My Life in the Company of Buses: Dukinfield and Bus Deregulation: Part 4, 1989

Lie Dream of the Bee Line Buzz Company Scene

Dusting off the cobwebs of a largely competition free Inverness Road and Thorncliffe Avenue, GM Buses’ 339 and 340 routes experienced competition in the mould of a local company.

Private hire company Pine Coaches launched the P1 service in the spring of 1989. It became the first bus service to serve the Morrisons store in Dukinfield. Whereas the 220 and 346 buses stopped a few yards before the supermarket, this service actually stopped at the forecourt. It was a straightforward local service linking Yew Tree estate with Ashton-under-Lyne, taking in Thorncliffe Avenue and the whole length of Armadale Road. Their journeys were operated with silver Talbot minibuses with a green band below the window.

With spring and Easter celebrations symbolised by new life, GM Buses were no exception to that rule. New F-reg Leyland Olympians reached Tameside with the 346 being no exception to the rule. The summer of this year saw new Wayfarer II ticket machines replacing their ever-dependable Almex ones. Another more noticeable change affecting GM Buses was their livery. The regional identifiers above the entrance were ditched, as was the brown skirt. The orange part of the livery ran to the bottom of each bus with the top deck window area remaining white.

Whereas things were on the up for GM Buses, the same couldn’t have been said of The Bee Line Buzz Company. The company was taken over by Ribble, which in turn was sold to Stagecoach in March 1989. Like a hot potato, Stagecoach dropped Bee Line and sold it to Drawlane. With indecent ease, the revolutionary bread vans were eschewed in favour of NBC cast-offs. Even so, operations were maintained, but the unique selling point had gone.

The start of a new decade would see further changes affect Dukinfield’s bus network, this time with independent companies making inroads.

*                    *                    *

Independent companies and increased independence started to play a more dominant role as a left-leaning autie bus user. Firstly, I hit a milestone where I was trusted enough to catch the bus on my own, with my sister, en route to seeing my Auntie. Instead of the 424, we opted for the 400/409/410 routes owing its superior frequency.

To Grandma’s house, we still boarded the 419 up to Chadderton. This time, the big buses had disappeared. GM Buses took over the service from Citibus with Little Gem minibuses the norm. Though able to go to my auntie’s house on my own (well, with my sister as well, of course), it was some time before I was able to hop on and off buses of my own volition.

Most memorable journeys of 1989:

  • A Ewing School trip to the Fairfield Moravian Settlement aboard a 169 from Lapwing Lane on a GMT Standard;
  • A bog standard journey on Pine Coaches’ then new P1 service;
  • A sweaty Little Gem July journey on the 419.

Part Five follows tomorrow.

S.V., 04 October 2011.

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4 thoughts on “My Life in the Company of Buses: Dukinfield and Bus Deregulation: Part 4, 1989

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  1. With the demise of The Bee Line Buzz Company being mentioned here, I have vague memories of a short lived Wilmslow to Oldham service with which they were connected. The number 149 springs to mind. Can anyone help with news of this service and the route that it would have taken.

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    1. Hi Paul,

      Well remembered on the 149. Quoting from an earlier article I wrote on The Bee Line Buzz Company (08 May 2009), a comment by Nicholas Lawley on the 149 service stated its extension to Wilmslow. Some journeys originated at Rochdale to minimise dead time.

      According to GMPTE’s September 1992 Network Map, the service reached Manchester via Parrs Wood Road and Wilmslow Road, then, via Northern and North Manchester General hospitals, Victoria Avenue and Hollins Road en route to Oldham.

      I would say that the route was split around 1996; by then, Manchester City Council put a block on through traffic entering the city centre proper. This put paid to Manchester’s cross-city routes like the 82. Since then, the 149 has operated between Manchester and Oldham with a modified route via Chamber Road, compensating for the withdrawal of the 422 service (Oldham – South Chadderton).

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

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  2. Great write ups Stuart i really enjoy your Bus articles,although i live in Halifax West Yorks i worked regularly in to Oldham on the 562 service for Yorkshire Rider, i clearly remember the ex London Country Atlanteans working for Bee Line on the M82 from Rushcroft to Chorlton.
    (which i am led to believe was a former PTE route before Deregulation) Keep it up.
    Andy.

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    1. Hi Andy,

      The M82 was based on the former PTE route [82] from Oldham to Chorlton-cum-Hardy via Manchester city centre. What differentiated the two services were their northern terminal points: the M82’s was Rushcroft, the ‘real 82′ was Waterhead.

      In competition with GM Buses, Ribble ran their version as the M82. Following the takeover of Bee Line and Manchester’s Ribble services by Drawlane, the M prefix was dropped. This annoyed GM Buses and its passengers, as Bee Line’s 82 went to Shaw, with the same number allocated to GM Buses’ Manchester – Waterhead service. On GMPTE’s database, Bee Line’s service was denoted as 82B. Yet their indicators denoted the service as ’82’ instead of ’82B’.

      At the height of Greater Manchester Transport’s powers, Mancunian style Leyland Atlanteans and Daimler Fleetlines featured on the cross-city route.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

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