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.

10 thoughts on “First Greater Manchester Continues Retreat from Tameside

  1. i am wondering weather the depot will be sold or closed down would love to see stotts and Nexus expand


  2. An interesting registration from First West Yorkshire, 588 Rochdale to Rochdale, probably a replacement for one of the withdrawn Rochdale local services. Does further make me think remaining Greater Manchester operations will come under West Yorkshire control. A an aside, South Yorkshire PTE are reporting that South Pennine are increasing/enhancing several services that run under their operating area, for example the Holmfirth to Barnsley service will now run daily. I wonder if further enhancements will happen on their 351, 352 and X50 services, for example will the X50 run daily?


  3. I’ve got it! Suddenly realised what will happen, many of the remaining routes are good profit makers such as the 59 so I bet once things have been trimmed enough, some of these remaining services will simply transfer to the depot where Vantage services will be based where as others will become First West Yorkshire routes such as the 184, 180, X84 and perhaps the 350. The 184 could easily interwork with the 180 and maybe the X84, and maybe the 350 could run off extra 184 workings sent over at the beginning and end. Breakdowns have easily been covered by West Yorkshire in the past as a Manchester based 184 working was covered by a Huddersfield based vehicle after a breakdown somewhere near Uppermill. Perhaps some normal spare vehicles could be allocated to the Vantage depot? Now I know the new Vantage depot is smaller, and some are saying it doesn’t have maintainance facilities, but look at Whitby Arriva depot, vehicles are maintained at Redcar, so could the Vantage depot vehicles be maintained at Huddersfield or Halifax? It may be possible for a Halifax/Todmorden based vehicle to be sent over to cover a breakdown as well as the distance between Halifax and the nearest Greater Manchester point isn’t that far, say for example a 409 breaks down in Rochdale, it won’t take long for a Todmorden or Halifax based bus to come out and cover, could we even see the 409 operated by West Yorkshire as that too could be ran off an extra few Halifax or Todmorden to Rochdale workings.


  4. or withdraw 184 Uppermill to Huddersfield and reinstate the 365 service done by First Huddersfield just to Oldham every hour as it use to be


  5. stagecoach have registered 2 circular routes to combine 331 333 38 39 the gen idea is ashton broadoak hazelhurst ashton. (full route unclear atm).
    the 393 is already majority covered by the 231 operating simlar times around hartshead.
    the question as it stands is how is smallshaw lane and kings road from hurst cross to curzon road going to fair on this new route as these i fear will lose out on their daytime services.
    the 389 again has been registered but only ashton to astley duki so potentially a circular route at yew tree


    1. Hi James,

      I was wondering how the curtailed previously-curtailed 389 would terminate in Dukinfield. At first I thought there would be a single loop around Fir Tree Lane, Lyne Edge Road and Yew Tree Lane before returning to Stalybridge.

      The other idea I had was that it could terminate at Tennyson Avenue and co-work with some peak hour 221s. If that was the case, Yew Tree Lane could be (other than school buses) a bus-free zone outside the peaks. That could be addressed by an extended 41 route to Hyde via the soon-to-be-discontinued section of the 389 route. Another idea could be a revived 339/340 circular. After taking in the present-day 41 route, the 339s could go via Armadale Road and Boyd’s Walk first, whereas the 340s could reach Yew Tree Lane and Tennyson Avenue via Dewsnap Lane before returning to Ashton along the present 41 route.

      As far as I know, the Ashton services will be replaced by two super-circular routes, the 336 and 337. Like yourself I have no idea about the exact route. It would probably eschew Lees Road in favour of Whiteacre Road (the former is covered by the 231 route via Mossley Road and Tameside Hospital). Thereafter, probably to Hazelhurst (Palace Road and Kings Road), then Broadoak Road and Turner Lane, leaving Smallshaw Lane bus-free outside of Sundays, evenings and Bank Holidays.

      Personally I would add the Hazelhurst section of the 38/39 with the 331s and 333s using Whiteacre Road. I would add two new circular routes: the 337 and the 338. These would follow the 393 up to Curzon Road, then the 38 to Hurst Cross before reaching Smallshaw Road via Lees Road and Broadoak Road. From The Old Ball, they would return to Ashton via Henrietta Street. The 337 could go via Canterbury Road before Hurst Cross whereas the 338 could approach Hurst Cross via Smallshaw Lane. If desired they could be added to the 339 Crowhill Circular.

      With the tenders for the 38/39/232/332 up for renewal shortly, I wonder if they too could become 336s and 337s? Given that bus franchising could be on the cards, how long will these changes last?




  6. Until the route of the 336/337 are confirmed, it is difficult to say to what impact the changes will have on large swathes of Ashton. But at present, the changes to the 389 are particularly unacceptable, as it will leave Yew Tree Estate without a bus to Hyde!

    If unconfirmed reports are to be believed, MCT’s 389s are to be curtailed in the same way, with the money saved being used to provide an evening service on the 395/396 (What are TfGM smoking?).

    This would additionally leave Hyde without a bus service to Stalybridge in the evening, with the last 343 at 17:25 followed by the ” Magical Mystery Tour” 387 at around 18:05 being the final two departures of the day. After that, it’s a change at Yew Tree or a walk from the Lodge. Ideal for lone women travelling at night!

    Even if the rumours of changes to MCT’s 389 prove to be false, it still leaves a near two-hour gap in buses from Hyde to Stalybridge from the latter part of the evening peak! And it leaves Yew Tree without a daytime bus service to Hyde!

    Stagecoach’s response on Twitter is that “we have tried to retain existing links but some passengers will need to interchange”. A simple journey between neighbouring places in a densely-populated area, like Yew Tree to Hyde, or Stalybridge to Hyde, should NOT require a passenger to interchange!


  7. A bit of an interesting development, as First retreat, South Pennine continue to expand. They have tweeted to say that major improvements will take place to services, including Holmfirth to Saddleworth routes where a new Saddleworth location will be served, and Holmfirth to Saddleworth also served on an extra day.


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