Replacement operators for former SpeedwellBus services

Dennis Dart SLF, SpeedwellBus, VU02 TTZ, Ashton-under-Lyne Bus Station
In happier times: SpeedwellBus Dennis Dart SLF VU02 TTZ laying over at Ashton-under-Lyne bus station.

Regrettably, East of the M60 announced the demise of SpeedwellBus over the last two days. The last week has been populated with rumours as to whom their routes would be taken over by, with reports of Stott’s taking on the 343 or Stagecoach Manchester running the 202.

Over the last 2 days, the new arrangements have been confirmed and are as follows:

  • 202  (Hyde – Hattersley – Glossop): all journeys operated by Stagecoach Manchester;
  • 341 (Hyde – Backbower – Hattersley – Charlesworth – Glossop): all journeys operated by Stott’s of Oldham;
  • 343 (Hyde – Mossley – Oldham): weekday daytime journeys operated by Stagecoach Manchester with slight retimings to SpeedwellBus’ timetable: JPT Travel and First Pioneer journeys remain unaffected;
  • 394 (Stepping Hill – Charlesworth – Glossop): all journeys operated by Centrebus;
  • 395 (Ashton-under-Lyne – Limehurst Farm): all journeys operated by Bluebird Bus and Coach;
  • 396 (Ashton-under-Lyne – Newton Heath): all journeys operated by Bluebird Bus and Coach.

All details may be subject to change with most services operating to the timetable inherited from SpeedwellBus. If anyone can fill me in on the 188, 342 and 344 routes, please comment in the usual fashion. Feel free to discuss vehicle allocations and changes to the timetable.

Postscript: 1. Service Updates, weekdays and Saturdays from 23 January 2012:

This supersedes all previous information:

  • 188 (Manchester [Piccadilly Gardens] – Ryder Brow): Friday and Saturday journeys are operated by Bluebird Bus and Coach. This does not affect the separate Manchester [Shudehill Interchange] – Chadderton route (confusingly also operated by Bluebird Bus and Coach and sharing the same number);
  • 202  (Hyde – Hattersley – Glossop): full service operated by Stagecoach Manchester apart from three journeys during peak hours;
  • 341 (Hyde – Backbower – Hattersley – Charlesworth – Glossop): all journeys operated by Stott’s of Oldham;
  • 342/344 (Hyde – Backbower Circular): all journeys operated by Stott’s of Oldham;
  • 343 (Hyde – Mossley – Oldham): weekday journeys operated by Stagecoach Manchester: JPT Travel [Saturday] and First Pioneer [evenings and all day Sunday] journeys remain unaffected. All timetables and routes remain unchanged;
  • 394 (Stepping Hill – Charlesworth – Glossop): all journeys operated by Centrebus;
  • 395 (Ashton-under-Lyne – Limehurst Farm): all journeys operated by Bluebird Bus and Coach;
  • 396 (Ashton-under-Lyne – Newton Heath): all journeys operated by Bluebird Bus and Coach.

Please note that the 341, 342, 344, and 394 – 396 route have no Sunday service and evening journeys. (Updated from 20 January 2012)

Postscript: 2. Update on StuartVallantine.co.uk (or shameless plug):

The History of the 343‘ article has since been updated to reflect latest developments affecting the route.

Postscript 3: Manchester Evening News article:

Transport bosses promise bus services will continue as Hyde-based Speedwell folds‘: M.E.N., 24 January 2012.

S.V., 19 January 2011.

68 thoughts on “Operator Revisions on Former SpeedwellBus Services

  1. Did see Bluebird on the 396, as it’s one of my local routes. Stagecoach were on the 343 with a Alexander ALX300 on the route. TfGM said on Twitter that the 188 wasn’t running today. The 394 is Bowers not Bakers. Registration for that service is already on VOSA.

    Timetable for the 202/341 are on Derbyshire CC’s website. There is a slight change to morning journeys on the 341 too.

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    1. Hi Gerald,

      Thanks for the update. I may consider using your picture for a future post, possibly one entailing the more permanent operator revisions as opposed to this week’s state of flux.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

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  2. A shame to see Speedwell no longer trading, however it is positive to see just how quickly TfGM have organsied replacements.

    What Tameside and Glossop need are some stability in their networks and operators. I hope this will now be forthcoming.

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    1. Hi Rob,

      Without question, Transport for Greater Manchester should be applauded with finding replacement operators at such short notice. Given this week’s problems with the Metrolink as well as Speedwell’s demise, they ought to be commended with the amount of stuff they had on their plate. The only criticism I have though was the lack of information on Speedwell service changes on their website, but other than that, well done to all concerned at 2 Piccadilly Place.

      As for stability in Tameside and Glossop’s bus networks, I would like to see the return of a publicly funded and regulated network back for its 250,000 or so inhabitants. More realistically, has anyone considered a borough-wide Quality Bus Partnership for Tameside or Glossop – or a joint bid with Tameside and High Peak Borough Council – with TfGM concessions extended to Glossop?

      I wonder if Centrebus and Wellglade are watching this week’s events with great interest? The Tameside, Saddleworth and High Peak areas offer great potential for its future High Peak operations.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

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    1. Yes, that’s definite. I suppose their knowledge of the Dukinfield – Mossley section of the 217/218 route worked in their favour. Not the first time they ran the 343; they had the evening service from January 1999 to February 2001, following their takeover of Glossopdale Bus Company.

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  3. I’m not too well up on the 341/2/4 but will Stotts interwork the 342/4 with the 341 using the same two Solos or will additional Solos be needed?

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    1. I’m no wiser too, as the 342 often worked in tandem with sister route 344. I could imagine the 341 being a two bus route owing to its length, enabling it to adhere to a once hourly frequency.

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  4. Had another look out for the 396 today and it was still being run by Bluebird with two Optare Solo SRs being used. So, I don’t know if Stotts will be taking over next week or if Bluebird are the one who will be running it until a permanent operator is chosen later in the year.

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    1. Interesting developments there, Shaun. The only problem is I’m going to have to try and fit in a free day where I can board one of these beauties, or at least take pictures. You seldom see Bluebird vehicles in Tameside most days! (a new Solo SR has got to be worth 2000 in I-Spy at Ashton bus station)

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  5. looks like stagecoach have some more buses moved to Ashton been 16771/73/22100/33/46 the 2 magic buses for school services the other 3 for 343

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    1. More MAN power for the 343! One thing the MANs have going for it on the 343 are its high windows (though they’ll never replace an orange and white Atlantean or Fleetline in my book along this route). There’s someone I know who was disenfranchised from the 343 route because of the amount of Dart haulage it had on. He’ll be a happier bunny now. 🙂

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  6. One small correction, the Ryder Brow and Chadderton 188s are separate services, not variations of each other! The only connection between the two (apart from operator) is the Piccadilly Gardens terminus.

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    1. Can see that causing a few confusing moments in Manchester for some people – not only having two services in different directions with the same number but both being operated by the same operator

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    2. Hi Nicholas,

      I thought they were two separate services (though with the same operators as of now)! On doing a search for the 188 timetable [Manchester – Ryder Brow], the only result it returned on TfGM’s timetable library was Bluebird’s Manchester – Chadderton service instead of both. It would have been much easier if the Chadderton – Manchester 188 was renumbered.

      On a similar note, the 217/218 Sunday and Bank Holiday services are run as separate services. The timetable displays, for example with the 217, the Stalybridge – Manchester and Manchester – Tameside Hospital journeys as separate sections. Wouldn’t it be easier if the timetable displayed the Sunday 217 timetable as Stalybridge – Manchester – Tameside Hospital with the opposite applying to the 218?

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

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  7. Dear Mancunian1001

    Thanks for all of your information about just what is happening to Speedwellbus services. As a Marple resident the 394 service is important for me travelling to visit Glossop Road (Five Lane Ends) and also in the other direction to High Lane. I heard a rumour Tuesday before last from a person who spoke to a local Councillor that the 394 was in danger. I asked the regular driver on the Weds morning before last what was happening and he genuinely didn’t seem to know that the company was about to collapse during the next few days .

    The Mancunian1001 name made me chuckle as I well remember the introduction of the Leyland Mancunians 1001+ and Daimler Mancunians 2001+ onto the 53s in 1967 (I think). The two things I remember are the first Mancunian to be given a public airing was 1006 in Piccadilly Gardens in an exhibition with other OMOs from Sheffield and a few other cities a few weeks before introduction into service in Manchester and a statement at the time that if the 53 could be operated with one-manners, any route could be driver only. How true this proved to be (unfortunately).

    Regards, Steve Slater

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    1. Hi Steve,

      Many thanks for your comment; I am glad to see you found the information on SpeedwellBus’ routes most useful. I am a fan of the 394 route and would be most unhappy to that service go. The fact there is no other service between Charlesworth and Marple Bridge alone warrants retention in my book. Even so I fear that Matlock may continue to scupper cross-boundary links with Greater Manchester and Derbyshire (see also the 239 and 397 last year).

      I remember seeing the statement about the 53 in my copy of ‘Glory Days: Manchester and Salford’. The same was true on withdrawal of its tram routes as well as one man operation.

      The Mancunian style bodied Leyland Atlantean 1001 has been a favourite bus of mine for years. I prefer it to the AEC Routemaster which is hyped to high heaven in my view (my favourite front engine vehicle is SHMD’s Atkinson double decker with centre loading doors). Hence the username on this blog.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

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    2. From what I’ve been told today by a former Speedwell driver, the owners made the decision about 10 days ago to wind the company up as of Monday 23rd Jan, with the Sunday 202 the last ever service, however due to severe vehicle shortages and a lack of fuel drivers were then told it would close as of Wednesday evening, although most services finished earlier as the buses ran out of juice.
      5 buses were even left in Glossop over night as they didn’t think the vehicles would make it back to the depot.
      Apparently the 2 V reg Varios went back to there owner the week before hence why the 395/6 was given too Stotts a week early.

      There has been a cloud over all DCC services for a while with more harsh cuts promised later this year.

      All services will remain with there current operators until April now, so if nothing else Speedwells former passengers have somewhat of a more stable service!

      (both messages combined into one by SV)

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  8. Interesting, though sad to see how things ended up for SpeedwellBus and their employees. Worse is the fact that DCC are threatening to impose further cuts to their bus network, so I fear their vendetta on Derbyshire/Greater Manchester cross-boundary routes may continue.

    It would make life easier for us all if buses in the High Peak Borough Council area came under TfGM’s boundaries, so Buxton and Glossop could come under TfGM’s concessionary fares scheme. Given the amount of journeys made between Tameside or Stockport to Glossop or Buxton, it could save a lot of hassle, particularly in the reduction of fare tables (236/237 use TfGM and DCC concessionary fare tables).

    If the Hadfield rail service is fully subsidised by TfGM, what about parity for its buses?

    Like

    1. Totally agree, I assumed that High Peak (Glossop and Buxton mainly) did come under the remit of GMPTE, latterly TfGM as when I have been on the train there is a big GMPTE with M-blem at the stations. I find it bizarre that the rail routes are TfGM yet the buses aren’t.

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  9. Interesting point about Glossop and Buxton. Does have stronger links to Greater Manchester than to Derbyshire. Could be the reason why Trent Barton are looking to merge with Centrebus/Bowers to form High Peak. Certainly could see the argument for Glossop as it’s only a few miles away from the Tameside border and is included in TfGM’s Tameside network map.

    I think with the temporary contracts being in place to April, then inevitably the talk will turn to who will gain the permanent contracts to the ex-Speedwellbus services. Would it be too soon for High Peak or will the merger go through just at the right time?

    It still is possible that they’ll change operators again in April, as a similar thing happened in the second half last year with former Bu-Val services in Rochdale being passed onto Rossendalebus at first then onto Tyrer Bus, while the 403/404 in Shaw went from Bu-Val to Bluebird to First and The Coachmasters’s 125 service in Manchester going to Stagecoach then to First.

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    1. Hi Shaun,

      I’ve always maintained for several years that Glossop had stronger links with Greater Manchester, particularly with the Tameside and Stockport areas. Much of this, in my opinion, is down to these areas being linked with the former North Western Road Car Company routes. Historically, Tameside and Glossop has also been part of the [NHS] West Pennine and North West Regional Health Authorities.

      Buxton, besides having links with the rest of the Peak District, has established itself as part of Manchester’s travel to work area (mostly due to the railway service). Further confirming the NWRCC link, some of Buxton’s services have roots with the former British Electric Traction company. For example, the 199 and TransPeak were originally NWRCC services in their entirety (albeit differently numbered).

      Inevitably, there may be some changes in the next six months. Most of which, of course, will be covered within this hallowed soupçon of server space.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

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  10. The railway stations at Glossop, Dinting & Hadfield have GMPTE on the nameboard, although the bus stop are DCC ones. It would certainly make sense, from a geographical point of view, for both bus and rail services to come under TfGM.

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    1. Most definitely Rob.

      Powers already exist through the 1968 Transport Act where Passenger Transport Executives and their successors [Integrated Transport Authorities and TfGM] can subsidise services from there respective area, 30 miles beyond the boundary. For example, TfGM could subsidise the 199 route to its entirety; the High Peak district area could be covered by TfGM.

      Metro West Yorkshire also offers a MetroCard for use beyond the West Yorkshire boundary for passengers travelling from Skipton and Harrogate. In TfGM land, we use the said powers for our Wayfarer ticket, taking in Chorley, Warrington and Macclesfield as well as the Peak District.

      Parity with TfGM (or absorption into its boundaries) for bus boarding Glossopians would bring improved results by means of a standard half fare rate on cross-boundary journeys. As a consequence, it could improve loadings on the 236, 237 and 341 – particularly with holders of concessionary passes. However, there would need to be some overlap with DCC’s BLine passes, particularly in Buxton and Disley. To get the full value, the chunk of Cheshire East on the 199 and 358 routes would need to be absorbed.

      Had Glossop’s buses been part of or subsidised by SELNEC/GMPTE/TfGM since 1 November 1969, the 239 and 397 may still be running today, possibly as Bowers/Centrebus routes in the light of recent events.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

      P.S.: Derbyshire County Council have already confirmed the recent changes to SpeedwellBus’ routes. There is no reference whatsoever on the TfGM website though. (County Hall 1, Piccadilly Place 0)

      Like

  11. Maybe the citizens in Glossop and Buxton should start a campaign to move from Derbyshire to Greater Manchester… to be honest I thought Glossop was a part of Greater Manhester until I was corrected about 5 years ago. My thoughts were of that mainly being NHS Tameside and Glossop, Tameside and Glossop Acute Services NHS Trust and the old Tameside and Glossop Health Authority which my mum used to work in community services trundling around in all weathers around Glossop and Tintwistle etc.

    It would make sense for TfGM to cover the High Peak Borough and also Rossendale Borough. As someone who commutes to East Lancs I find it interesting seeing how many people travel from Rossendale down the M66. It is chokka block on a morning. I beleive that RBC is very eager for a heavy rail route to reconnect the borough along the old ELR. What I also find a shame is the fact that the original ELR was closed down. Rossendale might have had an amazing light rail metro network linking Bury, Bacup round to Rochdale had the line not been built over in some sections. Had SELNEC come about sooner they may have been able to step in? Also it is a prime shame that the Accy to Bury link was built over as, again, it would have proved to be a useful commuter route today. How short sighted Mssr Beeching, and his BTC underlings were.

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    1. Hi Trystan,

      From my point of view a great idea in terms of transport undertakings. However, some may misinterpret this notion as Manchester gaining further influence, upsetting a few traditionalists who insist Buxton, New Mills or Glossop remain part of Derbyshire. Just to confuse things further, Buxton and Glossop may be part of the East Midlands European Parliamentary constituency, yet travel is skewed towards the North West (or to some extent, Sheffield). Regional news in the High Peak also comes under BBC North West from Salford and Granada Reports instead of Midlands Today or Central Tonight from Birmingham.

      I knew somebody who caught the X43 [Witch Way] bus and it wasn’t unknown for him to be stuck in Heap Bridge on the M66. Though outside the TfGM boundary, Bacup is the most northern extremity of System One’s adult passes, taking in Whitworth along the 464 route. It would also make life easier if Rawtenstall and Bacup became part of the TfGM boundary (again, Rossendale/Lancashire County Council concessionary fares – or lack of them – north of Edenfield).

      Buxton, along with Macclesfield, was slated for Phase Two of the doomed Picc-Vic Project, but the 25kV wires only went as far as Hazel Grove on the Buxton route. Reopening the ELR line to link with Manchester Victoria would be made most effective with a chord between Bolton Street and Bury South, but, there is a problem with the signalling. In this case, from the heavy rail absolute block system to Metrolink’s system. This leaves us with the present Network Rail connection from Heywood to Rochdale or Manchester via Castleton.

      Between Rawtenstall and Heywood, approval would be needed for increased line speeds. The East Lancashire Railway comes under the jurisdiction of what used to be the Light Railway Orders, restricting line speeds to 25 mph. Track would also need to be doubled throughout and upgraded for faster running. Though the cost may be a fair sum, it probably has greater cost to benefit ratios, even if it involves the use of cascaded DMUs displaced by the Manchester – Leeds electrification scheme. Perhaps there could be a way where Northern Rail pays access charges to the ELR, ensuring a frequent daytime service and interoperation with ELR’s heritage services.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

      Like

  12. Thanks Stuart.
    Was in Glossop over the weekend. This is a huge worry for the residents of Gamesley – as you can imagine!
    Wait to hear more on this and shall tell Glossop contacts about this blog. THanks again.
    Funnylass

    Like

    1. Hello Tina,

      As my blog also covers the High Peak as well as Tameside (again due to Glossop being part of our work or leisure based travel psychogeography), I have of late gained greater interest in the High Peak’s public transport network. I was somewhat worried when I found about Speedwell’s demise as it would have affected The Mighty 343 Route. Once more, thanks to all those concerned regarding the arrangement of alternative operators.

      I wonder if you’ve come across Anthony McKeown [Labour councillor for Gamesley]?. He’s also been filling residents in on the latest bus developments affecting his ward (link: http://www.anthonymckeown.info/blog).

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

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  13. Hey thanks for that Stuart. Will let friends in the area know.

    Let’s hope no-one tries to meddle with that Mighty 343. A bus that raised one’s spirits – if ever there was one.

    Btw – I was asking my dad yesterday why boats are always ‘she’. He said he didn’t know but was aware that the buses he always worked on were referrered to as ‘she’ too!

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    1. The 343 can never fail to raise anyone’s spirits, especially between Stalybridge and Grotton which is the most scenic section. For similar reasons, the 217, 218, 350, 353 and 354 are equally good, whether enjoyed alone or in combination with the 343. 🙂

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  14. 188 to/from Ryder Brow confirmed running by Bluebird on TfGM’s website in the Bus Times Leaflet Library section (although no mention on any of the other services yet), while Stagecoach have the TfGM timetables of the services they’ve taken over listed on their website with a note saying that Stagecoach are running the Speedwell journeys.

    Like

    1. Well spotted Shaun. 🙂

      For anyone who hasn’t been on the Stagecoach Manchester website, please select ‘Manchester’ on the ‘Select Your Location’ section of the website. Then click on the timetables page. On loading the Timetables page, click on the ‘Select Location’ box, again choosing ‘Manchester’. The page should update and refresh enabling you to choose the route. Click on the ‘Route Number’ box and select ‘343’. By then, you should see Stagecoach Manchester’s timetable.

      Please note that only Stagecoach Manchester journeys are displayed on their timetable. For details on the evening, Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday journeys, you can download the full timetable on the Transport for Greater Manchester website. Or you could call in a TfGM Travelshop in Oldham, Hyde or Ashton-under-Lyne bus stations, your local library, or Stalybridge railway stations.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

      Like

  15. Hi

    The new operators will be settling into their routes by now (but possibly not for long pending the longer term tenders coming into effect in April). I didn’t know some of their buses finished early due to running out of fuel! Now I know why they decided to leave some buses in Glossop that night.

    Speedwell were not perfect, and by their own admission they made mistakes. But I don’t think they ever intended to do anything other than provide good, friendly, safe, reliable, accessible and value for money bus services to the people of Tameside and Glossop. Unfortunately, it’s a fact of life that things don’t always turn out as one had hoped.

    I have a picture on my photostream (see my commenter name link) of a Stotts bus in service in Glossop on the 341 on Saturday. They seem to have been well received by the many aged passengers of this service who must appreciate the return of 100% low floor operation.

    Like

    1. Hi Mark,

      That amazed me as well as I expected them to finish in time for the Winter 2012 raft of service changes.

      I would say your assessment of Speedwell Bus is a fair minded one. Even the likes of SHMD and Greater Manchester Transport goofed up now and then and tried their best to offer value for money services. Alas it was a shame to see how things ended up for SpeedwellBus.

      Some of us hardier souls or bus enthusiasts may think nothing of the issues regarding step entrance buses. If we live on a popular route, we take for granted the fact that less glamorous routes may still have step entrance vehicles. The return of low floor buses to the 341 is a welcome development, not least for elderly passengers and buggies. I remember the bad old days when buses would be held up by passengers folding buggies prior to boarding.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

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  16. looks like Stagecoach Ashton have got a 3rd magic bus for former speedwell school services this been 16781 saw it yestaday

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    1. Mic, stagecoach have had all 3 magic bus Olympians at AZ since speedwell went bump, I’m told these vehicles should be here until mid April at least!

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      1. No Mic,
        40660 is still in daily use at AZ, last I heard 41166 was either at Hyde Road or Sharston but has been on the fleetcards for AZ for some time, I’ve never seen it though !

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  17. Looks like another change for the 394 later in the year:

    PC1063546/8 – FREEDOM TRAVEL NORTH LTD T/A SMITHS OF MARPLE, 2 BLACKBROOK GLADE, BUXTON ROAD, CHAPEL-EN-LE-FRITH, HIGH PEAK, SK23 0PJ
    Registration Accepted
    Starting Point: Marple
    Finish Point: Marple
    Via: Glossop
    Service Number: 394
    Service Type: Normal Stopping
    Effective Date: 26-MAR-2012
    Other Details: Mon – Sat Hourly

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    1. Interesting move, Shaun. It must have been quite a while since Smiths of Marple ever did stage carriage operations. Another thing I noticed is the omission of the Marple to Stepping Hill section. I take it that section’s being withdrawn our covered by another service after March.

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      1. From Derbyshire County Council:

        From Sunday 25 March 2012
        Service 394 (Bowers): This service will be taken over by Smiths of Marple, with some minor changes to the timetable.

        Does sound like the route stays intact with some re-timings for positioning journeys.

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      2. Reading between the lines, it sounds like a straightforward operator revision with minimal re-timings. I hope so, as sometimes, changes may be made prior to operation and after notification on the Notices and Proceedings page.

        Recent update: revised timetable for use from March 2012 now available via the Derbyshire County Council website. Reassuringly, the Marple to Stepping Hill section is retained. Click here to download timetable (Adobe PDF format).

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  18. Noticed on the TfGM website that Stagecoach are retiming the early morning journeys on the 343 as of next week (4 March), while the plan for Smiths of Marple to take over the 394 at the end of month doesn’t seem to be happening now and will continue as Bowers (and from next month as High Peak).

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    1. Hi Shaun,

      Yes, I have read many murmurs about Bowers/Centrebus taking on the 394 route. They’ve also attracted some flak over the [non-]issuing of System One day tickets, though I should imagine that such problems may be ironed out once Bowers/Centrebus operations become High Peak in April.

      The proposed retiming of the 343’s early morning journeys has come as no surprise to me. They have experienced – along with SpeedwellBus before then – similar issues adhering to the timetable owing to the traffic on Huddersfield Road. Then again, road works in Stalybridge and Mossley haven’t helped either. On the debit side, I seem to have noticed increased loadings on Stagecoach’s journeys, with a near capacity load in the morning peaks.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

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      1. Bad news, Stuart.

        Stagecoach have lost the 343 with effect from 15 April. Stotts have been awarded the new contract for the weekday service. On the flip side, Stagecoach have won the 342/344 from Stotts!

        Like

      2. stotts is a good firm with their solos shame they lost 353/54 services

        read in the Oldham advertister today a letter from a firstbus traveller that the firm had upped the bus fares again without telling anyone this was just weeks after they went up

        Like

  19. Hellos in order to Nicholas and Michael,

    Stott’s of Oldham have worked wonders on the 41 [Crowhill – Ashton – Dukinfield, Tennyson Avenue] route with their buses always being clean and reliable. Though the 346 is more frequent during daytimes, the timekeeping of the 41 is more superior.

    During the worst of the winter weather, they’ve managed to keep their services running beyond their bigger rivals 5 minutes away. When they had the 353/354 routes, passengers were unhappy to see First Manchester taking over their services. Therefore I think Stott’s of Oldham would be a good custodian for the weekday 343 service.

    With Stagecoach Manchester taking on the 342/344, could some of their Solos be moving to Ashton from Daw Bank? I cannot imagine seeing the MANs negotiating Backbower estate. I have also heard some news about a number of Solos moving to Stockport from Stagecoach South Yorkshire.

    Regarding the Oldham Advertiser letter, could the passenger have boarded a West Yorkshire 184 where they may have set their fare rises on a different date to Manchester? Or could he or she had been overcharged? (There is no news on the First Manchester website over further increases additional to the 02 January one)

    Bye for now,

    Stuart.

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    1. not sure on the letter but my guess could be yes they are changing over their ticket manchines from next weekend

      think 47751/52 have moved from Yorkshire

      a decent bus on the 350 yestaday T894 KLF 34094 these have some speed in them do not think the whole batch will come 34101/7 are with west yorkshire on loan

      i though the first group 2012 livery was have local area fleetnames like Oldham etc not keen on the slogan

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  20. I’ve no doubt that Stotts will do a good job on the 343, my concern is the capacity. As you’ve said previously, Stuart, Stagecoach have seen very healthy loadings on the service. If this was to continue, Stotts would most certainly need to draft in bigger buses as the Solos would just not be suitable for the route.

    Two Solos have indeed come from Sheffield to Stockport (via Hyde Road for repainting as they were previously in SupertramLink livery).

    As for the 394, the reasoning behind Smiths no longer running it is because Bowers have allegedly decided to run it commercially.

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    1. when do the 353 /54 come up for bidding to run it will first keep or lose it

      I remember when the GMPTE leyland nationals where used on it out of the short ones 132 JNA 588 N out lived the others by a long time

      also read that 202 ABA 27T had a DAF engine and was so powerful it could set of car alarms

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    2. Hello again Nicholas,

      My thoughts exactly, given that low floor operation is a caveat of the 343’s tender. Besides the Solos, Stott’s also have a few double deckers, but these are step entrance ones used on some schools journeys.

      It would be interesting to see some longer vehicles heading towards Lees Road. For now, I eagerly await the sight of their smart cream, red and black buses on Huddersfield Road.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

      Like

  21. The contract for the 353/354 will be up in July 2014. It was a three year tender when it was let last July.

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    1. right shame they can not have new TFGM buses on them due to the narrow streets round the houses in saddleworth and cars parked in way i got 353 once and the driver had a lot of trouble getting round

      Like

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