Only three First routes left in Tameside by September 2019
In the last 24 hours, we have heard that First Greater Manchester will continue their retreat from the Tameside area. On the 01 September 2019, there will only be three routes in the borough operated by the successors to GM Buses North.
On East of the M60 some three weeks ago, we stated in our look at Tameside and Glossop’s bus service changes for 21 July 2019:
As for First Greater Manchester’s decision to pull out of the 346 route, we think they are chipping away at the Oldham operation piece by piece. The rate of travel seems to be a scaling back from the fringes of the Oldham boundary. Hence their withdrawal from the 415 service, hence the loss of tendered services in Tameside to MCT Travel and Nexus Move.
As well as three routes in Rochdale, Tameside is in the Wallshaw Street operator’s firing line. These will affect the following routes:
- 38/39: Ashton-under-Lyne – Hazelhurst;
- 331/333: Ashton-under-Lyne – Hurst/Smallshaw Circulars;
- 389: Ashton-under-Lyne – Ridge Hill Estate – Stalybridge – Dukinfield [Yew Tree] – Hyde;
- 393: Ashton-under-Lyne – Smallshaw.
At present, the above First services are operated on a commercial basis with half hourly frequencies. On evenings, Bank Holidays and Sundays, the Sunday equivalents of the 331, 333 and the 393 routes are served by the 232 and the 332 (operated by MCT Travel). The 38, 39, and 389 have evening, Sunday and Bank Holiday journeys – also operated by MCT Travel. If MCT Travel end up running the aforementioned routes’ daytime journeys, they could be the second largest bus operator in Tameside.
Like the 346’s changes a few days ago, the successful operator may be encouraged by TfGM to run the daytime journeys on a commercial basis. Furthermore, the tenders for evening journeys on the 38 and 39, and the 232/332 circulars are up for renewal.
From the 01 September, First Greater Manchester’s only Tameside routes will be the 348 (Ashton-under-Lyne – Carrbrook), 350 (Ashton-under-Lyne – Mossley – Micklehurst – Uppermill – Oldham) and the 409 (Ashton-under-Lyne – Oldham – Rochdale). How long will it be before they are hit by FirstGroup’s Tamexit plans?
As for FirstGroup’s successors from the 01 September, it wouldn’t surprise me if MCT Travel take over all six of the affected routes. Stagecoach Manchester could be a good fit for the 331 and 333 routes: they also run the 231 to Piccadilly via Hurst, which complement the Hurst Circulars.
All will be revealed on East of the M60 within our blog’s look at the September service changes. With the transfer of FirstGroup’s Bolton operations to Diamond Bus North West, another seismic shift in the city region’s bus network is all TfGM needs!
The other three services affected by FirstGroup’s changes are the 24 (Rochdale – Manchester (peak hours only)), and the 454/457 (Rochdale – Stansfield Circulars).
S.V., 23 July 2019.