Important information for pupils and parents
With the schools reopening, albeit in the throes of a pandemic, the need for social distancing on public transport is greater than ever. At present, the most a double decker bus can hold is up to 35 passengers with no standees. In addition to this, parts of the government furlough scheme is winding down to encourage us all to return to working away from home, which could mean the return of the rush hour.
On a certain number of routes, duplicate journeys have been introduced. These cover routes, according to Transport for Greater Manchester’s pre-lockdown passenger data, which had the most passengers going to school or college. Most of the school and college duplicates will run up to five minutes after a journey on a public bus has departed. These may be operated by coaches instead of low floor single or double decker buses.
In Tameside, four operators will be running duplicate journeys along existing bus routes. All four of them have yet to run stage carriage services in the borough. Many of which will be run by Parks of Hamilton, on behalf of Stagecoach Greater Manchester under their Megabus.com licence. They will also accept Stagecoach’s passes. On First routes, like the 348, 350 and 409 in our borough, the usual FirstDay and FirstGroup season tickets will be accepted.
Across all four operators’ routes, all the usual AnyBus Junior or Adult passes will be accepted along with TfGM’s smart cards (Our Pass and iGo) and concessionary passes. To minimise physical contact, you are best buying your ticket online before you board.
Each of the routes use the same number and go the same way as the more regular bus routes do. The main difference is that each duplicate route begins with the letter ‘S’. For example, a route that follows a bog-standard 343 will be numbered S343. The ‘S’ stands for School instead of Stalybridge. Seen below is a list of each route by operator.
APH (on behalf of Stott’s Tours)
S343: Hyde – Dukinfield – Stalybridge – Mossley – Grotton – Waterhead – Oldham
- From Oldham to Mossley and Hyde: 0706 and 1450;
- From Hyde to Mossley and Oldham: 0731 and 1521.
First Greater Manchester
S348: Ashton-under-Lyne – Copley Academy
- From Ashton-under-Lyne to Copley Academy: 0808;
- From Copley Academy to Ashton-under-Lyne: 1500.
S348: Carrbrook Village – Copley Academy
- From Carrbrook Village to Copley Academy: 0755 and 0825;
- From Copley Academy to Carrbrook Village: 1500 and 1530.
S171: Newton Heath – Droylsden [Edge Lane] – West Didsbury
- From Newton Heath to West Didsbury: 0659;
- From West Didsbury to Newton Heath: 1535.
S172: Chorlton-cum-Hardy – Burnage – Droylsden [Edge Lane] – Newton Heath
- From Chorlton-cum-Hardy to Newton Heath: 0704 and 1504.
Parks of Hamilton/Megabus (on behalf of Stagecoach Greater Manchester)
S221: Dukinfield [Tennyson Avenue] – Fairfield – Openshaw – Manchester [Piccadilly Gardens]
- From Tennyson Avenue to Manchester [Piccadilly Gardens]: 0701.
S231: Ashton-under-Lyne – Tameside General Hospital – Hartshead – Littlemoss – Clayton – Manchester City Centre
- From Ashton-under-Lyne Interchange to Manchester [Piccadilly Gardens]: 0722, 0803 and 1453;
- From Tameside General Hospital to Manchester [Piccadilly Gardens]: 0711;
- From Manchester [Piccadilly Gardens] to Ashton-under-Lyne Interchange: 0707, 0727, 0754, 1448 and 1518.
S237: Ashton-under-Lyne – Stalybridge – Mottram-in-Longdendale – Tintwistle – Hadfield – Glossop
- From Ashton-under-Lyne Interchange to Glossop [Henry Street]: 0715.
S346: Ashton-under-Lyne – Dukinfield – Newton – Hyde
- From Hyde Bus Station to Ashton-under-Lyne Interchange: 0800 and 1500.
S389: Ashton-under-Lyne – Ridge Hill – Stalybridge – Dukinfield [Yew Tree Lane] Circular
- From Ashton-under-Lyne Interchange to Dukinfield [Yew Tree Lane]: 0735 and 1420.
A few questions answered
Will this affect the existing School Services?
No, these are in addition to existing School Services, such as the 721 from Audenshaw School or the 841 from All Saints Catholic College.
Can my child use their usual passes on the duplicate routes?
Yes, as they are extra journeys for your usual bus routes.
How long will this run for?
Subject to demand, these extra routes will be in place till the autumn half-term holidays.
Why will there be duplicate services?
The aim is to ensure that social distancing measures are upheld on all bus routes throughout Tameside and the rest of Greater Manchester. As social distancing means fewer seats per bus, duplicate buses are needed.
Is it a bit like the old days when we had a Who’s Who of North West operators on the Blackpool route from Lower Mosley Street?
Yes, only with considerably fewer buses and even fewer passengers. Only that its passengers will be going to school instead of Blackpool.
One more thing…
Stay safe. Please note that hand sanitiser is available for your own use at Ashton-under-Lyne Interchange and Hyde Bus Station. Remember to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds after using the lavatory. Please take heed of the social distancing stickers that are seen on the floors and seats in Ashton-under-Lyne Interchange, plus Stalybridge and Hyde bus stations.
For further information, TfGM’s Do Your Bit While On The Move is a useful article about staying safe on public transport.
S.V., 08 September 2020