Trams and traffic trigger changes
In a earlier East of the M60 ‘…Service Changes’ post, we mentioned in great detail welcome improvements to the 180 and 184 services. In case you missed that post, the 180 service will operate every half hour on Monday to Saturday daytimes. The 184 service will be boosted by extra Sunday daytimes journeys and an improved peak hour service. In this case, vox populi was the victor thanks to consultation events in the Saddleworth area.
The 26 January onwards is going to result in some changes for public transport users in Oldham and Tameside. Most notably Oldham’s Union Street section of the Metrolink opening. As a consequence, some bus services will be retimed. In Oldham, the 83, 402, 408 and X84 will see slight changes to their timetables. Affected by the Metrolink, though not so in terms of running times are First Greater Manchester’s 410 and 411 Oldham – Waterhead Circular services. Their routes will be modified to run via the Derker Metrolink stop.
As detailed in the previous ‘…Service Changes’ article, the 425 service from Holts Estate to Fitton Hill will see some retiming. Just to recap, its 12 minute daytime frequency will be increased to every 10 minutes. A move which could handy for potential students at the Phoenix Free School this September. As a consequence of the Metrolink’s arrival on Union Street, the 400 Metroshuttle service will be withdrawn.
Meanwhile in Tameside, minor changes due to retiming are the order of the day on First Greater Manchester and Stagecoach Manchester. The Pioneer Depot Team’s 38 and 39 services from Ashton to Hazelhurst is among three of them. Also seeing minor timing changes will be the popular 216 service.
The third Oldham bound service (and one Hyde bound one) to see rerouting by the end of this month will be the 343 and 344. Though remaining on its route via Roaches Lock, its Monday to Saturday daytime journeys will also serve Hey Farm Estate along with the 350 service. If sympathetically timed with an Oldham bound 350, this offers scope to transfer to Greenfield, Uppermill, Dobcross and Delph without changing in Top or Bottom Mossley.
Furthermore, it offers Hey Farm Estate residents a direct route to Stalybridge, breaking a 10 year hiatus. Before October 2004, evening journeys of the 350 used to co-work with the 348 with the indicator blinds changed to ‘348’ and ‘Ashton’ at its terminus. First Greater Manchester’s evening, Sunday and Bank Holiday journeys are unaffected, continuing to observe the 20 July 1980 version of the 343 route avoiding Staley Road.
There’s your lot for this Winter’s set of changes. By Spring and Summer, we should have some idea on how the Union Street section’s affected Oldham’s bus routes. Will they warm to the trams even more, or will there still be a few loyal to the 83? All could well be revealed…
S.V., 13 January 2014.