Trunk bus routes revert to schooldays timetable, whereas slimline Saddleworth Sunday route replaces two services

First Greater Manchester Alexander Dennis ALX400, YJ51 RCX, Ashton-under-Lyne bus station
No change for the 409 service, loading at Ashton-under-Lyne bus station.

This autumn, Saddleworth passengers will be seeing the most fundamental service changes, thanks largely to departmental spending cuts affecting TfGM. In place of Sunday and Bank Holiday journeys on the 353 and 354 services, there will be a brand new route. On the plus side, another journey option for the people of Denshaw. On the minus side is a more modest frequency and some changes affecting the more southerly parts of Saddleworth.

The 355 service (not to be confused with the pre-2004 version replaced by the 350) is a slight retread of the 354 service. Instead of going via Chew Valley Road (well served by the 180 and 350 services), it will reach Uppermill via Well I’Th’Hole Road and Shaw Hall Bank Road. Roughtown will be a bus free zone on Sundays, bad news for anyone fancying a car-free trip to The Rising Sun. Its only concession to Top Mossley would be a deviation via Stamford Road and Arundel Street before the railway station.

The upside of the new route is that Denshaw will have a Sunday service to Ashton-under-Lyne, Delph, Dobcross, and Uppermill. On the downside, it will only be every two hours. Not so bad at Denshaw where the 354 has a similar frequency on weekdays and Saturday. The people of Roughtown and Stalybridge will lose out more. A walk to Mossley will be more viable from Heyrod if you’ve just missed the new 355 service. MCT Travel will operate the new route.

As seen in our Tameside bulletin, cuts to the 408 service since 2015 have gone beyond the joke. Though Rosso operates the part route journeys from Shaw to Oldham, the axe has fallen on First Greater Manchester’s peak hour journeys along the full route. Therefore, passengers wishing to travel from Oldham to Stalybridge could change at Ashton (409 then 348 on a FirstDay Ticket) or board the 340 and 343 routes. If you can board the sparse Sunday and Bank Holiday journeys, or fancy travelling at night time, there are still 408 along their full route.

As well as the 408, Shaw’s other First routes have been revised. The 58 will only run between Rochdale Interchange and Oldham bus station. Extra journeys have been added to the 59 service, between Oldham [Mumps Bridge] and Manchester. The 59 will operate every ten minutes from Oldham on Monday to Saturday daytimes. Its Manchester terminus will change to Stand F on Lever Street. The 181 and 182 services will see minor changes to its timetable and a change of Manchester terminus: this time, Stand E on Lever Street.

Other minor changes will affect the 350 service, this time with a change of operator on its 0806 schooldays only journey to Saddleworth School. Rosso will take over that journey, albeit with its starting point at Waterhead rather than Oldham town centre. The 1313 Wednesdays Only journey from Saddleworth School to Oldham will be withdrawn.

Minor changes

Peak hour and early evening journeys will be retimed on the 81 and 81A services to Derker and Holts Estate. The 402 Oldham to Royton Circular service, operated by MCT Travel, will be rerouted via Grasmere Road. Its previous route before the 03 September was via Fir Bank Road.

On the 435 service from Rochdale to Shaw, via Turf Hill and High Crompton, there will be one change to Rosso’s hourly route. Its weekday 1505 journey from Rochdale Interchange will now depart at 1515. On schooldays, it will arrive at Shaw [Wren’s Nest] by 1546. Between Crompton House School and Shaw, it will run as the 935 service and continue to Milnrow. During the school holidays, it will be the trusty old 435, arriving at Wren’s Nest for 1542.

Northbound to Rochdale, its part route journey from Crompton House School (Schooldays only) will depart ten minutes earlier, arriving at 1550. There are no changes to the school holiday journey which runs along the full 435 route.

Schooldays Timetables

The following Oldham and Saddleworth area services will revert to their school day timetables.

  • 58: Rochdale – Shaw – Oldham – Chadderton – Middleton (First Greater Manchester);
  • 59: Rushcroft – Oldham – Middleton – Heaton Park – Manchester [Piccadilly Gardens] (First Greater Manchester);
  • 76: Oldham – Hollins – Limeside – Failsworth – Manchester [Piccadilly Gardens] (Stagecoach Manchester);
  • 81: Derker – Oldham – Butler Green – Moston – Manchester [Piccadilly Gardens] (First Greater Manchester);
  • 81A: Holts Estate – Lees – Oldham – Moston – Manchester [Piccadilly Gardens] (First Greater Manchester);
  • 83: Sholver – Oldham – Hollinwood – Failsworth – Manchester [Piccadilly Gardens] (First Greater Manchester);
  • 180: Manchester [Piccadilly Gardens] – Failsworth – Hollinwood – Oldham – Lees – Greenfield (First Greater Manchester);
  • 181: Manchester [Piccadilly Gardens] – Newton Heath – Chadderton – Royton – Shaw (First Greater Manchester);
  • 182: Manchester [Piccadilly Gardens] – Newton Heath – Chadderton – Royton – Shaw – Rochdale (First Greater Manchester);
  • 184: Manchester [Piccadilly Gardens] – Oldham – Lees – Uppermill – Diggle – Huddersfield (First Greater Manchester);
  • 415: Middleton – Alkrington Garden Village – Foxdenton Hall – Oldham (First Greater Manchester);
  • 425: Fitton Hill – Hathershaw – Oldham – Glodwick – Holts Estate (First Greater Manchester).

Whatever Next?

There has been whisperings of proposed changes to First Greater Manchester’s tendered journeys starting next year. Once we find out nearer the time (possibly February 2018 or thereabouts), you will be the first to know.

S.V., 30 August 2017.

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