FirstGroup Restructuring Update: New Bolton Depot Location

Residual Bolton operations to move to Blue Bus garage

Though there are eleven days to go till Diamond Bus North West takes over First Greater Manchester’s Bolton depot, some of Bolton’s First routes will be operated by First after the 11 August 2019. These concern evening journeys on the 2 and 68 routes and the Vantage family of bus routes.

With most of the hullabaloo regarding the sale of Bolton’s Weston Street depot, the aforementioned First routes are tendered by Transport for Greater Manchester. The Vantage family of routes are part way through their original TfGM contract. The evening journeys of the 68 route is run on a commercial basis, whereas some late evening journeys of the 2 route are supported by Transport for Greater Manchester.

As detailed in the GOV.UK Vehicle Operator Licensing page, FirstGroup’s residual Bolton operation will be moved to Goodwin Street. This is the site of Blue Bus and Coach Services’ depot. The new, more streamlined operation has a licence covering 40 vehicles. From around 650 buses, the First Greater Manchester’s licence will cover 286 buses. Most of which are from Oldham depot.

Switching from First Greater Manchester to Diamond Bus North West

As stated on the First Greater Manchester website, the following routes will be operated by Diamond Bus North West from the 11 August 2019:

  • 2: Bolton – Farnworth – Swinton – Eccles – intu Trafford Centre (daytime journeys only);
  • 8: Bolton – Kearsley – Pendlebury – Manchester [Shudehill Interchange];
  • 36: Bolton – Farnworth – Walkden – Swinton – Pendleton – Salford – Manchester [Piccadilly Gardens];
  • 37: Bolton – Farnworth – Walkden – Swinton – Salford – Manchester [Piccadilly Gardens];
  • 68: Farnworth – Little Hulton – Walkden – Eccles – intu Trafford Centre (daytime journeys only);
  • 162: Norden – Bamford – Heywood – Middleton – Blackley – Manchester [Piccadilly Gardens] (peak hours only service);
  • 163: Bury Interchange – Darn Hill – Heywood – Middleton – Blackley – Manchester [Piccadilly Gardens];
  • 471: Bolton Interchange – Breightmet – Bury – Heywood – Sudden – Rochdale Interchange;
  • 472: Bury Interchange – Ramsbottom – Holcombe Brook Circular;
  • 474: Bury Interchange – Holcombe Brook – Ramsbottom Circular;
  • 501: Farnworth – Royal Bolton Hospital – Bolton – Johnson Fold;
  • 507: Bolton Interchange – Tonge Moor – Harwood Circular (evening journeys operated by Arriva North West are not affected);
  • 511: Bolton Interchange – Breightmet – Ainsworth – Bury Interchange (daytime only service – served by Arriva North West journeys on 510 route);
  • 524: Bolton Interchange – Little Lever – Radcliffe – Bury Interchange;
  • 561: Bolton Interchange – Tonge Fold – Withins – Breightmet Circular (evening journeys operated by Arriva North West are not affected);
  • 562: Bolton Interchange – Tonge Fold – Breightmet – Withins Circular (evening journeys operated by Arriva North West are not affected);
  • 582: Bolton Interchange – Daubhill – Atherton – Leigh [Bus Station];
  • X39: Manchester [Piccadilly Gardens] – Swinton – Walkden – Farnworth (peak hours only service).

Please note that First Greater Manchester season tickets will continue to be valid on Diamond Bus North West, and Go North West services until further notice. If you wish avoid any further worries, or use another operator’s buses (i.e.: Arriva North West’s journeys on the Withins Circular), go for any of the System One Travelcards/GetMeThere Any Bus season tickets.

S.V., 01 August 2019.

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