An uneasy peace
One of the fringe benefits of working in Oldham was getting in touch with the Rochdale and Oldham bus scene. Compared with the uneasy peace of the Dukinfield scene, 2013 was an interesting year. Professionally for me, it was a mixed year with an appalling second half.
The end of 2013 saw myself out of a job, though not out of Oldham completely. This time, my stint on the dole was a much tougher one, with the new system meaning a six week wait for what is now known as Universal Credit. Plus the 35 hour week requirements for job search which left me well and truly drained, and partially cut off from the outside world. Though told by my advisor to ignore this, I thought it was best to use the 35-hour limit. To avoid sanctions, and for personal research purposes.
Keeping myself from the pills and razor blades were the joys of brand-spanking new trams from Ashton. Also free WiFi on bus routes (an excuse to appease the DWP by job hunting on the 81), and the return of a writing group. One that has outlived its iconic (post-relaunch) original venue.
At the end of September, I received what I dubbed The Young Auties’ Pass. Another Godsend, though I should have applied for the thing in Greater Manchester Transport era!!!
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From a Dukinfield point of view, a rare moment of calm. Stott’s were going about their merry way on the 343 service at weekdays. The 41 was doing fine on its newly extended route. Most of the improvements that occurred offered fringe benefits for Dukinfield passengers as well as the whole of Greater Manchester.
2013’s arrival of the Metrolink in Tameside offered another journey option to Manchester. February saw the opening of the East Manchester line to Droylsden. The same month also saw the completion of Oldham’s section up to Rochdale railway station (the town centre would be completed the following year).
Ashton’s section opened on the 09 October. By the end of 2013, loadings were underwhelming; 10 minutes on a train, no matter how packed, seemed a better option. There was (and still is in 2016) solid support for the 216 and 219 services.
On the buses, there was two noticeable changes. The 25 January saw the curtailment of First Greater Manchester’s 1718 journey of the 343 to Dukinfield [Albion Hotel]. Its terminus changed to Mossley [Railway Station]. In October, another more positive change was an upgrade for the 346 service. First Greater Manchester increased its daytime timetable to every 20 minutes, meaning a bus from the Albion Hotel to Hyde or Ashton every ten minutes.
This made the 216 and 219 buses, the tram, and the train as part of an attractive route to Manchester. For many passengers, it seemed a no brainer compared with the lengthy 217/218 services (more on that story later).
The Big Three bus owning groups strengthened their hold on Greater Manchester’s bus scene. Finglands’ buses would transfer to FirstGroup ownership. Integration would have began in September, but an OFT inquiry delayed the purchase of the Rusholme depot’s fleet. Bluebird Bus and Coach was absorbed by Stagecoach Manchester, who also saw expansion with the purchase of First Greater Manchester’s Wigan operations.
2014 would see some more changes to Dukinfield services, though not for the better as we shall find out.
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My Most Memorable Bus Journeys of 2013:
- Oldham to Manchester, aboard the 81 – an excuse to try the WiFi and get a sizeable chunk of my 35 hours job searching done.
Next up on My Life in the Company of Buses…
Part 29 takes us towards 2014, a year that saw the loss of Dukinfield’s direct daytime link with Manchester.
S.V., 28 October 2016.