Changes to Saddleworth routes see new shuttle service
- New Saddleworth service to make up for lost Denshaw connections;
- Farewell to the 82 night bus.
For once, Oldham passengers can sleep soundly with this spring’s changes. With the exception of Saddleworth’s bus routes, there will be some slight changes and operator revisions.
On the other hand you could say there has been a lot of changes in Oldham. From the 08 April 2018, First Pioneer will no longer exist. Though the Dukinfield garage closed on 23 April 2017, FirstGroup retained Pioneer’s registration. Therefore, most of First Pioneer’s journeys will transfer to First Greater Manchester’s licence. Some of which will change hands with MCT Travel being the main beneficiary (see our Tameside and Glossop bulletin).
Later journeys could be added to the 59 service from Middleton, departing at 2341. In addition to this would be a return journey from Manchester, departing at 0015. This would continue to Oldham with First Greater Manchester its likely operator.
Two early morning journeys on the 77 service could be withdrawn and replaced by a part working of the 76. Instead of providing a circular route from Moston to Manchester, an extension to Failsworth is proposed. Changes to the 159 may see the withdrawal of its 1740 Saturday journey to Middleton. The new – or not-so-new – operator will run the service with an early finish from the 14 April, with the last bus leaving Oldham at 1640.
For once there’s no doom and gloom for passengers on the 182 service (which fared badly in the previous set of changes). The service from Rochdale will be given some shiny new early morning journeys. As follows:
- Monday to Saturday: 0500 (Manchester to Shaw);
- Weekdays: 0419 (Chadderton to Shaw);
- Saturdays: 0514 (Chadderton to Manchester), 0550 (Manchester to Shaw);
- Sundays and Bank Holidays: 0721 (Chadderton to Manchester), 0757 (Manchester to Rochdale).
Its sister route, the 181, will see the withdrawal of a part route journey from Rochdale to Shaw. This will be the 1742 journey.
This April will also see the end of an era for insomniac/party loving Oldham bus passengers. The commercially run night buses on the 82 service will be withdrawn. At present, the weekend service has three journeys to Oldham (0030, 0130, and 0230) and two to Manchester (0100 and 0200). The 0230 continues to Lees. From the minutes of TfGM’s Bus Subcommittee meeting, they are awaiting details of passenger data from Stagecoach Manchester.
Saddleworth service changes
The biggest news in Saddleworth is the arrival of a new bus service. On our existing Saddleworth routes there has been some changes. Between Ashton-under-Lyne and Micklehurst, the 350 service will be cut from every 12 minutes to every 15 minutes. Thankfully there will still be two buses per hour along the full route into Saddleworth. This time with a half-hourly frequency rather than the 35/25 minute split.
Though there will be no changes to its departure times from Ashton and Mossley, the 353 and 354 services will be curtailed. From the 09 April, the 353 will terminate at Uppermill instead of Dobcross. Instead of Denshaw, the 354 will terminate at Dobcross. Why is this happening? Well, the section north of Uppermill and Dobcross will be covered by a new tendered service.
The 356 will start at Denshaw before going to Saddleworth Leisure Centre or Greenfield railway station. The service will call at Delph, Dobcross, Diggle, and Uppermill, before terminating at Saddleworth Leisure Centre or Greenfield railway station. Funding for the service formed part of the Department for Transport’s Total Transport project, which is valid for a year. The hourly service will run from Monday to Saturday with buses running till 2220 on Monday to Thursday, and 2320 on Fridays and Saturdays.
The creation of Saddleworth’s new shuttle bus is the result of a TfGM consultation which had over 1,600 responses (myself included). The operator is a new name in stage carriage operation, though a familiar one to many Tameside people. They are Nexus Move Ltd who are better known in Tameside as Radio Cabs, Cavalier Radio Cars, and A1 Taxis. In the last decade they have operated Local Link services on behalf of GMPTE and TfGM, around Mossley and Saddleworth.
Oldham didn’t really do too badly out of this spring’s changes. It is far removed from the doom laden prose we have seen in our local press. The parts of Greater Manchester which took a hit from this spring’s service changes were Wigan, Bolton, and South Manchester. Just outside the TfGM boundary, Cheshire East fared worse with Little Bollington losing both its bus services.
Would July’s changes offer more goodies? Will it be a cruel summer? Will the people of Saddleworth be supporting the 356 service? We shall see.
S.V., 07 March 2018.