My Life in the Company of Buses: Dukinfield and Bus Deregulation: Part 5, 1990

An eventful year on both counts as competition hots up in Dukinfield

September of 1990 saw me transfer from the bus friendly Ewing School to the slightly less bus friendly yet walkable All Saints R.C. High School. The 1989 – 90 academic year saw me bid a fond farewell to The Piccadilly Line’s AEC Routemasters and being in full view of the Palatine Road/Wilmslow Road corridors.

At Chez Vallantine, we continued to support GM Buses’ routes, though on odd occasions we would plump for the P1.

*                    *                    *

Almost a year on from GM Buses’ recent investment, GMPTE were fighting tooth and nail to keep GM Buses in the public sector as a PTE-owned arms-length company. The deregulated environment saw patronage fall from 350 million in 1986 to 224 million by the following year. As ever, the fluid service patterns, multifarious fare revisions and unreliability of some operators caused grief to its passengers.

Dukinfield, up until 1989 had an uneasy peace. This was disturbed by the end of 1990 when independent company Pennine Blue began operations. Their first service in April 1990 was the 348 from Hey Farm to Haughton Green. By September, they competed with GM Buses along the 346 route. In some cases, the Busabout ticket was poor value for money to some Dukinfield bus users, especially to regular users of the 343 route.

On the 343, GM Buses ceased operating Sunday services. Citibus Tours were the recipients of the GMPTE tender. Therefore on odd occasions, Dukinfield would play host to their lone GMT standard double decker, a Park Royal bodied vehicle purchased by the Chadderton company via Isle of Man Transport.

Stuart’s Bus and Coach also competed with GM Buses on the 330 route, Bee Line also shared the 339 and 340 routes. New to bus operations in Dukinfield was Dennis’s Coaches, who competed with the 330 route by means of their D32 circular from Ashton to Hyde.

The network map had already changed beyond recognition in Dukinfield. More sweeping changes were around the corner.

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Dukinfield Bus Services (May 1990):

  • 220: Manchester – Stalybridge (GM Buses);
  • 221: Manchester – Tennyson Avenue (GM Buses);
  • 330: Ashton – Hyde – Stockport (GM Buses/Stuarts Bus and Coach);
  • 333: Hattersley – Ashton (Stuarts Bus and Coach);
  • 335: Ashton – Denton [Town Lane]  (Vale of Manchester);
  • 339: Ashton – Dukinfield Circular (via Boyd’s Walk) (GM Buses/Bee Line);
  • 340: Ashton – Dukinfield Circular (via Dewsnap Lane) (GM Buses/Bee Line);
  • 343: Oldham – Gee Cross, The Grapes Hotel (GM Buses/JP Executive Travel);
  • 344: Mossley [Brookbottom] – Hyde (GM Buses/Tandy);
  • 345: Ashton – Denton [Pendle Road] (GM Buses/Tandy);
  • 346: Ashton – Hyde (via Newton) (GM Buses);
  • 388: Ashton – Gee Cross (via Yew Tree estate) (GM Buses);
  • 389: Ashton – Marple (via Cheetham Hill Road) (GM Buses);
  • D32: Ashton – Hyde Circular (via King Street) (Dennis’s Coaches);
  • P1: Ashton – Dukinfield (Pine Coaches).

Part Six follows tomorrow.

S.V., 05 October 2011.

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