The Third of East of the M60’s Seven Bus Route Wonders of the Greater Manchester area
Whereas the 53 is iconic owing to its pioneering nature under Manchester Corporation, we focus on a modern day iconic bus route. One which according to some Manchester United fans is seen as the average Manchester City fans’ bus of choice. For years, it has been the most frequent bus route in Europe.
The 192 was originally Manchester Corporation tram route 35, before becoming the 92 on conversion to motor bus route in 1949. Prior to SELNEC’s formation, it was jointly operated by Stockport and Manchester Corporations. Under SELNEC and Greater Manchester Transport, it was renumbered 192. Serving the densely populated working class areas of Ardwick and Longsight, it has remained a popular route. Its forerunners, Stagecoach Manchester, see the 192 as its flagship route with electric hybrid double deckers and free WiFi.
Since bus deregulation, its core route has had competition from Walls Coaches and Finglands Coaches, who have competed with GM Buses, GMS Buses and today’s operator. Salfordian company Midwest even introduced a short lived 192 service from Lever Street Bus Station to Poynton. Competing with Stagecoach Manchester, their Leyland Nationals would grace Stockport Road. Its last serious attempt at competition came from UK North. As well as operating red and blue secondhand vehicles, it revived the GM Buses name with a red version of the GM Buses livery.
Since January 2007, Stagecoach Manchester have been the sole operator of the route. From the start of this year, they have introduced electric hybrid Enviro400H double deckers, with free WiFi. Handy for checking the football results with or the times of other connecting buses, trains or trams.
Besides being the most frequent single bus route in Greater Manchester, it also has a night service on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Between Thursday night and Sunday morning, it is almost a 24 hour bus route.
Stagecoach Manchester, since January 2007, is the sole operator of the 192.
Basic Frequency: every 10 minutes or better; can be every two minutes during morning and evening peak hours.
- Local History: Stockport’s Hatworks museum is a short walk from the 192’s bus stops on Wellington Road North and Wellington Road South. A short walk away is Staircase House, a restored house facing its indoor market with a local history museum and reconstruction of part of its dwelling.
- Real Ale: You cannot fault the amount of real ale on the Stockport section of the 192 route. Along its route alone is the Magnet and Railway pubs – with sixteen real ales between the two! A short walk down Heaton Lane, after alighting at Wellington Road North (or South), takes you to The Crown – twelve real ales!!! In the centre of Stockport, the Robinson’s Brewery has started doing tours around its Unicorn Brewery.
- Shopping: As well as the centre of Manchester, Longsight and Stockport markets are a 192 away. There’s also the Merseyway centre in Stockport and supermarkets along the full route. Stockport Market also has occasional Vintage and Teenage Markets which are worth considering. Levenshulme also has a good range of local shops and an antique shop (occupying its former town hall).
- Parks and Fine Art: Stockport Art Gallery is worth a visit, whereas persons wishing to take in the fresh air could visit Torkington Park at the southern end of the 192 route. Cringle Fields and Cringle Park is a short walk away down Crossley Road from the Stockport Road/Lloyd Road stop in Heaton Chapel (if you like the smell of biscuits in the background).
- Live Performance: Stockport’s Garrick and Plaza theatres are a must. Lovers of 1930s architecture and Compton Organs, miss the latter at your peril! Also, the 192 stops by the Ardwick Apollo.
Best Value Fares: Stagecoach Manchester’s £4.00 DayRider ticket is a good purchase, if you wish to make the most of the 192, and their other routes. If you wish to venture further, or use other operators’ buses, try System One’s Any Bus DaySaver at £5.00 (or £5.60 before 0930 on weekdays). Or, you could change from a 192 onto a 199 between Stockport and Hazel Grove, and go to Buxton, then go further afield in the Peak District. (TfGM’s Wayfarer ticket is recommended, or you could get High Peak’s Peak Plus ticket at £6.00 for their routes).
Travel Tips: use the free WiFi to plan bus, train or tram connections for the next part of your trip if you’re on a complex journey. You could also save a packet on out-of-bundle data charges with your mobile phone provider. Furthermore, use it to find suitable eateries or pubs en route, or slightly off route.
S.V., 01 May 2013 (Labour Day)