Summertime service changes for Oldham and Saddleworth bus passengers

Within a week of HM Government’s Freedom Day®, it will be business as usual for Oldham and Saddleworth bus users. As with our fellows in Tameside and Glossop, there will be usual summer times on Stagecoach’s routes, and the discontinuation of peak hour duplicates.

With First Greater Manchester’s fiefdom Oldham-centric these days, the loss of peak hour duplicates to allow for social distancing will affect a number of routes.

This will affect the 59, 84, 181, 182, 350, and 409 routes. The 409 will go back to having a seven-minute daytime frequency on weekdays without the peak hour duplicates. Likewise with the 350 route which would retain its four buses an hour between Micklehurst and Ashton-under-Lyne. There is no change to the Saturday daytime timetable, which is still half-hourly along its entire route via Saddleworth.

There are more marked changes to Greenfield’s other principal bus route, the 356. Nexus Move’s supersized Saddleworth Rambler will be see a change of route. Its Diggle section north of The Navigation Hotel at Dobcross will be ditched. This would leave the village at the mercy of FirstGroup’s Huddersfield routes.

Whilst on the subject of TfGM tendered routes, there will be a change of timetable for Little Gem’s 151 route to North Manchester General Hospital. The good thing is it will be retaining its hourly frequency. The only difference is a change of departure time at Ashton-under-Lyne Interchange: this time with buses leaving seventeen minutes past the hour from 0717 to 1817 on weekdays (1717 and 1817 journeys terminating at Newton Heath). On Saturdays, from 0917 to 1617 (and 1717 to Newton Heath).

The rest of the changes affecting Oldham passengers are pretty minor. Stott’s Tours’ 396 route from Ashton-under-Lyne to Chadderton and Middleton will see the retiming of one journey. The 0633 journey will leave five minutes later with the revised departure time of 0638. Two journeys of First Greater Manchester’s 408 route will retimed, with the 1720 and 1820 journeys from Oldham to Rochdale running two minutes earlier (at 1718 and 1818 respectively). Not so minor will be changes to the 425 route to Holts Estate. All weekday and Saturday daytime journeys will be retimed to leave Oldham Bus Station a minute later than that the present timetable.

A single southbound journey on the 81 will be retimed as of the 25 July 2021. This affects the 1841 journey from Oldham Bus Station (Mondays to Saturdays), which will depart from Oldham at 1835. Slightly more than minor changes will be changes to the 83 route’s northbound journeys on weekdays and Saturdays. Firstly, the 1910 journey will be withdrawn, meaning an extra ten minutes wait till the next journey. Secondly, the extra ten minutes wait will be caused by the retiming of the 1915 journey – which will depart at 1920. Furthermore, the 1945 and 2015 journeys will now depart at 1950 and 2020.

Some retiming changes have been made to weekday early evening journeys on the 84 route. Minor timetable changes will also be made to some early evening journeys, plus all Sunday and Bank Holiday journeys on the 149 route.

Summer Timetables

Unlike the Tameside and Glossop area, Stagecoach Manchester’s summer times will have little effect on most of Oldham’s bus passengers. Therefore, the only routes that will adhere to the summer timetables are the 74, 76 and 76A routes via Copster Hill Road, Limeside, Failsworth and Newton Heath. There are no summer timetables in operation with the TfGM tendered 149 and 183 routes.

Where next?

As we said in the Tameside Bus Service Changes bulletin, nothing really out of the ordinary. We also said that what we are about to receive in the summer and autumn months rest upon the outcome of the Tories’ Freedom Day®.

For Oldhamers, there are very few surprises. I suppose that could be seen as reassuring in such fraught times. Unless you live in Diggle where roadworks have meant the diversion of your usual bus and a temporary shuttle service. Is there still a business case for the reopening of the village’s railway station?

S.V., 19 July 2021.

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