Subtle changes but Stalybridge and Dukinfield passengers at sharpest end of two major changes
- Minimal changes to First services, in spite of depot closure;
- Cuts to evening journeys of 340 service;
- 169 service curtailed on weekdays and Saturdays;
- First and Stagecoach retimings.
For passengers within the Tameside and Glossop area, the biggest story behind this month’s service changes is the closure of Dukinfield garage. It has been stated that any changes to First Greater Manchester routes would be negligible.
In fact, there will be several changes, but Tameside’s passengers have been cushioned from them. Most of the changes have affected Oldham bus passengers. First have even gained a tendered service, from Stagecoach. Most of Stagecoach’s changes include the retiming of some journeys along East Manchester.
Stalybridge and Dukinfield bore the brunt of the latest set of cuts on the 340 and 408 routes. Firstly, the already bricked 408 service will be cut to every two hours on Sundays and Bank Holidays. Stagecoach Manchester will take on the aforementioned journeys. There will be no changes to the already thin weekday and Saturday journeys operated by First Greater Manchester and MCT Travel.
The biggest changes will affect the 340 service. Firstly, Stagecoach Manchester will retain its Sunday and Bank Holiday journeys – but there will be no evening service. Secondly, First Greater Manchester will take over Stagecoach’s weekday and evening journeys – though with more cuts. At present, the last 340 service leaves Oldham at 2215 on weekdays and Saturdays. From Hyde bus station, 2325 up to Mossley (Brookbottom) From the 23 April, here’s how the revised timetable will look:
Mondays to Fridays:
- 343: unchanged (Stott’s Tours);
- 340 (from Oldham): 1825, 1925, and 2025 (First Greater Manchester);
- 340 (from Hyde): 1830, 1930, 2030, and 2130 (First Greater Manchester);.
- 343: unchanged (Stott’s Tours);
- 340 (from Oldham): 1825, 1925, 2025, and 2125 (First Greater Manchester);
- 340 (from Hyde): 1830, 1930, 2030, 2130, and 2230 (First Greater Manchester).
Sundays and Bank Holidays:
- 340: hourly but no service after 6 – 7pm (Stagecoach Manchester).
Prior to the 23 April, the last two journeys from Hyde terminated at Mossley (Brookbottom). With the lack of an evening service, this means that a trip from Mossley to Dukinfield means changing at Ashton on the way back. For Hydonians, this will mean the lack of a direct route to Stalybridge. Furthermore, the people of Mossley will suffer, with the lack of a direct Oldham route. Bad news for drinkers or theatregoers.
There will be subtle changes to the 348 service from Carrbrook. All journeys will follow the 343 around South View. On a less subtle note, the 1803 Saturday journey of the 393 from Ashton will be withdrawn.
On the 350 service, there will be some thinning out of Oldham-bound journeys in the early mornings, but two new part route journeys towards Ashton. They will leave Hey Farm at 0526 and Greenfield at 0633. These will be positioning journeys for the Tameside routes, now operated from Oldham depot. There will be some retiming of Sunday and Bank Holiday evening journeys from Oldham: for example, the 2301 from Greenfield Conservative Club will depart at 2258.
Over in Stagecoach Land, their journeys on the 169 will be curtailed to run from Gorton to Southern Cemetery. Therefore, passengers wishing to take the longer route to South Manchester from Ashton would either catch the 168 to Chorlton, or board the 7 service to Gorton. Neither Chorlton nor West Didsbury is bereft of suitable alternative buses – which couldn’t be said for those living east of the Stalybridge/Dukinfield ward.
Two new early morning weekday journeys have been introduced on the 216 and 219 services from Ashton. The 216 journey will depart at 0431, with the 219 journey leaving at 0425. To improve connections with the 216 service, some AM peak journeys of the 237 service will be retimed.
One welcome change for passengers of the 220 and 221 services is a change of stop. At Piccadilly Gardens, it will leave its present stop outside Tesco Express and Costa Coffee. Its new home will be the new-fangled EQ stop, which it will share with the 219 service. The joys of free WiFi, USB ports and real time passenger information, and a shelter with a sedum roof, will be available for Duki-bound devotees of the PM peak journeys.
Retiming has formed the bulk of Stagecoach Manchester’s changes. The 7 service will see the retiming of its Saturday journeys. Its sister route, the 168, will also be retimed, albeit in the weekday peaks. Likewise with the 221 service from Tennyson Avenue, the 330, and the 201 services. The 201 will also see the loss of its 2301 journey from Piccadilly Gardens on Sundays and Bank Holidays.
Denton’s traffic problems has meant the retiming of weekday journeys on the 327 service to Stockport, and afternoon journeys of the 345. The service to Ashton-under-Lyne will see the retiming of its 0745 journey – departing ten minutes earlier at 0735. Due to punctuality issues with Stagecoach Manchester’s evening journeys on the 346, their journeys from Ashton to Gee Cross will be retimed.
Two of MCT Travel’s routes will also be retimed: these will affect the AM and PM peak hour journeys of the 395 to Limehurst Farm and the 396 to Newton Heath via Fitton Hill.
It gives us great pleasure to announce that Derbyshire County Council have dropped their plans to scrap funding for tendered bus services. If given the go ahead, the county’s 144 tendered bus services would have disappeared on the 30 October 2017. Stalybridge, Ashton-under-Lyne and Mottram-in-Longdendale could have lost the 236 and 237 service’s tendered journeys.
More than 90% of respondents disagreed with the plan. Instead, £3m has been found to secure their future.
As detailed earlier, some AM peak hour journeys of the 236 and 237 will be retimed to connect with the 216 service at Ashton-under-Lyne. High Peak’s 341 service will see major changes, with cutbacks to Simmondley’s service. Though the service will remain an hourly one, this part of Glossop will only be served every two hours. For the people of Simmondley (Werneth Road stop), the new timetable will be as follows:
Mondays to Fridays
- To Hyde: 1011, 1211, 1411, and 1612;
- To Glossop: 0750, 1051, 1251, 1451, and 1701.
- To Hyde: 1011, 1211, 1411, and 1611;
- To Glossop: 0759, 1051, 1251, 1451, and 1655.
As predicted in January’s changes, April’s changes were – predictably – a stormy set indeed. Though Tameside (particularly the former SHMD part of the borough) was affected by some cutbacks, the neighbouring Oldham borough just as badly.
The next set of changes will also be overseen by The Office of the Mayor of Greater Manchester. He or she is expected to take up their position on the 05 May after the 04 May’s mayoral election. Whoever gets elected will also have powers to franchise Greater Manchester’s bus services. Could there be positive changes for the city region’s bus deserts?
As for July’s changes, expect to see the usual summer timetables. There could be more changes from First Greater Manchester as they get used to operating without Dukinfield and Bury garages.
S.V., 14 April 2017.