking 5 minutes between 386/346 termini.

The one cloud over this summer’s changes involve the 324 route from Denton to Stockport. The Sunday and Bank Holiday evening service, presently operated by Travelmaster will be withdrawn. Monday to Saturday evening services will be operated by Stotts of Oldham, taking over from JPT Travel. Stagecoach Manchester will take over the Sunday and Bank Holiday daytime service.

Though hardly news in itself these days, yet worthy of reminder, the 24 July will see Tameside’s principal services switch to the summer timetable. Given the reduced traffic in peak hours caused by the summer school holidays, services will run to faster timetables than on schooldays. This will affect all Manchester bound services along Hyde Road, Ashton New Road and Ashton Old Road, with the exception of the 220 and 221 services. This will continue till the 02 September 2011.

By the above date we should expect to see the autumnal service revisions. Slated for withdrawal this September is SpeedwellBus’ 397 from Hyde to Glossop via Hadfield. Eagerly anticipated for autumn is Stagecoach Manchester’s proposals to extend the 236 and 237 terminus to Old Glossop, which is subject to discussions with Derbyshire County Council. One change which would be most welcome for Stalybridge passengers along these routes is the reinstatement of Stalybridge bus station as a stopping point.

S.V., 10 July 2011.

34 thoughts on “Tameside Service Changes, 24 July 2011

  1. with all these changes happening I think the 183 service which Dukinfield are running when they get to Oldham on the 350 should be moved to Oldham depot and there for would need 1 less bus on the 350 and hopefully newer buses talking of that has anyone seen 53147 lately seems to have gone missing from Tameside

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    1. Hi Michael,

      There could be another way around this: a 353/354 could run empty from Carrcote or Denshaw to Oldham alongside the A62 prior to starting its 183 journey from Oldham (Cheapside). This could allow scope for a change of starting point to Mumps Bridge (to allow for driver changeover). Or, they could extend all daytime 353s to Denshaw.

      Buses could run empty to Oldham thereafter. Better still, they could amalgamate the 183 with the 407, offering Denshaw residents a direct link to Limeside on Monday to Saturday. This would offer potential for increased integration with future Metrolink services. The 183 number could be retained with the number 407 discontinued (in line with other Saddleworth services 180 and 184) for ease of use. Sunday and Bank Holiday daytime services could be renumbered 183.

      Result: dead time reduced on the 353/354 and possible increases in reliability. With the latter point, the 350 (which the 183 currently co-works with) suffers from timekeeping issues due to narrow streets and its popularity, and may benefit from being a stand alone route instead of co-working with the 183.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

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  2. the services will be run from Tameside depot the drivers do not change over at Oldham

    the Dukifield depot has different legal lettering to Oldham and is run as an SOU to First Manchester

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    1. Further to your earlier point regarding 53147, it is still at Dukinfield. I have seen it on the 346 this week, so it seems that the 54 Reg Optare Solos are used on the said route from Ashton to Gee Cross.

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  3. thanks for relaey about the bus just had not seen it for a few weeks bet these will be used on the 353/54 till these new GMPTE buses come

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  4. I think the problem with passing the 353/4 onto Oldham depot would be the roadworks going on in the Oldham area, particularly at Mumps with the Metrolink work. There was a story in the MEN a couple of weeks ago where somebody was saying it took them an hour to get from the centre of Oldham to Lees Road, that was 1 mile per hour. So, it might be better to leave it with Dukinfield depot with driver changes at Ashton bus station or running dead to/from depot.

    http://menmedia.co.uk/oldhamadvertiser/news/s/1425261_video-drivers-hit-by-30-sets-of-roadworks-in-oldham

    I’ve never understood why First decided to interwork the 183 and 350 at Oldham and run as separate services. I think Oldham depot don’t run it because there’s no waiting time at Oldham, buses arrive and leave at the same time.

    You could send the 183 as a through journey and then you would the 183 back along the roads of Delph again and give Limeside a direct link to the Tesco Extra on Huddersfield Road, although there a direct link with Failsworth Tesco from the 76, which is the main problem for the 183. As there is no morning journeys between 8 and 9am or late afternoon journeys on weekdays, people of Limeside are going to pick the more frequent 76 to get into Oldham or walk upto Hollins Road and get the 180/184, which sees the 183 with small loadings at times. Another option is allocate the 183 to Oldham depot, allow some waiting time at Oldham to turn around, and then extend it to Hollinwood, make it into a feeder service onto the 83 or 180/184 at Hollinwood and allows a direct link for Limeside to the Netto-converted Asda, which opens later in the month. Or extend it to Failsworth Tesco.

    Oldham depot does contribute to the 350 service, as they run the 6.50am Oldham Mumps-Uppermill weekday journey, which continues as the 184 to Manchester.

    With the 324, Stagecoach already run the Sunday daytime service but they will run the 6.05pm, 7.05pm and 8.05pm Sunday journeys previously run by Travel Master. This means the last three journeys will be withdrawn.

    It’ll be interesting to see what they do with the 380/1/6; The three service do interwork with each other as 380->386->381->380. Could be possible that the last 380 weekday journey could carry on as the 328, which First are running Monday-Saturday evenings. I imagine that the 386 will run dead back to Dukinfield, although it may be possible that one 346 an hour does run on to Greave and vice versa, as there is 7-11 mins gap between 346 arriving at/departing from Gee Cross and 386 arriving at/departing from Greave.

    I also imagine that there may have been problems with the route to/from Old Glossop with the 236/7, as it was orginally planned for this month but delayed until September.

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    1. Hi Shaun,

      I forgot about the road works issue around Mumps Bridge. By the sound of it, anyone coming in Greenacres or Derker may be best walking to the town centre!

      Some good suggestions for the 183 there. I’ve just had a look at the timetable, the weekday service finishes very early (1503) and has woeful peak hour provision. Another idea: what about extending the service to Chadderton and turning it to a circular route? From Limeside it could approach Chadderton via Chapel Road and Block Lane (bridging a gap left by the loss of the 421 route), calling at the town’s shopping centre, then return to Oldham via Middleton Road. This could allow for potential interchange with the forthcoming Freehold Metrolink station.

      As for 386/346 interworking, I remember somewhere in the midst of time (well, 2001/2002 to be exact) some interworking with the said routes when Stagecoach operated both of them. At around that time it also interworked with one 238 journey; the 0714 Hyde – Ashton 346 was operated with a Mercedes Vario which had done the earlier route.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

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  5. See from VOSA that First have registered changes to the 343/344 from 4th September – does canybody know if this is just an alteration to their evening/Sunday services, or are they taking it over from Speedwell/JPT?

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    1. Hi Rob,

      The first thing I thought was ‘I wonder if they could be reviewing their two peak hour journeys to Mossley and Dukinfield?’ which is First’s only daytime contribution to the 343/344 to the standard service. Prior to today I have heard rumours about another change of operator for the 343/344, with some saying it could be Stotts of Oldham. Perhaps it could be some school journeys.

      I’ve just checked the latest Notices and Precedings on VOSA (08 July 2011); no mention of 343/344, but changes to the 353/354 and 408 are mentioned. What may have escaped some (me included) is First’s decision to take over the evening services on the 168 and the 205 route, starting from the 4 September 2011.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

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  6. All I know about the 343/344 is this post on VOSA yesterday:

    PC0004846/43 – FIRST PIONEER BUS LTD T/A FIRST ROCHDALE, WALLSHAW STREET, OLDHAM, OL1 3TR
    Variation Accepted: Operating between Hyde Bus Station and Oldham Bus Station given service number 343/344 effective from 04-Sep-2011. To amend Timetable.

    I too had heard to rumour about Stotts (I think it was rumoured on the old Speedwell Facebook site that they were taking over in June) but I’ve not seen anything further in this respect. The First variation is the only thing I’ve seen and it does tie in with operator changes for other services.

    It’s interesting that First are gaining more services in the South. Do you think the 205 is a commercial service, as Stagecoach seem to be running all their 205s commercially?

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    1. Hi Rob,

      Perhaps it could also be a): slight retiming to the Sunday and Bank Holiday journeys; that b) they could have taken over the Speedwell route and discontinued the Roaches and Hey Farm section of theirs; or c) the withdrawal of the part route journeys to Mossley (Brookbottom) and Dukinfield (Albion Hotel).

      First’s expansion in traditionally GMS Buses territory is of great interest to me. With the 205, could it co-worked with the 220? Or will it be co-worked with the 345 route (reduced dead time between Pendle Road and Dane Bank)?

      I wonder if tender prices has risen, thus pricing out some of the independent operators, also given the greater resources of FirstGroup compared with the likes of Travelmaster?

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

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  7. We live in interesting times Stuart. Hopefully somebody will know what the future holds for First on the 343/344. All could be right, and of course they could take over from Speedwell on exactly the same route/timetable – the extension to Roaches/Hey Farm is paid for by TfGM, along with the rest of the route.

    Ditto the First expansion into GMS ‘territory’. Looks like they’re going after tenders as a way of getting a foothold in new areas. Several small operators have gone under recently in the tough tendering environment, although other small operators like Goodwins seem to be expanding.

    I see from the Stagecoach summertime changes leaflet that the 217/218 are revised slightly due to the new entrance to Tameside General – any idea what the new configuration on the hospital site is like? Will Fountain St still be used?

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    1. Hi Rob,

      Thank you for filling me in on the 217/218. I’ve looked on the Stagecoach website and there was nothing mentioned, in spite of reference to the said routes on a poster (spotted on the 346), though no leaflets.

      As for changes to the hospital turnaround, I cannot see the 217/218 using the taxi/car pick up road (too narrow) at Hartshead Building South Entrance. Nor can I see them discontinuing the use of Fountain Street. I reckon it might use Fountain Street, then turn left by the White House and the mortuary. After turning left again, there is a road wide enough to accommodate two MANs or Enviro 400s. By the new children’s ward and the kitchen, there is a wide pavement leading to the Charlesworth Building, a steel bench and a bin.

      I wonder if that could accommodate a new bus stop (and Tameside’s first TfGM bus stop flag?) with the service turning left afterwards, at the Charlesworth Building before calling at the Hartshead Building North Entrance?

      Interesting times indeed, especially if you live in Mossley or Dukinfield.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

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      1. Hi James,

        I too haven’t seen any changes regarding Tameside Hospital bus routes in any form, print or online. However, I have spotted this afternoon a 231 bound for Ashton-under-Lyne along the road by the Charlesworth Building and the car park (on the site of the former Lakes Hospital). It was about to turn left towards the north entrance of the Hartshead Building.

        As far as I know, the 217/218 were slated for serving the southern entrance of the Hartshead Building, but the 231 was a new one on me. I’ve not seen any First services use the same route as this afternoon’s 231.

        Bye for now,

        Stuart.

        P.S.: Stagecoach Manchester’s 217, 218 and 231 will run via the new southern entrance of Tameside Hospital as of the 24 July 2011.

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  8. I have read that more solos are to move to Pioneer for the new services till the new buses come my guess is they will be Y901-5 KND 40318 to 22 as they are longer buses also pioneer bus 31927 has been reported at Bolton

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    1. Yes, I too have found out about that too. It was on the GM Buses Yahoo! Group. I suppose the addition of more Solos will make for easier maintenance as well as extra capacity.

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    1. If you have a Yahoo! account (i.e: email, Flickr), there’s a selection of discussion groups you can join using the same login details. All you have to do is find the relevant discussion group (i.e GM Buses) and state why you would like to join. The moderator will decide whether or not you’ll be accepted. If you remember Usenet or familiar with Google Groups, it is pretty similar.

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  9. Hello all,
    Certainly some interesting changes to be had and not the harsh cuts we were promised, although im told September changes could be more interesting!

    Hardly surprising regarding the evening 346, and i do wonder whether The Coachmasters were even interested in operating it for another 12 months given the amount of fuel needed to get the bus to and from Ashton, plus they seem to be devoloping there commercial activities around Heywood and Rochdale of late, so not really surprised its gone to First.

    As for Speedwell, as far as im aware they have won the weekday tender for another 12 months on the condition that its operated with low floor vehicles all of the time, hence why the Enviro’s and Nimbus Dart have re-appeared. Im also told there could be some kind of commercial service later in the year from Speedwell along the lines of the 397 linking Glossop and Hyde.

    As for Stagecoach, there was an article in the Glossop Cronicle this week confirming the 236/7 will continue to serve Royal Oak, but from September buses will go a slightly different way, up Shirebrook to make turning easier. As for them using Stalybridge Bus Station again, this is simply to give the buses somewhere to wait again when early, recently buses have used the second bus station and even the stops outside the Train station and Tesco which has caused traffic problems.

    As for Stott’s, again im very surprised the 353/4 tender has been lost after just one year, sadly they have also lost there 364 tender to Stagecoach in Stockport, however im slightly confused as ive reently been told Stott’s have just acquired the ex Bul Val Solo MX07NTF so with 3 Solo’s free’d up with the loss of tenders and another Solo just acquired could have have some tender gains in September?
    Also unless im mistaken, since de-reg isn’t the 324 the very first evening service Stott’s will be operating?

    Felix

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    1. Hi FelixFind, long time no see on these parts!

      I wonder if the 397 replacement would be known as S97, or a rehash of North Western Road Car Company/SELNEC/GMT’s 392/393 service (which was a circular route from Glossop serving Charlesworth, Mottram and Hadfield)?

      I too wondered if the amount of dead time from Heywood to Ashton-under-Lyne put The Coachmasters off running the evening service for another year. In the space of just 12 months, fuel prices have risen dramatically; hence the decision to consolidate in Rochdale, and compensate for Bu-Val’s demise.

      Some interesting news regarding Speedwell, so I wonder if First’s changes to the 343 could be that of getting their Sunday and Bank Holiday service to call at Hey Farm and Roaches a la Speedwell.

      Thanks for filling me in on the 236/237. I too thought traffic problems led to Stagecoach shunning Stalybridge bus station in favour of Armentieres Square. As for Stalybridge traffic, weekday peak hour congestion has made the M25 seem like a country road. This has been the case for a good decade, since Armentieres Square was closed to traffic apart from taxis and buses.

      A real shame about Stotts losing the daytime 353/354 but congratulations are in order for gaining the 324 route. You are right in saying that the 324 would be their first evening route. Unless you count the last two journeys of the 364 as evening journeys.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

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  10. I have still seen step entrance minibuses on the 343 still also they have got R505 YWC from ceased Yorkshire line

    also reported in buses speed well have sold MX06 BOV/BPU and one of the envrios has gone back to dawsons rental

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  11. The two Solos have been working up in the north east with veolia in full speedwell livery. Quite surprised R505 is back, but even with one Enviro they should have ample low floor buses to run on the 343 and the 394 and still have spares, but we all know Speedwell.

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  12. the 2 solos where in all-white livery we do all know speedwell

    as for firstbus would like to see south Yorkshire volvo double decks at Dukinfield they are T reged there is rumor that 31943 is withdrawn as not seen it for a few weeks

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  13. Interesting observations and movements on the Speedwell fleet there. Shame about the Enviro 300 moving back to Dawson’s Rentals, I never got chance to board one of these vehicles.

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    1. Not surprised one of the Enviros has gone back, Speedwell were always having problems with it. I wonder whether they have taken all 3 of the Varios back from Yorkshire Line. Another bus that seems to have vanished is the N reg Excel.

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      1. I wonder if the interim return of the three Varios, at the expense of the Excel and the Enviro 300, is so they can simplify maintenance? Perhaps it might be cheaper for them to have a larger stock of Vario parts than order the odd Enviro 300 and Excel part here and there. On a much grander scale it explains why municipal and PTE operations went for a ‘standard’ bus (obviously as you know round here, this meant Northern Counties/Park Royal bodied Atlanteans and Fleetlines).

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  14. Another twist in the 324 service, as Bluebird have now registered the service running Monday-Saturdays. Will this mean that they’ll be running the service instead of Stotts, which I think would deny them their first evening service. The evening service on the 407 was scrapped two years before Stotts took over it, so that’s probably the closest they’ll get. But it does look like Bluebird will be running the 324 come Monday evening (unless they’re expanding in Stockport to add to the X5)

    PC1059619/62 – MICHAEL THOMAS GREGORY DUNSTAN T/A Bluebird, ALEXANDER HOUSE, GREENGATE, MIDDLETON, MANCHESTER, M24 1RU
    Registration Accepted by SN
    Starting Point: Stockport Bus Station
    Finish Point: Stockport Bus Station
    Via:
    Service Number: 324
    Service Type: Normal Stopping
    Effective Date: 25-JUL-2011
    Other Details: Mondays to Saturdays except bank holidays.

    There were quite a few rumours that Stotts would take over the 343 from Speedwellbus, which would re-establish themselves back in Stalybridge and Mossley from the soon-to-be lost 353/354 tender and in Grotton and Lees from the 427 service (and going further back, 398), although chances are, it will go to First.

    The ‘winning tenders in areas outside the main operating area’ may be more than just a Manchester thing, as First WY recently took over some of the journeys of the 231/232 services between Huddersfield and Wakefield, which is unfamilar terrority for First, as Wakefield is mainly served by Arriva services. So, maybe, we’ll see more First services in South Manchester, Stockport and maybe even Trafford in the future.

    There is a warning for Speedwellbus though, as TfGM are introducing a rating system for operators, which measures “the quality of an operator’s service against priorities that are important to passengers before awarding a contract to run a subsidised service.”

    Operators running subsidised service will be rated on 15 areas “including punctuality, reliability and service performance, as well as vehicle quality, driver conduct and the use of CCTV on buses to help passengers feel safer….also being scored against the timeliness and accuracy of the contractual data they provide TfGM, including revenue declarations and ticketing data, which is used to monitor their performance”

    From next February, any operator who scores below the minimum level will be unable to tender for TfGM contracts.

    http://www.tfgm.com/2009_news.cfm?news_id=9007187?submenuheader=3

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    1. Interesting developments on the 324 service. I can see the logic with Bluebird taking over the Stockport – Haughton Green service given their operation of the X5 service. It would make sense given the reduced dead time and potential for co-operation with the last X5 later becoming the first evening journey of the 324.

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    2. From 4th September, the 290/291 in Trafford Park will be run by Bluebird and First rather than Arriva. First are starting their move south…

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      1. Thanks for tidbit, Rob. I wonder if that’ll be ran by Queens Road garage? Arriva seem to be reducing their profile around South Manchester. If I remember rightly, Arriva inherited their 290/291 journeys from the takeover of Blue Bus in Horwich.

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  15. the fleet at First Pioneer is in the change at the moment 40339/43/44/47 have moved from Bolton to here I would guess with 40340/1/2/ to come these are replacing the 40360-40406 batch 40369 is all ready at Chester

    also I guess the double decks will be delisenced for school holidays also heard a rumor that Wigan is getting more school buses (yellow) from september

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  16. Hi, not been round for a while, sorry. Been busy, and for part of the time have had no internet connection. The N-reg Speedwell Excel went some time ago I think. I forget where to. Thanks Felixfind for the info on whe MX06 BOV/BPU are. I’ve been wondering where they’d gone with not seeing them around. Very interesting times indeed. Though I am glad the swatheing cuts have not materialised, there is the fear circulating that they are yet to. If this comment seems a little behind, it’s because I started writing it about an hour or 2 ago, then my attention was diverted lol!

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