Important information for bus passengers during the Coronavirus situation
Due to concerns with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there will be a reduced service on Greater Manchester’s bus routes. Generally, the City Region’s bus operators will either run a Saturday service or an enhanced Sunday service. This is in line with new government advice around social contact and non-essential travel to help combat the Coronavirus.
Owing to this, Greater Manchester will see its most comprehensive temporary curtailment of bus services – for reasons other than industrial action – since 1979. That year saw Greater Manchester Transport suspending some off-peak journeys due to a fuel shortage.
Stagecoach Greater Manchester is among the City Region’s operators that has taken such action. Where necessary, timetables have been carefully created to ensure that key corridors are properly served.
As a whole, the bus and coach industry is also engaging with government to help ensure the long-term future of bus services, which are critical to the economy and local communities, is protected.
Stagecoach Greater Manchester
Elisabeth Tasker, managing director of Stagecoach Greater Manchester said: “Along with other bus operators and key sectors, we are working hard to support the national effort to tackle the current challenging situation.
“The safety of our customers and our employees is at the heart of everything we do. We also know that our bus services play a vital role in keeping the country running and ensuring key sector personnel get to work.
“Following the latest government advice, we have reviewed our timetables and made temporary changes which reflect the reduced level of travel. Our objective has been to focus resources on where we know they are needed most at this time.
“We are working hard to best maintain essential services, safeguard jobs and ensure the long-term sustainability of a sector which is central to our economy and communities.
“We will continue to monitor the position, liaise closely with government and other authorities, and respond as appropriate to what is a dynamic situation.”
Stagecoach Greater Manchester will be operating a special Monday to Friday service. Updated timetables will be available on their website soon. There will be no change to school services that will be in operation for as long as schools remain open.
Since the impact of the coronavirus in the UK, Stagecoach has implemented additional hygiene measures to protect passengers, frontline bus workers and office-based staff.
As well as rigorous and well established cleaning regimes, there has been more frequent cleaning of main customer touch-points on buses, such as hand poles and grab rails. All Stagecoach front-line staff have also been provided with personal hand sanitiser and regular reminders are being issued about the importance of personal hygiene.
For further details, you can also visit Stagecoach’s website. Just set the location pin to your desired locality.
Update (24 March 2020)
From the 25 March 2020, the following Stagecoach Greater Manchester routes will be revised:
- 11: Altrincham – Stockport: from every fifteen minutes to half hourly;
- 216: Ashton-under-Lyne – Droylsden – Piccadilly Gardens: from every ten minutes to every fifteen minutes;
- 219: Ashton-under-Lyne – Fairfield – Piccadilly Gardens: from every ten minutes to every fifteen minutes;
- 314: Stockport – Offerton: from every ten minutes to every twenty minutes;
- 325: Stockport – Brinnington Circular: from every ten minutes to every fifteen minutes;
- 330: Ashton-under-Lyne – Hyde – Stockport: from every ten minutes to every fifteen minutes;
- 347: Ashton-under-Lyne – Denton – Haughton Green: from every ten minutes to every fifteen minutes;
- 368: Stockport – Wythenshawe Hospital: from every fifteen minutes to half hourly;
- 383/384: Stockport – Bredbury – Romiley Circulars: from every ten minutes to every twenty minutes.
Go North West
From the 23 March, Go North West will be running an enhanced Sunday service across its routes. In this instance, there will be a Sunday service with AM and PM peak extras. The following exceptions are:
33: Worsley – Manchester
Full route to Worsley on weekdays and Saturdays. On Sundays, all journeys will be curtailed to operate between Manchester and Eccles.
Orbits 52: intu Trafford Centre – Failsworth
Enhanced evening service from the intu Trafford Centre.
X63: Bury – Manchester
Revised to only operate in the AM and PM peak hours with fast buses from Bury to Heywood, Middleton and Manchester.
93: Bury – Manchester
Sunday service increased to half hourly frequency.
95: Bury – Salford Shopping Centre
All journeys will follow the summer school holiday timetable.
For further details, visit the Go North West website.
Diamond Bus North West
Diamond Bus North West will be running a normal weekday service along some of its routes after the 23 March. Some services will see daytime journeys cut from six buses per hour to five buses per hour (from every 10 to every 12 minutes). This change will affect the following routes:
- 8: Manchester – Pendlebury – Kearsley – Bolton;
- 36: Bolton – Walkden – Swinton – Pendleton – Manchester;
- 37: Bolton – Walkden – Swinton – Pendleton – Manchester;
- 163: Bury – Darn Hill – Langley – Middleton – Manchester;
- 471: Bolton – Breightmet – Bury – Heywood – Rochdale;
- 524: Bury – Radcliffe – Little Lever – Bolton;
- 582: Leigh – Atherton – Over Hulton – Bolton.
There will be no service till further notice on the following routes:
- X8: Bolton – Manchester;
- X39: Manchester – Swinton – Farnworth.
It is also worth noting that Diamond Bus North West will allow all ENCTS concessionary pass holders on board for free before 9.30 am. For further details, visit the Diamond Bus North West website.
(including Burnley Bus Company, Rosso, Blackburn Bus Company)
Transdev has stated that a normal Saturday service will be in operation on their routes during weekdays. There is no change to Sunday and Bank Holiday journeys. On weekdays, there will be no service on the R9 route (Rochdale – Foxholes Circular).
First Greater Manchester
At present, there are no changes to First Greater Manchester’s services. With the precedent set by fellow constituents of the FirstGroup empire, expect a Saturday service from the 23 March. For further details, go to their website.
Arriva North West
An emergency timetable is in operation on the 19, 245, 247 and 263 routes in South Manchester. In Salford, Bolton, Bury, and Wigan, this will also affect the 10, 362 484, 534, 541 and 575 services.
At present, no changes to Vision Bus routes have been announced as yet. With this in mind, visit their website.
As a goodwill gesture for its older passengers, Vision Bus will be letting its senior citizens board for free before 9.30 am. A fantastic move, given that some supermarket chains have introduced early opening hours for elderly shoppers.
Warrington’s Own Buses
As with Vision Bus, there are no details of temporary service changes at this time of writing (once again, check the website).
Like our fellows in Bolton, Warrington’s Own Buses will be letting its senior citizens board for free before 9.30 am. Once again, some all-round good eggs.
High Peak Buses
Since the Transpeak route’s retreat from Greater Manchester, High Peak only run a couple of routes in the City Region.
The 199 route from Manchester Airport to Stockport and Buxton will be cut from half hourly to once hourly. This means its Sunday service will be in operation for seven days a week till further notice.
For the foreseeable future, there will be a normal service on the 394, as of Monday 23 March. As usual, High Peak Buses’ link with Stepping Hill Hospital and Glossop (via Marple) will be just as sparse (every two hours, no weekend service).
There will also be a normal service for now on the 61 from Buxton to Glossop. From Friday 20 March, holders of ENCTS concessionary passes will be able to travel before 9.30 am free of charge.
For further information, give the High Peak Buses website a visit.
No details as yet, though some journeys have been cancelled due to driver sickness. Nevertheless, MCT Travel have embarked on a rigorous cleaning regime with their buses. Drivers have been seen wearing disposable gloves for handling cash payments.
For further information, visit their website or follow their Twitter feed (@mct_travel). If you prefer to use the telephone, give them a call on 0161 946 9255.
As most routes operated by Stott’s Tours are schools contracts or Transport for Greater Manchester tendered services, there should be little or no effect to frequencies. If any changes are made, expect to see tendered routes running to Saturday timetables. School services will only run for as long as the schools are open, which at this time of writing could only be days ahead.
To be 100% sure about the state of play with your 343 or 407, give Stott’s Tours a call on 0161 624 4200. Or you can follow them on their Twitter feed under @BusesOldham.
It will be business as usual for Nexus Move’s Saddleworth routes (all of which TfGM tendered routes with smaller buses). Like its contemporaries in the City Region, Nexus Move have embarked on a rigorous cleaning regime.
As there is no website, nor a Twitter feed that focuses on Nexus Move’s bus routes, telephone them on 0161 331 2989.
South Pennine Community Transport
At this moment in time, most services are operating as normal apart from their two cross-boundary routes. These will affect the Tuesdays only 357 from Ashton-under-Lyne to Holmfirth and the Wednesdays only 359 route from Oldham to Holmfirth. For further information on other other routes, visit their website.
Alternatively (and I thoroughly recommend you should do that in the first instance), follow their Twitter feed on @SouthPennineCT. That has frequent updates on their routes within West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester. You can also give them a call, text message or have a Whatsapp chat on 07593 852259. They are also happy to answer your queries by email via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Local Link services
A normal service will be in operation across Greater Manchester. With a vehicle shortage on the Ramsbottom Local Link service, that service will be served by a vehicle from Bolton’s Local Link.
For the lowdown on Local Link services, check out TfGM’s pages on the demand responsive transport service. Before you book a journey, you need to register. Thankfully, registration covers the whole of Greater Manchester. You could book a Local Link service for your grandma in Dane Bank, who would use Dane Bank’s service, if you lived elsewhere in the City Region.
Local Link is available in the following areas:
- Wythenshawe (24 hours a day, except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day);
- East Tameside (covers Hattersley, Godley, Dukinfield [Tame Valley], Stalyhill, Mottram-in-Longdendale, and Hollingworth: no Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day service);
- Glossop Extension (weekday evening and all-day Sunday service which covers Charlesworth, Gamesley, and Glossop town centre: no Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day service);
- Mossley and Saddleworth (most of Saddleworth, plus Mossley and Micklehurst: daytime only, no Bank Holiday service);
- Dane Bank (covers Dane Bank and part of Reddish: evenings only, no Bank Holiday service);
- East Manchester (offers a door-to-door link with Manchester Royal Infirmary and North Manchester General Hospital from East Manchester: no Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day service);
- Kingsway (a door-to-door link with the business park that covers most of the Rochdale MBC boundary);
- Rochdale (covers Deeplish, Lower Place, Milnrow, Norden, Healey, Syke and Wardle: evenings only, no Bank Holiday service);
- Newbold and Smallbridge (weekdays only door-to-door service timed to allow transfer with trams, trains and buses);
- Partington (covers most of the Trafford MBC boundary plus Dunham, Warburton, Little Bollington and Lymn: no Bank Holiday service);
- Middleton (a daily door-to-door link with Kingsway Business Park which runs to meet shift changeover times; also with seamless travel from Greengate to Langley: no Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day service);
- Milkstone and Deeplish (a door-to-door link with Rochdale town centre, during shopping hours: no Sunday and Bank Holiday service);
- Logistics North (a comprehensive door-to-door link with that hulking agglomeration of warehouses off the M61 motorway: no Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day service);
- Heald Green (off-peak weekdays door-to-door service with links to Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester Airport, World Freight Centre and Atlas Business Park: no Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day service);
- Deane and Daubhill (a weekdays only door-to-door link with the Royal Bolton Hospital: no Bank Holiday service);
- Hindley (a daily door-to-door link with Platt Bridge, Ince-in-Makerfield, Hindley Green and Aspull: no Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day service);
- Heywood (a daily door-to-door link with Heywood, Heap Bridge, Sudden and Spotland: no Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day service, and no evening service on weekends and Bank Holidays);
- Ramsbottom and Tottington (a weekdays only door-to-door link with Bury Interchange, for areas unserved by local buses: no evening and Bank Holiday service);
- Salford (off-peak weekdays door-to-door service that covers the north-eastern part of the Salford City Council boundary: no Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day service, and no evening service on Bank Holidays and Sundays);
- Timperley (24 hours a day, except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day);
- East Bolton (weekdays only door-to-door service which covers the northern part of the Bolton Council boundary: no Bank Holiday and weekend service).
What more, Local Link services also accept System One passes and GetMeThere tickets. Which is nice to know if you are at a loose end with conventional bus routes.
One more thing…
Check the operator’s website (or operators’ websites if your route has a different one at certain times of the day) before you travel. Follow their Twitter feeds for more up-to-the-minute updates.
Most importantly, give the Transport for Greater Manchester Twitter feed a follow too.
- Transport for Greater Manchester: @OfficialTfGM;
- Stagecoach Greater Manchester and Wigan: @StagecoachGM;
- Go North West: @gnwbus;
- Diamond Bus North West: @DiamondBusNW;
- First Greater Manchester: @FirstManchester;
- Arriva North West: @arrivanorthwest;
- Burnley Bus Company: @busesburnley;
- Blackburn Bus Company: @blackburnbusco;
- Warrington’s Own Buses: @WarringtonBuses;
- Rosso: @Rossobus;
- Vision Bus: @VisionBus;
- Stott’s Tours: @BusesOldham;
- MCT Travel: @mct_travel;
- High Peak Buses: @HighPeakLive;
- South Pennine Community Transport: @SouthPennineCT.
Beating Coronavirus on the buses
Whatever you do on the buses, stay safe. Here’s a few handy hints.
- Sometimes, the revised timetables might make your daily commute a bit more difficult. If your employer allows you to work from home, use that to your best advantage.
- Where facilities are available on board, try to pay the driver by using a contactless card or your smartphone. If you have an ENCTS smart card or a topped-up GetMeThere pass, you will be also fine.
- Apply hand sanitiser to your hands after alighting the bus. This is especially true if you are too far away from a public toilet. If your stop is outside a supermarket which has public toilets, make use of the facilities.
- If you choose to stand up or go upstairs, apply hand sanitiser to your hands prior to grabbing the bannister or the grip rails. Though bus operators will be raising their game in the cleanliness stakes, it is better to be safe rather than sorry.
- Help the operators by keeping your bus as tidy as possible. Unless you are unable to do so, please avoid eating and drinking on board.
S.V., 18 March 2020.