A Tameside Bus Service Changes Special Edition

JPT Travel 217 service to Tameside Hospital
From the 28 April 2014, the 217 service will revert to its pre-2004 route between Ashton-under-Lyne and Manchester via Clayton, albeit with a new operator.

Could this be the tip of the iceberg? We hope not, though this prophecy could well be true given Gideon’s penchant for shrinking the public sector to the size of a walnut. Therefore, from the 28 April 2014, the most tangible signs of George Osborne’s £1billion departmental savings, from the Autumn Statement will be seen in Dukinfield.

Big style.

As detailed on East of the M60 earlier, Transport for Greater Manchester has been affected by this. Thus meaning cuts to existing service frequencies, or the non-renewal of expiring tenders. Even the withdrawal of some Local Link services. As the briefing for Friday’s meeting with the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee states, a great number of revisions will be taking place after the 27 April 2014.

The most perverse changes are set to happen in Dukinfield. From the 28 April 2014, it will become the second biggest urban centre in Greater Manchester without a full time, regular, direct service to Manchester city centre (the largest is Golborne with 23,119 people according to the 2001 Census). No buses from 0800 to 1910, to Manchester; only the peak hour 221s to Manchester in the morning and the return journeys in the evening. The only 220s left, at least for now, will be First Greater Manchester’s evening journeys from the top of Boyd’s Walk.

And no Sunday and Bank Holiday buses to Manchester city centre, either. For a town with 18,885 people, this is despicable. Dukinfield’s last trains left in 1959, and no-one – as yet – has suggested extending the Metrolink to Stalybridge via Boyd’s Walk and the Albion Hotel.

Instead of doing something I may regret outside Piccadilly Gardens for years to come, I shall save my anger for the dishonourable member for Tatton (and I will probably be more annoyed after Wednesday).

Service Changes

The 217/218 service is at present TfGM’s third most expensive tender. On Mondays to Saturdays, the full route east of Tameside Hospital and Stalybridge forms part of a loop via Mossley and Micklehurst. Whilst the tendering process was under way, the figures quoted by potential operators were double present rates. Notwithstanding the fact the full route required five vehicles.

In the end, it was cheaper to scrap the 217/218 route in its present form. Instead, the 217 would be retained, this time via its pre-2004 route between Ashton and Manchester, via Clayton, with an hourly frequency.

The daytime 217 service will be operated by S&S Travel Services, a newcomer to the Greater Manchester bus scene. In the last year, they have operated school services in Oldham using Blue Bird single decker buses, and bus replacement services.

Though First Greater Manchester’s evening 220s wont be affected, Checkmate Coaches’ two journeys on the 220 will be withdrawn. The 0753 journey from Manchester, Piccadilly Gardens to Tameside Hospital and its southbound 1455 counterpart will disappear after 26 April 2014. Also facing withdrawal will be the C20 service from Mossley to Manchester, which co-worked with the 220s to eliminate dead time.

What would have been more perverse than severed Mancunian links would be severed links between Droylsden and Stalybridge with Dukinfield. In place of the 217/218 will be an extended 408 service. At present, the 408 service operates between Stalybridge and Shaw (Buckstones) via Oldham, and is operated by Oldham and Dukinfield garages. From the 28 April, its new terminus will be Droylsden, by the Metrolink stop, where it will follow part of the present 217/218 service up to Stalybridge.

After Stalybridge, there will be no changes to the 408 service apart from its route around Tameside Hospital. From Montague Road, it will turn right onto Darnton Road then left onto Mellor Road, calling outside the South and North entrances of the Hartshead Building. Therefore, in spite of lost off-peak Mancunian connections, Dukinfield also regains a direct link to Tameside Hospital.

Not only Tameside Hospital, but also The Royal Oldham Hospital too; also a second bus per hour to Oldham town centre. For the first time in Dukinfield’s history, direct links with Royton and Shaw. Most importantly, transfer from bus to rail will be more seamless at Stalybridge (and given the changes, it needs to be, so long as the connections work out).

Dukinfield’s longest established link with Oldham, the 343, will see a route change on its Monday and Saturday daytime journeys. Brushes Estate, presently on the 217/218 services, will be part of the 343 route from the 29 April 2014.

It is anticipated, and has been recommended by TfGMC, that the Sunday and Bank Holiday services of the 408 would have a similar timetable to its Monday to Saturday equivalent. As soon as the timetables have been finalised, East of the M60 will state this in a future Tameside Bus Service Changes bulletin.

Summary (from 28 April 2014):

  • 217: daytime journeys operated by S&S Travel Services, between Ashton-under-Lyne and Manchester [Shudehill Interchange]: no change to existing evening service;
  • 218: withdrawn: Droylsden – Stalybridge section replaced by extended First Greater Manchester 408 service;
  • 220: Checkmate Coaches journeys withdrawn;
  • 343: Monday to Saturday daytime journeys revised to operate via Brushes Estate, section hitherto part of 217/218 services;
  • 408: terminus extended from Stalybridge bus station to Droylsden [Metrolink stop] via Audenshaw and Dukinfield. Route via Tameside Hospital revised;
  • C20: withdrawal of commercial service necessitated by cessation of 220 journeys.

S.V., 17 March 2014.

3 thoughts on “Dukinfield Service Changes: Off-Peak Manchester Link Scrapped

  1. Terrible news Stuart. How can a town like Dukinfield not have a daytime public transport connection with the City Centre?

    Saying that, the daytime buses were usually very lightly loaded through Mossley, Stalybridge and Dukinfield (probably partly because of the meandering route and the fact it goes to Shudehill not Piccadilly – even though Shudehill proved very useful at times).

    I was very fearful that something like this would happen. The morning and evening peaks usually have a healthier load and so I thought they could have worked out something better.

    And where a few years back you had the choice of a 217 or a 220 for the morning run to Manchester from the section of route between Dukinfield and Stalybridge, when these forthcoming changes people will now have to change buses, or start with a long walk.

    And what for the people of Mossley and Carrbrook? The section of route between near Mossley Hollins and where the 348 joins the road at Carrbrook, will now require TWO changes of bus to get to, say, the Etihad Stadium – or again a long walk!

    I dread to think of what might happen if there’s worse to come.


    1. Hi Mark,

      As soon as the daytime 220 was altered in 2004, I knew back then that would have had a negative impact on patronage. Then, when the 217/218 became a circular route in 2008, I too thought the same and predicted its demise in that form in 2009-10, so I am a tad surprised as to how long the 217/218 lasted in this guise. My reason being the longer route and football traffic.

      The peak hour 221s are still well used and are, for the time being, wholly commercial services. The Manchester circular routes via Mossley were quite a recent innovation; they were launched in the early 1990s by Mayne of Manchester as the 232 – 235 services via Arndale Bus Station. Before deregulation, a bus journey from Micklehurst to Manchester entailed a change at Stalybridge for the 220 (or the Buckton Castle for a peak hour 153 express bus). Likewise Brushes Estate which had a more limited service than at present in the 1970s, and certainly no direct buses to Manchester.

      Dukinfield [Albion Hotel] to Stalybridge services have been bad since the loss of the 349 service in October 2007. On the 218, there is at present a 90 minute gap between the 220 to Tameside Hospital and the 1008 (from the Albion Hotel) 218 to Mossley. Whether the new 408 timetable addresses this remains to be seen.

      Regarding Carrbrook and Mossley based Manchester City fans, a 348 or 350 to Ashton then a tram to Etihad Campus. Between Carrbrook and Micklehurst, 343 to Raja Brothers, 350 to Ashton then a tram or the 216/217/231 services. Therefore, the changes put Mossley and Stalybridge residents back to a pre-deregulation situation with the buses, though with more frequent trains than in 1986.

      As for Dukinfield, we shall see as soon as the timetables are released. Even now, and after April 27, Dukinfield’s bus links with Stalybridge (from the Albion Hotel stop) will remain at the thinnest level since 1904. After April 27, the town will be without a full time link on any mode of transport to Manchester for the first time since 1864 (the opening of Dukinfield railway station).

      The case for a Metrolink extension to Stalybridge via Dukinfield, or a new railway station on White Bridge (with revised 41s diverted to stop outside the station) has never been stronger.

      Bye for now,



      1. If Dukinfield can’t sustain a direct daytime bus service to Manchester for the sake of a few tens of thousands of pounds, how on earth can it sustain a tram extension for tens of millions?


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