Commercial services reviewed in Denton and Oldham areas
- Significant changes for Denton passengers;
- Slight improvements on 350 service;
- 415 service extended to Greenacres, though with frequency reductions.
This month’s set of changes are probably the most comprehensive we have seen since the demise of JPT Travel. Only this time, commercial services rather than tendered routes have been affected. Routes in the latter category are probably likely to change this April; not only in Greater Manchester but after the results of Derbyshire County Council’s consultation which expired on Christmas Eve.
In North Manchester, the bulk of this month’s changes are largely due to Stagecoach Manchester recasting its network, after its acquisition of JPT Travel. First Greater Manchester’s Oldham routes have probably been affected by the popularity of Metrolink services. On the other hand, some good news for Mossley and Saddleworth passengers.
Denton and Reddish takes a hit
At the sharpest end of this month’s changes is Andrew Gwynne’s Denton and Reddish constituency, with mixed results. The biggest change will be the withdrawal of the 317 service from Ashton-under-Lyne to Stockport (via Audenshaw and Denton). Originally part of Glossopdale Bus Company’s 375 service from Ashton-under-Lyne to Bosden Farm (just outside Hazel Grove), this severs a direct link from Audenshaw to Dane Bank, Reddish and Stockport.
After Burns’ Night, a journey from The Sun Inn to Houldsworth Square would require three buses (347 to Denton, Crown Point; 201 or 206 to Debdale Park; 203 to Reddish, Houldsworth Square).
To compensate, Stagecoach Manchester has made changes to the 7 and 205 services. From Debdale Park, the 7 will be rerouted via Hyde Road and Hulmes Road, prior to reaching Dane Bank and Reddish. It will also cover Portwood, served at present by the 317. Their daytime 205 service will be extended from Dane Bank to Denton [Crown Point]. On Sundays, evenings and Bank Holidays, the 317’s subsidised journeys from Dane Bank will be renumbered 7A.
Traffic between Crown Point North and Denton Island could well have prompted the 317’s withdrawal. Furthermore, the modest journey from Reddish to Audenshaw would be pretty herculean. A case for restoring the Stockport to Stalybridge rail service? Possibly.
Oldham, Mossley and Saddleworth changes
Whereas Denton and Reddish passengers may be none too pleased with the 317’s demise, the people of Chadderton, Sholver and Derker could be kindred spirits after January.
The 83 service, will see its daytime service reduced from every 7 minutes to every 10 minutes. This sees the service reverting to its pre-January 2013 timetable.
The 81 and 81A services will see another change in frequency. Each daytime service will operate every 30 minutes to Derker and Holts Estate respectively. In spite of this, part route workings from Manchester to Oldham will provide some compensation whilst maintaining its present 10 minute frequency.
Also seeing its daytime frequency slashed is the 415 from Middleton to Oldham. This time from every 20 minutes to every half hour in the daytimes. Another change is the restoration of its link with Greenacres with buses extended to Lees. Also seeing a 33.3% reduction in daytime frequency is the 58 service from Middleton to Rochdale. A win for the Metrolink?
No longer traversing the hideously bumpy Greenacres Road after Burns’ Night is the 350 service. All journeys will revert to its October 2004 route via Huddersfield Road and Waterhead. Passengers travelling to Saddleworth on Sundays and Bank Holidays will be given a boost. Part route journeys from Ashton-under-Lyne to Uppermill will be extended to Oldham thus making the service half hourly on its full route.
On a brighter note, it was stated in this week’s Tameside Advertiser that a further 16 low floor buses are set to reach Dukinfield garage. Again they will be the Wright StreetLite single deckers, likely to replace the former First South Yorkshire Marshall bodied Dennis Dart SLFs.
We shall be saying goodbye to the ML1 service as well. Launched in the early noughties with specially branded vehicles by Arriva North West, it has offered a link from Stretford Metrolink station to the intu Trafford Centre. From the same stop, the parallel 23/23A services offer a similar service.
Though we shall be saying farewell to the 528 from Rochdale to Halifax, it’s a ‘hello’ for its replacement the X58. Yorkshire Tiger’s service, a Metro West Yorkshire subsidised route, was originally going to be withdrawn completely. Instead, a compromise has been met with its hourly daytime frequency maintained. Major differences entail reductions to evening, Sunday and Bank Holiday journeys and the omission of Lydgate from its route.
Good Night, Night Buses?
Taxi companies rejoice! A Dry January, February, March, April and the other months in the Gregorian calendar awaits users of Oldham’s night bus network. Well, that of the 82 service to be precise, as the Friday night/Saturday morning journeys will be withdrawn. This month’s changes see sweeping cuts to Greater Manchester’s night buses with most of First Greater Manchester’s affected.
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Up to now, that’s your lot. We reconvene this eastertide with the spring service changes.
S.V., 09 January 2015.