Summertime timetables and subtle service reviews

Enviro400 MMC SN16 OUC, Stagecoach Manchester, Ashton-under-Lyne Bus Station
The New Order: one of Stagecoach Manchester’s latest additions to the fleet.

Unless you travel from anywhere in Tameside to Diggle, or use the 409 service after 6pm, this summer’s set of changes are fairly minimal. Most of them are the usual Summer Timetable changes, that take advantage of the lack of the schools traffic.

The biggest change entails Stagecoach Manchester’s changes to their 346 journeys. In the last year, their daytime journeys were cut from every 20 minutes to every half hour – with an extension to Tameside Hospital. Though Stagecoach’s decision seemed good on paper, it affected the reliability of their journeys thanks to the junction at Albion Way. Furthermore, this led to some journeys being too close to their FirstGroup equivalent, or leaving a sizeable gap at the other end.

Thankfully, Stagecoach Manchester have decided to revert to their previous timetable. Therefore, the 346’s daytime timetable will be back to being every 10 minutes (20 FirstGroup/20 Stagecoach).

On First Greater Manchester’s 409 service, Monday to Saturday evening journeys will be cut from every 20 minutes to every half hour. Journeys after 7.15pm will depart at twenty-five past and five to the hour from Rochdale Interchange, in line with Sunday departures. The last bus from Rochdale leaves at 2325. From Ashton, after 8pm, quarter-past and quarter-to the hour. Ashton’s last bus to Rochdale will depart at 2245 with part route workings to Oldham at 2315 and 2345. In comparison with Sunday journeys, five minutes later.

There will also be some cuts to Saturday journeys of Stagecoach’s 231 service. These entail the discontinuation of part-route journeys from Littlemoss to Piccadilly Gardens. The Saturday service will be marginally better than the Sunday and Bank Holiday timetable. Minor timing changes will be made to the 216 and 347 services.

Of the borough’s tendered services, changes will affect those operated by Checkmate Coaches, who are leaving the Greater Manchester bus scene. The Monday and Wednesday only 304 service from Hyde to Marple will be operated by High Peak. In the last set of service changes, the company took over the 341 service via Broadbottom.

For Glossop’s buses, there are no planned service changes this Summer. From September, there will be some minor timing changes to weekday journeys of the 236 and 237 routes.

Summer Timetables

The following services will be operating under their summer timetables from the 24 July 2016:

  • 7: Ashton-under-Lyne – Droylsden – Gorton – Reddish – Stockport (Stagecoach Manchester);
  • 168: Ashton-under-Lyne – Littlemoss – Droylsden – Gorton – Chorlton-cum-Hardy [Bus Station] (Stagecoach Manchester);
  • 169: Ashton-under-Lyne – Littlemoss – Droylsden – Didsbury – Southern Cemetery (Stagecoach Manchester);
  • 201: Hattersley – Hyde – Denton – Gorton – Manchester [Piccadilly Gardens] (Stagecoach Manchester);
  • 204: Hyde – Haughton Green – Denton – Gorton – Manchester [Piccadilly Gardens] (Stagecoach Manchester);
  • 205: Denton – Dane Bank – Debdale Park – Gorton – Manchester [Piccadilly Gardens] (Stagecoach Manchester);
  • 206: Gee Cross – Hyde – Denton – West Gorton – Manchester [Piccadilly Gardens] (Stagecoach Manchester);
  • 207: Gee Cross – Hyde – Denton – Gorton – Manchester [Piccadilly Gardens] (Stagecoach Manchester);
  • 216: Stalybridge – Ashton-under-Lyne – Droylsden – Clayton – Manchester [Piccadilly Gardens] (Stagecoach Manchester);
  • 219: Stalybridge – Ashton-under-Lyne – Audenshaw – Openshaw – Manchester [Piccadilly Gardens] (Stagecoach Manchester);
  • 221: Dukinfield [Tennyson Avenue] – Audenshaw – Fairfield – Openshaw – Manchester [Piccadilly Gardens] (Stagecoach Manchester);
  • 231: Tameside Hospital – Ashton-under-Lyne – Littlemoss – Droylsden – Manchester [Piccadilly Gardens] (Stagecoach Manchester);
  • 327: Denton – Bredbury – Brinnington – Portwood – Stockport (Stagecoach Manchester);
  • 330: Ashton-under-Lyne – Dukinfield – Hyde – Woodley – Stockport (Stagecoach Manchester);
  • 347: Ashton-under-Lyne – Guide Bridge – Hooley Hill – Denton – Haughton Green (Stagecoach Manchester);
  • 409: Ashton-under-Lyne – Hathershaw – Oldham – Royton – Rochdale (First Greater Manchester).

Whatever next?

The 30th anniversary of bus deregulation will look a bit empty with Checkmate Coaches’ presence in the Greater Manchester bus scene. Till this month, they had been the only Greater Manchester operator to have ran stage carriage services without a break since the 26 October 1986. They had outlived Pennine Blue, The Bee Line Buzz Company, and GM Buses.

There has been speculation over September’s set of changes being more comprehensive. All will be revealed nearer the time. Thanks to First Greater Manchester changes, Whittles could become a more convenient bus shelter for ‘the 9 bus’. If you like your music heavy and beers real, it is no bad thing.

S.V., 20 July 2016.

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