East of the M60 looks at North Western’s new 305 route, set to begin operation soon
Stagecoach didn’t renege on its decision to change its 205 route. As of next week, its terminus will revert to being at Dane Bank, after a brief spell of terminating its Piccadilly Gardens route at Crown Point. You could be forgiven for thinking that Denton’s West End would be cut off from its own town centre. This would have ended the story and got the good people of Dane Bank changing at Debdale Park just to get to their own town centre for the first time since 1984.
Almost a fortnight ago, we found that a knight in shining armour came to rescue its passengers from the perils of finicky connections. From Tuesday [01 September], North Western will be launching a new route from Dane Bank to Denton – via Town Lane and Linden Road. The third version of North Western is a nod to the second version (spun off from Ribble Motor Services) and is a trading style of GB Coaches, Audenshaw.
The new 305 route will cover Dane Bank from Windsor Road, Windmill Lane, Thornley Road South and Anson Road, before joining Manchester Road via Ash Road and Balmoral Drive. After passing Denton Island, it will turn right onto Oldham Street, calling at the Sainsburys superstore. Then it would continue to Morrisons via Hyde Road through Crown Point, Saxon Street, and Stockport Road. Nineteen minutes is allowed for the journey time between the two supermarkets from Dane Bank.
The route’s terminus is Denton’s branch of Morrisons off Hyde Road. On weekdays, buses leave at 0730, then 0831 and at half past the hour from 0930 to 1430. Its last three journeys will leave at 1531, 1631 and 1731. On Saturdays, half past the hour from 0830 to 1730. There is no Sunday and Bank Holiday service. On Schooldays, the 0730 and 1430 journeys will skip one stop at Sainsburys and call at Denton Community College instead.
- Denton, Morrisons;
- Acre Street;
- Ruskin Avenue;
- Town Lane;
- Linden Road;
- Denton, Morrisons;
- Denton, Sainsburys;
- Dane Bank, Windmill Lane;
- Denton, Sainsburys;
- Denton, Morrisons.
Between Town Lane and Linden Road, North Western’s 305 will make for two buses per hour, when you add Stott’s Tours’ 335 route. Hence this composite timetable:
- Ruskin Avenue: 37 (305) and 44 (335);
- St. Lawrence Road: 42 (305) and 49 (335);
- Linden Road: 46 (305) and 53 (335).
With a GetMeThere pass, the 305 would provide useful connections between Dane Bank and Ashton-under-Lyne, via Crown Point (plenty of 347s) or Town Lane (for Stott’s Tours’ 335). As far as we know, North Western’s 305 is a commercial route, which means it wouldn’t cost the taxpayer a bean. The 305 is only one of two routes to be launched this week by GB Coaches’ new trading style; the other is a new version of Stagecoach’s 236 route.
Between Ruskin Avenue and Linden Road, the 305 being seven minutes ahead of Stott’s TfGM contracted route could have long term implications for the 335. This is where rescheduling the 305s to run at fourteen minutes past the hour at Ruskin Avenue could create a proper half hourly service with Stott’s 335s at sixteen minutes to the hour. If the two routes are seven minutes apart (or 53 minutes apart at worst) for at least a year, how long could it be before the 305 becomes part of the 335 route?
One useful part of the 305 route is its Schooldays Only variation, where two journeys serve Denton Community College instead of Sainsburys.
Will it take off?
The service is worth supporting, not only for its fast route to Sainsburys and Morrisons, where it fills the gap left by the 205’s curtailment. For Dane Bank residents, it offers the unique selling point of a direct route to Town Lane and Linden Road. Which is handy for pupils attending Greswell School, St. Thomas More RC College and Linden Road Academy.
Apart from punctuality and reliability (bus priority measures are desperately needed at Denton Island), the cleanliness of the fleet will be a deciding factor. It would need that special something to maintain customer loyalty; losing that could see Dane Bank passengers coping with a change at Debdale Park for a 201 and sticking with their Megariders. At worst they could drive.
You can support the route by purchasing a GetMeThere or System One pass which covers all Greater Manchester bus operators from Arriva to Warrington’s Own Buses. As always, concessionary passes are accepted, many of which are subject to peak hour restrictions.
North Western’s 305 route will begin operation on the 01 September 2020. For further information, you can contact GB Coaches in writing via The Coach House, 110 Denton Road, Audenshaw, M34 5BD. You can also telephone them on 0161 320 0353. You can also visit the Your North Western Facebook page and give them a ‘like’ for the latest service updates.
S.V., 27 August 2020.