Odd tweaks though operator changes

  • First Greater Manchester’s Dukinfield garage loses evening journeys;
  • Usual Summer running times on trunk routes.
Enviro200 MCT Travel MX62 AVV, Ashton-under-Lyne bus station
All White on the Denton Front: white seems to be the dominant colour on the 345 service, as depicted by MCT Travel’s Enviro200 seen in Ashton bus station. Checkmate Coaches will return to the fold at the end of this month taking over First Greater Manchester’s morning journeys.

The biggest story behind this summer’s service changes is the retreat of First Greater Manchester’s evening journeys from their Dukinfield garage. Shortly after April’s service changes there was rumours that the Pioneer Depot Team were pulling out of post-7pm journeys.

Today, our suspicions were more or less confirmed. Following their loss of evening journeys on the 220 and 350 routes, their retreat has continued. From the 26 July, this will see the 205‘s and 346‘s evening journeys transfer to Stagecoach Manchester.

Prior to 2011, the 205 was a full time Stagecoach Manchester route. Of recent times, electric hybrid vehicles had been seen of FirstGroup’s journeys from Piccadilly Gardens to Dane Bank.

For the 346, this will be the first time its evening journeys will operated by a forerunner of GM Buses since 1994. From then on, they had been operated by Pennine in both its Badgerline and FirstBus years, then Checkmate Coaches from 2001 to 2010, The Coachmasters from 2010 to 2011, and First Greater Manchester’s Pioneer Depot Team since ’11. Chances are the extra Monday to Saturday journey (used as a positioning journey for the 1900 run from Hyde) may be replaced by FirstGroup’s 1830 journey from Ashton.

Therefore from the 26 July, First Greater Manchester will continue to run the Sunday and Bank Holiday daytime journeys along with their usual Monday to Saturday daytime service.

There will also be minor retiming on Stagecoach’s 348 journeys. Could the 346 co-work with their 348s, almost like the 11/11A did? On the 350 service, some retiming of First Greater Manchester’s journeys. Could this be to allow for traffic following future roadworks on Mossley Road, or could the link to Uppermill revert to being once hourly on Sundays and Bank Holidays? We suspect the former.

Another tender win from FirstGroup sees Stagecoach Manchester taking over all journeys of the 168 service to Chorlton-cum-Hardy from Ashton-under-Lyne. This also affects MCT Travel’s journeys on the same route.

The end of this month sees Checkmate Coaches’ Saturday journeys on the 304 from Hyde to Marple withdrawn. On the other hand – at the expense of First Greater Manchester’s Dukinfield garage – they picked up their early morning weekday journeys of the 345 service to Denton [Pendle Road].

Following the withdrawal of the 23 service from Shaw to Manchester via Royton, the already bricked 408 service sees changes to its route in Shaw. First Greater Manchester’s part route journeys from Shaw to Oldham will see a circular route between Buckstones and Shaw. There is no changes to MCT Travel’s and Stagecoach Manchester’s journeys along the full route from Stalybridge.

Summer Timetables

As has been customary since 2007, Summer Timetables (taking advantage of the quicker running times during school holidays) will apply to the following Stagecoach Manchester routes in Tameside:

  • 7: Ashton-under-Lyne – Droylsden – Dane Bank – Stockport;
  • 168: Ashton-under-Lyne – Chorlton-cum-Hardy;
  • 169: Ashton-under-Lyne – Southern Cemetery;
  • 201: Piccadilly – Denton – Hyde – Hattersley;
  • 204: Hyde – Haughton Green – Denton – Piccadilly;
  • 205: Denton – Dane Bank – Gorton – Piccadilly;
  • 206: Gee Cross – Hyde – Denton – West Gorton – Piccadilly;
  • 207: Gee Cross – Hyde – Denton – Piccadilly;
  • 219: (Stalybridge) – Ashton-under-Lyne – Fairfield – Openshaw – Piccadilly;
  • 221: Dukinfield [Tennyson Avenue] – Audenshaw – Openshaw – Piccadilly;
  • 231: Ashton-under-Lyne – Littlemoss – Droylsden – Clayton – Piccadilly;
  • 327: Denton – Brinnington – Stockport.

Whatever next?

The next set of changes are likely to appear by the end of August. The bulk of which are services on summer holiday timetables reverting to schooldays timetables. It is also that time when we expect to see tender changes on school services. The next set – usually (and ironically the scariest set of changes) – are due at the end of October.

S.V., 07 July 2015.

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