From Orange to Olympia: First Greater Manchester’s Takeover of Finglands’ Bus Operations

Timetable set in motion for transition from Finglands to FirstGroup

First Greater Manchester's Rusholme depot sign.
The signs they are a changing: First Greater Manchester stamps its authority on the Finglands depot site. (Photograph © 2014 Tanvir Hamid)

From Sunday, First Greater Manchester will be the proud operator of two 41 services. Two entirely different 41 services with varying levels of traffic and clientele. Both of which daily, one of them operated with eco-friendly electric hybrid Solos.

As part of its transition, Finglands’ daily and weekly tickets are in this immediate future available for purchase. Not only that, they also be valid between Manchester Royal Infirmary and its Rusholme terminus on the 18 service.  There will be no changes made to the timetable.

Gradually, the former Finglands buses will be replaced by a fleet of new vehicles –  Wright Streetlite single decker buses. These will be fitted with new ticket machines, issuing First Greater Manchester’s FirstDay rover tickets and FirstWeek season tickets. In addition to this, will be a range of local season tickets and day rover tickets for use on the former Finglands services.

And of course, anybody with an existing FirstDay, FirstWeek, FirstMonth or FirstAnnual ticket from Sunday, will be able to travel on former Finglands services. If for example you purchased your FirstWeek on a 425 in Fitton Hill and fancied a trip to Altrincham, you could continue your journey via the 83 from Oldham and the 41 from Manchester to Altrincham.

Former Finglands services:

  • 16: Altrincham – Sale – Chorlton-cum-Hardy – Whalley Range – Manchester (weekday and Saturday evenings and all day Sundays, every 2 hours – all other journeys operated by Arriva North West);
  • 19: Manchester Airport – Wythenshawe – Sale – Altrincham (evenings only, four journeys along full route, one part route between Altrincham and Sale and one part route journey between Manchester Airport and Sale Moor – all other journeys operated by Arriva North West);
  • 41: Piccadilly – West Didsbury – Sale – Altrincham (once hourly to Altrincham on evening journeys, every 10 minutes to Sale during the day – further journeys also operated by Stagecoach Manchester);
  • 42: Piccadilly – Fallowfield – Withington – East Didsbury (every 20 minutes, Monday to Saturdays – further journeys, seven days a week operated by Stagecoach Manchester);
  • 99: Sale – Brooklands – Baguley – Southern Cemetery – Fallowfield – Piccadilly (hourly, eight journeys each way along full route, plus two from Baguley to Piccadilly and one from Brooklands to Sale – Sunday service operated by Stagecoach Manchester. No evening service);
  • 157: Woodford – Bramhall – Cheadle Hulme – East Didsbury – Rusholme – Piccadilly (three return journeys, weekday evenings; four return journeys, Saturday evenings – all other journeys operated by Stagecoach Manchester as limited stop service X57).

All school services hitherto operated by Finglands are unaffected.

S.V., 07 February 2014.

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7 thoughts on “From Orange to Olympia: First Greater Manchester’s Takeover of Finglands’ Bus Operations

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  1. Thanks again Stuart,
    Am I correct in thinking that the school runs will still be operated by Fingland’s? and if so will the buses used and the coach fleet still be based at the current depot?

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    1. Hi Mike,

      All school services will be under First Greater Manchester’s tutelage, albeit with ex-Finglands Coachways vehicles in the short term (as with non-school services). The coach fleet has been taken over by Bullocks’ Coaches, Cheadle, whereas the present stage carriage fleet – Finglands or First vehicles – will be based in Rusholme as at present.

      School services may be subject to change, depending on whether FGM wish to continue or relinquish contracts inherited from Finglands. How immediately this may be is unknown as yet.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

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  2. I wonder if First will extend the 42 from the city centre to MediaCity UK to compete with Stagecoach’s 50, and perhaps up the frequency/run evening services?

    The 50 provides links from First’s heartlands in Salford into MediaCityUK (which oddly enough no First services go near), – the 50 seems to pick up plenty of passengers from Salford to MediaCityUK, plenty of which I’d guess would use First tickets. I know the two take different routes from East Didsbury to the City Centre, but both run parallel to each other, the 42 serving the main Oxford Road too.

    [Going way-off subject, I’m amazed that Eccles (being so close to MediaCityUK) has no direct route there – I would like to see a Piccadilly to Eccles route via Chester Road, Trafford Road, The Quays, Broadway, Pacific Way/Coronet Way & Gilda Brook]

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    1. Hi Rob,

      That could be an interesting move, not only in the provision of a direct route to MediaCityUK from Wilmslow Road, but also on competitive grounds. In the latter field, obviously between Stagecoach Manchester north of All Saints and in order to protect FirstGroup’s market share in Salford (apart from the 50, Manchester to Pendleton is primarily FirstGroup territory where they enjoy a near monopoly).

      I would assume the lack of a direct bus route to Eccles from MediaCityUK could be down to the fact it might lose out to the tram. Now, if the 91 service from Bury to Ordsall was still with us, that could have been extended to MediaCityUK. However, there’s probably no chance of its revival owing to the fact today’s 50 traverses along part of it.

      On another note, a MediaCityUK – Eccles bus route via Pacific Way/Coronet Way has potential for an alternative service to Trafford Centre via Centenary Way.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

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  3. The evening 157 also sees First operating deep into ‘Cheshire’, the southernmost tip of Greater Manchester at Woodford, that’s quite a network, for an operator absent in South Manchester until recently, except for the 22.

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