Revolutionary Renumbering Exercise Aims to Boost Bus Patronage in Tameside

Unique renumbering exercise aims to be more user-friendly than present system

There hasn’t been a comprehensive renumbering exercise in Tameside since SELNEC PTE became Greater Manchester PTE. Since the start of bus deregulation, some routes have been renumbered to suit the operator’s requirements. In the main, most of Tameside’s bus route numbers are in the 300 series which also covers bus routes in Stockport, Wilmslow and Glossop.

This week, East of the M60 can reveal that Tameside’s 44 bus routes will have a numbering system where there is some relationship between trunk routes and trunk feeder routes. A root and branch reform, if you like. Using the 216 as our trunk route, we know for sure a few other bus routes share part of their route with the 216. The 7 and the 217, under this rule, will be renumbered 2161 and 2162. Therefore, the extra number denotes which feeder it is in relation to our 216 route.

There will also be another number to denote the variation of each feeder route. The 221, seen as a sister route to the 219, will be denoted as 21911.0618. This means it is a variation of the 220 route – now renumbered 2191.06.

The decimal point will also play a part in the renumbering exercise. Any route depicted as xxx.0618 only runs in the daytime. A route with xxx.06 is AM only, with its PM counterpart being xxx.17. Evening only services would be denoted as xxx.1824 – for example, the 204 from Hyde to Piccadilly Gardens will soon be 2011.1824.

With services that only run on certain days in the daytime, our fellows at MCT Travel might need a bigger indicator display. Their Sunday and Bank Holiday 355 route will be renumbered as 3432.0818007. This means it is a branch of the 343 route, soon to be renumbered 343.0619. The 0818 refers to the hours of operation with an extra ‘0’ and a ’07’ to denote Sundays and Bank Holidays only.

Some routes might have two sets of numbers, particularly the 396 which has part route journeys on Sundays and Bank Holidays and evenings. The full route to Newton Heath will be renumbered as 4091.0619, depicting its status as a trunk feeder with the 409 route. Between Ashton-under-Lyne and Limehurst Farm, the part route journeys will be renumbered as 40911.182407.

It is said that the proposed changes will make for a more logical and passenger friendly network. Some commentators say it might boost patronage on secondary routes over certain sections which are shared with trunk routes. “Between Ashton and Droylsden, passengers would associate the 217 better with the 216 if it is renumbered as 2162,” said local transport consultant Bel Size.

The proposed changes are set to take effect on the 17 May 2020. If you have any opinions on the changes, you have until 12 midday today to participate in the consultation. Dukinfield-based opinion pollsters Associated Polling and Recording Intelligence Limited (a subsidiary of Favouring Openness and Order Limited) is conducting the survey on behalf of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

Public reaction

Following vox pop interviews in and around the Tameside area, we asked a few people for their opinions on the changes. Horace Studbuckle, Stalybridge North Local Election Candidate for The Brexit Party said, “I don’t know if this is enough to save the 387 from being axed. This is the only bus which takes me from the Ridge Hill Club to Bower Fold.”

Over a pint in Ashton Tap House, local transport enthusiast Sebastian Valerian was amazed. He said, “Though logical, this is the first set of changes that are designed to confuse MENSA types. Whoever devised this numbering system must have written the clues for 3-2-1.”

In Massarella’s Café in the Arcades Shopping Centre, there was one person who was in favour of the numbering scheme. Claire Ferguson, a local Post Office worker said “The 217 should co-exist as a sister route to the 216, so renumbering it to 2162 makes sense.”

Margaret Olthwaite, a regular on the Tuesdays only 357 bus to Holmfirth said “Renumbering the 357 as 3501.1015002 is outrageous! This number alone would cover the windscreen of South Pennine Community Transport’s little buses. I pity the poor Traffic Commissioner, and the lovely Sian for having to stick the number on the front of our bus.”

Professor Amanda Blossom, an ‘A’ Level English lecturer at Clarendon Sixth Form College noticed parallels with Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. She went as far as dubbing the full list of routes as “Potteries Motor Traction Logico-Philosophicus West Didsbury and Chorlton Football Club.”

Your opinions, please…

Is the proposed renumbering system for Tameside the best thing since sliced bread? Would you be happy to catch the 23701.0619 instead of the 236? Feel free to comment.

S.V., 01 April 2020.

4 thoughts on “Revolutionary Renumbering Exercise Aims to Boost Bus Patronage in Tameside

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