More tinkering around the edges: nothing too drastic

Unlike the previous set of changes which has butchered Greenfield’s bus network, the latest set of changes are a more sedate affair. Usually, this is a lull before the storm of post-Easter changes.

As with Tameside’s forthcoming changes, retiming is the order of the day. A few journeys have also been extended, added or taken out of the timetable.

Retiming is the order of the day for Stagecoach Greater Manchester’s 76 route. Over in FirstGroup Land – otherwise known as Oldham – many of the changes have affected Manchester-bound routes. The 59 will see changes to its PM peak journeys. The 1744 from Oldham to Middleton will instead depart at 1749 and continue to Manchester city centre. There will also be an extra journey in the opposite direction, departing at 1830. The 1840 journey to Shaw will instead depart at 1842.

On Saturdays, the 1714 journey from Oldham Bus Station to Manchester city centre will be retimed to depart at 1719. This will make the 1714 part route journey from Mumps Bridge to Middleton, which will be discontinued, superfluous. The 1802 part route journey from Oldham Bus Station to Middleton, will be extended to Manchester – this time was a revised departure time of 1754.

Its sister route, the hourly 58 from Rochdale to Oldham will see the retiming of two weekday journeys. The 0700 will leave Rochdale Interchange at 0653, whereas its return journey at 0754 will depart from Oldham Bus Station at 0749.

Three journeys on the 80 circular route will be extended from Oldham Bus Station to Mumps Bridge before doing the full loop at Holts Estate and Springhead. On weekdays, this will cover the 0540 and 0610 journeys, whereas on Saturdays this will cover the 0640 Holts Estate – Oldham journey. The 0643 from Oldham Bus Station to Holts Estate will begin at Mumps Bridge.

On the 81, most southbound journeys (Oldham – Manchester) will be retimed to run five minutes earlier. This, according to the First Greater Manchester website, would “improve the punctuality of journeys from Manchester.” Two new northbound journeys have been added to the timetable. On weekdays, this will be the 1927 from Manchester to Oldham. On Saturdays, that journey will leave ten minutes earlier at 1917.

Saddleworth service changes

On the now curtailed 180 route from Greenfield to Oldham, there will be no westbound journey at 0728. In its place will be two journeys, departing at 0653 and 0753, which could either be too early or too late for the tram to Victoria.

The 350 will see the addition of an earlier journey in Saddleworth. The 0711 from Hey Farm Estate will be extended to cover the full route, departing from Mumps Bridge at 0630. Therefore, the newly extended journey will stop at Carrcote for 0648, Uppermill at 0659 and Greenfield at 0704. Due to schools traffic, the 1429 journey from Oldham will leave at 1423.

On the down side for Greenfield passengers, the 0651 part route journey from Greenfield will only run between Hey Farm Estate and Ashton-under-Lyne, departing at 0701.

Other changes

On the 83, there will be another weekday journey in the timetable. This time, from Manchester to Oldham, leaving at 1905. The minor retiming of peak hour journeys is the order of the day for 181 and 182 routes.

Where next?

From what we have seen so far, April’s service changes could, at best, make for some mixed reading. With TfGM having to make further cuts, this has affected tendered services. In Saddleworth, five routes could be shoehorned into one.

It is proposed that the 353, 354, 355, 356 and 407 services would form a single route. Another scenic sibling to the 350. The proposed Ashton-under-Lyne to Oldham route would cover the 353 route in its entirety. North of Uppermill, it would absorb the 356 route up to Denshaw, then the 407 route down to Oldham. The Bottom Mossley to Greenfield [Wellington Hotel] section of the 354 (covered by the 343 and 350 routes in some part) would be ditched.

The proposed super route (numbered 356) would also cut out Palin Wood Road and Arncliffe Rise (off Turf Pit Lane). If approved, this would be an hourly service with buses every two hours on Sundays and Bank Holidays, and evenings. The Oldham to Denshaw section of the new route will be hourly on Sunday and Bank Holiday daytimes with the addition of part route journeys.

Also proposed is the withdrawal of the 418 route from Turf Lane to Lees, via Royal Oldham Hospital and Greenacres. This would also affect daytime journeys of the 343 route on weekdays and Saturdays. Instead of serving Lees, the 343 would reach Grotton via Greenacres Road, Austerlands Bar, Heywood Lane and Cooper Street. Cooper Street is at present one of two Hail and Ride sections of the 418. As to what might replace the Shaw Road/Cornish Way/Turf Lane section, we do not know just yet.

The April 2020 changes will be a most interesting set to look at for sure. Especially a month after the Mayor of Greater Manchester has made his announcement over the Doing Buses Differently consultation.

S.V., 16 January 2020.

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