Show some love for your local bus route in a crafty way

Within a week of the launch of Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s Bus Franchising consultation, there has been several activities to advance the case for London-style bus franchising. Since this summer, Better Buses For Greater Manchester have stated their case with accountability and improved services a main advantage.

Earlier this afternoon was the Better Buses Badge Making activity at Manchester Art Gallery, which fell on the same day as the Transpo 50 bus cavalcade. From 1pm to 4pm, anyone with a passion for franchised bus networks – or a given route – made felt badges.

Using the finest materials that Hobby Craft could sell, you could design your badge in the colours of your usual bus company. You could have bleary memories of the 123 to Maine Road and make a badge in the Sunglow Orange of SELNEC. Or you could yearn for SHMD buses on the 4 and 4A route to Upper Mossley. (This is exactly what this fellow did this afternoon).

The Better Buses Badge Making activity will also take place on the 20 October (tomorrow) from 1pm to 4pm in the Atrium of Manchester Art Gallery. On the 26 October (yes, that day of all days – 33 years on from bus deregulation), this will take place in the People’s History Museum. This time from 10am to 4pm. Each event is organised by Cottonpolis, the Ancoats and New Islington branch of the Womens’ Institute.

Why buses? Whether you live in Beswick or Bedale, being marooned by inconsistent bus routes is a universal issue. It is one that strikes a chord with urban and rural branches of Womens’ Institute branches. This year, a Yorkshire branch of the Womens’ Institute declared their support for the re-regulation of local bus routes.

Whether you are seven or seventy years of age, it is a pleasant way of spending an afternoon – especially if you are tired of popping in the same shops. There is no pre-booking required: just turn up and go and pay what you feel.

This afternoon, I chose to focus on the 4 bus route. If you have read this blog or visited my old school website (, the 4 forms part of today’s 343 route from Oldham to Hyde. Before its withdrawal in 1992, it had been renumbered 344 in SELNEC PTE’s renumbering scheme. Since 2008, part of the 4’s (or 344’s) original route via Staley Road, was added to today’s 343 route.

Seen below is my effort. Not bad for somebody who last used a sewing needle in 1990 whilst at Ewing School. The colour scheme reflects that of SHMD’s livery.

Better Buses Badge Making will also take place on the 20 October 2019 at Manchester Art Gallery (1pm to 4pm) and on the 26 October 2019 at the People’s History Museum (10am to 4pm). For more information, contact Jo at

S.V., 19 October 2019.

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