Winter changes dominated by Stagecoach retimings
- Cuts to night buses on 201 and 216 routes;
- Reductions to some peak hour journeys;
- First and Stagecoach retimings.
True to form, the late January changes for 2017 are another lull before April’s storm. The bulk of this year’s first changes are retimings on Stagecoach Manchester’s part. Some of which entail the withdrawal of some journeys, mainly outside the peaks in the small hours or before the witching hour.
The pruning of part of Greater Manchester’s night bus network takes centre stage with the 201 and 216 services seeing the loss of some journeys. On the 201, this will mean the 0215 from Piccadilly Gardens and the 0245 from Hyde. On the 216, this will affect Manchester-bound journeys at 0100 and 0200. In the reverse direction, that will affect the 0130 to Ashton-under-Lyne.
Thankfully, changes to Greater Manchester’s night bus network won’t affect the 0230 Piccadilly Gardens to Glossop journey of the 237. Both the 237 and its less circuitous stablemate, the 236 will see some minor changes to its timetable. Journeys will leave Ashton bus station two minutes earlier than at present.
In the peak hours, the 201, 221, 231, and 347 routes, and the solitary 220 journey will be retimed in the peak hours. Timing changes will also affect the 204, 205, and 206. Of the three Hyde Road routes, the 204 will see the loss of its 2246 journey from Hyde. On Sundays and Public Holidays, the 2251 from Piccadilly Gardens will be discontinued. Stagecoach Manchester’s evening journeys of the 346 route will be retimed.
Stagecoach’s retiming also affects four Stockport routes out of Tameside. On Saturdays, that affects the 330. From Denton, the 322 and 327 services on weekdays. The biggest changes affect passengers on the 7, taking the more convoluted yet sometimes faster route from Ashton to Stockport. Its first weekday journey from Stockport will be earlier, but only by ten minutes, departing at 0513. Plus, peak hour journeys will be hourly.
Over in FirstGroup Land, two Oldham – Tameside services will be retimed thanks to their Ride On Time initiative. The sparse peak hour journeys of the 408 will see the southbound [from Shaw] 0658 and the northbound [Stalybridge] 0804 journeys departing at 0648 and 0754 respectively. Following FirstGroup’s recent consultation, some Monday to Friday journeys of the 409 have been retimed.
There will also be some retiming of FirstGroup’s Tameside services – namely the 348, 387, and 389.
The first weekday journey of the 168 (0608 from Belle Vue to Ashton-under-Lyne) will be withdrawn. To partially compensate for the loss of another service, the 169 will be extended from Southern Cemetery to Chorlton Bus Station via Arrowfield Road and Hardy Lane. This affects journeys on Sundays and Bank Holidays.
April’s set of changes could be pretty stormy, given that the last budget’s departmental cuts will affect TfGM (again). Proposed changes could see Stalybridge passengers at the sharp end. In the last Bus Network Subcommittee Meeting, tendered services from Oldham to Stalybridge could see some reduction in frequency.
This concerns two bus routes. The Sunday and Bank Holiday journeys of the 408, could be trimmed to every two hours with no evening service. Evening services may be cut on the 340 service. It is proposed that the 343’s stablemate would finish earlier at around 8pm on weekdays, 9pm on Saturdays, and at 6pm on Sundays and Bank Holidays.
The April 23 changes will also be of interest to regular users of FirstGroup services. Could we expect more changes to First Greater Manchester’s routes in Bury and Tameside? Most of the latter depot’s tendered routes are now up for renewal, so we could be seeing fewer Barbie coloured buses after 7pm. Could it be the swirls of Stagecoach or the white of MCT Travel? Could Rosso be doing the 389? All will be revealed by Easter.
S.V., 23 January 2017.