Tameside gets off lightly in City Region’s most comprehensive set of service changes to date
- 202 service from Hyde to Glossop withdrawn;
- 348 and 350 daytime journeys cut from every 10 to every 12 minutes;
- Evening, Sunday and Bank Holiday 343 journeys rerouted and renumbered 340.
True to form (and inferred in our previous set of changes), the Eastertide service changes are the leftover nutty chocolates in our bus based tin of Quality Street. The close of Easter will see the most comprehensive set of service changes in Greater Manchester since the split of GM Buses in December 1993.
Fortunately, Tameside came off lightly for the spring set of changes (though some service cuts are on the agenda). Moreover, the borough was plopped on from a great distance last spring, which saw the end of First Greater Manchester’s journeys on the 220 service to Dukinfield from Piccadilly Gardens. What happened in Tameside last year is happening to the people of South Manchester and, to some extent, the people of Oldham this year.
Among the Spring changes include the arrival of an operator that is new to the Tameside area. Two services will see a change of evening operator, though a more familiar face.
High Peak practices
From the 04 April, the orange, white and blue of Centrebus will be making their Tameside debut. As High Peak, they will become the newest operator of the 341 service from Hyde to Hattersley and Glossop. The service, formerly operated by Stagecoach Manchester and Glossopdale Bus Company before then, will retain its Monday to Saturday daytime journeys. This will be the first Tameside route to be operated by an immediate successor company of the National Bus Company’s subsidiaries since Stagecoach East Midlands’ operation of the defunct 239 to Glossop.
On the downside, we shall be saying goodbye to the 202 service, the 341’s evenings and Sundays stablemate operated by Stagecoach Manchester and Stotts. Therefore, passengers from Godley, Hattersley and Broadbottom need to get the Hadfield train for Glossop (which is only once hourly by night). For the people of Gamesley, Padtax is one option – unless Uber launches in Glossop and New Mills. On the other hand, the Tame Valley Local Link demand responsive travel service could be extended to cover Charlesworth and Gamesley in their entireties. An additional stop could be added to Glossop town centre.
Also being severely cut back is the scenic 394 service from Stepping Hill to Glossop via Marple and Charlesworth. At this time of writing, High Peak’s route may become a Saturdays only service. Detailed in TfGMC’s Bus Networks subcommittee, there is a possibility that the weekday service could be tendered and reinstated with the Saturday journeys being ran commercially. At worst, the people of Chisworth could be living in a bus-free zone.
Most of Tameside’s service changes affect the Mossley and Saddleworth routes. Firstly, the 343‘s evening, Sunday and Bank Holiday journeys will be rerouted via Waterhead and Springhead a la First Manchester late-1990s early-2000s style. Initially pencilled in for renumbering as the 344 (in line with the single southbound journey on weekdays), these will be renumbered as the 340. Though renumbered to avoid confusion with Hyde’s 344 [Backbower Estate], this has narked yours truly off a little (the previous 340 was a sister route to the 339 on the Dukinfield Circulars). The AM weekday peak journey will also be renumbered 340.
What prompted the rerouting and renumbering was changes to First Greater Manchester’s 81A service. Other changes to the forthcoming 340 service will see the severance of the Brushes Estate and Carrbrook Village sections, which will be served by the 348 service. The Gee Cross to Hyde section will be covered by the 389 service. Some of the 348‘s evening journeys, after being operated by Stagecoach Manchester, will return to First Greater Manchester. Its daytime service will be cut from six per hour to five per hour.
That is also true of the 350 service from Oldham to Ashton-under-Lyne via Saddleworth and Hey Farm. First Greater Manchester will revert to being the sole operator, though with cuts to its daytime journeys. From the 04 April, fewer buses will call at Hey Farm Estate. Those calling at Hey Farm will be the twice hourly journeys to all parts Saddleworthian. The rest shall terminate at Micklehurst, like the pre-July 1980 217 service. The daytime frequency will be cut from every 10 minutes to every 12 minutes.
Besides the changes to the 389‘s tendered journeys, the service from Ashton to Hyde via Ridge Hill and Yew Tree will revert to its 2014 frequency of two buses per hour in the daytime. The part route journeys from Ashton-under-Lyne to Stalybridge will be discontinued, possibly improving the viability of the tendered 387 service via Hattersley.
There will also be more First Greater Manchester activity on the Ashton circular routes, with the 232 and 332 on Sunday and Bank Holiday daytimes being ran from Broadway. The 338 service’s Sunday and Bank Holiday journeys to Crowhill will transfer from MCT Travel to First. A minor tweak to the 393 [Smallshaw Circular] sees our fellows from Broadway taking on the Saturday 1803 journey. Stagecoach Manchester’s 1833 journey will be withdrawn. There will also be a change in direction on the Circular Road section of the 345 service, to that of clockwise instead of anticlockwise.
Owing to the chimera of Mancunian traffic conditions, Stagecoach Manchester’s 7, 168, 169, 219, 221, 330 and 347 services will see light tweaks to their timetables. Extra time will be added to peak hour journeys to ensure reliability. For example, the 221’s eastbound evening journeys will depart from Piccadilly Gardens the present times, though arrive at Tennyson Avenue about five minutes later than present.
Though there’s been a fair number of changes diagrammed for spring, the biggest impact was felt on the Pennine foothills. In Mossley with Saddleworth bound buses; in Glossop with two of its cross-boundary services. Changes to the 343 service have been facilitated by changes in Oldham, which seemed to have taken a greater hit than Tameside has this spring.
The next set of changes will arise in July, where we’ll see the usual summer timetable changes to our trunk routes. Could there be a resolution for the 394’s weekday journeys? Find out more this coming summertime.
S.V., 17 March 2016.