A low key affair – unless you want to visit Foxdenton Hall and Gardens from Middleton
- 415 rerouted during daytimes;
- All the usual timetable tweaks.
In a marked contrast to the forthcoming changes facing Tameside bus passengers, this month’s set of changes is a quiet one for Oldham bus passengers. For some passengers, retimings are the order of the day. If your regular bus is the 415 service, we have news for you; it is not very good news either.
Comfortably picking up the title for 2018’s Most (delete where appropriate) Changed/Cannibalised/Ruined Bus Route in Greater Manchester, the 415 route is set to face another major change. A rerouting that would add 15 minutes to its journey time.
From the 28 January 2019, First Greater Manchester’s journeys will be rerouted via Moston. At this moment, all journeys approach Middleton or Oldham via the narrow and low Middleton Junction railway bridge. Under the new changes, it will pass Foxdenton Hall and Gardens as normal via Grimshaw Lane.
At the Railway and Linnet, it would turn left onto Broadgate. Which in one respect is a good move if you live in Chadderton or Oldham and work around there. If you work on Greengate, alight outside the said pub and making a short walk may be better.
If you live in Alkrington Garden Village, the short route to Oldham will be fifteen minutes longer. From Greengate, you will be whisked southwards towards Hollinwood Avenue, passing Moston, then Broadway before passing the M60, the Rochdale Canal, and turning left into Broadgate.
Though serving the industrial estates on Greengate and Broadgate is a good idea, this could have been better addressed by a local circular service using minibuses. This, possibly numbered 414, could begin at Middleton, and take in part of First’s revised 415 route.
Regular passengers of the 415 service, who have seen its frequency decimated from every 15 minutes to once hourly over a decade deserve better. Perhaps another company with the right kind of buses for Middleton Junction bridge should take over. On the service changes, a spokesperson for First Greater Manchester said:
“To operate the current route, vehicles of a non-standard size are required. First Manchester have advised that despite significant investment in the pool of vehicles which are used on the 415 (and the 353/4), they are at the end of their life and this is impacting reliability of the service. It is accepted that a small number of customers will lose their service however the cost of replacement cannot be justified for the requirement.”
Andy Burnham, what would you make of this? Though you are the Mayor of Greater Manchester, you are more than welcome to comment on East of the M60.
Only two of Oldham’s First Greater Manchester routes will be retimed. The 409 will see the retiming of its AM peak journeys. The 83 from Sholver to Manchester will see similar changes made to its PM peak journeys. On Stagecoach Manchester’s 74 and 76 routes, more of the same.
In many case, the post-Easter service changes are a portent of doom. Many of Transport for Greater Manchester’s tendered services are reviewed around that time, with October’s changes a close second.
For Oldham bus passengers, the 27 April could see a mixed bag of changes. The 49 and 406 could be withdrawn in favour of a new 149 service between North Manchester General and Royal Oldham hospitals via Moston, Coppice, and Oldham. Its operator will be finalised nearer to Eastertide. It is anticipated that three journeys may be lopped off the 151 service (the SSuX 1709 from Hollinwood – NMGH, the SO 0807 from Hollinwood – Mandley Park and the SO 0831 from Mandley Park – Hollinwood). The SO 0807 may begin at Newton Heath with the SO 0831 starting from NMGH.
Weekday peak journeys may be restored on the 408 and 412 services (from Oldham to Shaw and Oldham to Middleton respectively). Common sense may prevail on the 425‘s evening service. The present service is split in two with one section between Oldham and Fitton Hill, and another section between Holts Estate and Oldham. In line with its daytime service, back as a single Holts Estate – Fitton Hill cross town route (details of operator pending).
If you live in Holts Estate, there is a possibility that the 81A could get a Sunday and evening service. This to compensate in part for the proposed cessation of evening journeys on the 340 service from Oldham to Hyde (via Greenacres).
Forthcoming changes could see the 343’s sister route replaced by a slimline version of the 343 service. One without evening journeys and a two-hourly daytime service on Sundays and Bank Holidays. Though scant compensation between Oldham and Lees, its proposed cuts would be more brutal for Tameside passengers. The operator, who may be taking over from Stagecoach Manchester has yet to be confirmed.
Once we find out, all will be revealed by Easter or thereabouts. For the time being, get those taxi numbers in your phone or invest in a good pair of walking shoes.
S.V., 16 January 2019.