Bussing back to school the Oldham and Saddleworth way
For Oldham and Saddleworth bus users, there are very few changes of note. Besides three Stagecoach Manchester routes, there is welcome news for nocturnal ‘9 bus passengers.
As we stated in our Tameside and Glossop bulletin, the 409‘s later Monday to Saturday journeys have been reintroduced. Therefore, the last bus from Rochdale to Ashton-under-Lyne will be back to leaving at 2325. Half an hour later, the last bus to Oldham will depart at 2355. To Rochdale, that will be the 2327 journey (which becomes the return 2355). Therefore, the last bus to Ashton-under-Lyne will leave at 2350.
There will also be minor retiming changes on the 350, First Greater Manchester’s less direct yet scenic way from Ashton to Oldham. This will affect the route’s weekday and Saturday daytime journeys between Ashton-under-Lyne and Oldham via most parts of Saddleworth.
The 350 is only one of four Saddleworth routes that will see changes this autumn. What’s left of the once frequent 180 route (now a piddling Oldham to Greenfield shuttle with a derisory frequency) has had a slight retiming change. Its 0725 weekday journey from The Clarence Hotel will depart at 0720.
There is also a few welcome improvements on the 84 and 184 routes. The 84 from Manchester to Oldham and Uppermill will see additional journeys on weekday and Saturday evenings. From Uppermill, the last bus to Manchester will leave The Commercial Hotel at 2321 (2344 from Oldham town centre). In the reverse direction, the last Oldham to Uppermill bus will leave at 2321. This is followed by a later 2351 journey to Grotton. From Piccadilly Gardens, the last bus to Oldham on the 84 will leave at 0020.
To make things easier, all Sunday and Bank Holiday 84s will terminate at Uppermill. Recently, Sunday and Bank Holiday 84s have been extended to Huddersfield. Instead, the 184 will revert to being an Oldham to Huddersfield route for seven days a week. Sunday and Bank Holiday journeys will be roughly two hours leaving Oldham at five past odd hours (0705, 0905, 1105, 1305 and 1705). In the opposite direction, twenty-seven minutes to the odd hour (0833, 1033, 1233, 1433, 1633, and 1833). There will also be additional journeys to Grotton (1005, 1205, 1405, 1605, and 1805) with buses back to Oldham at 1027, 1227, 1427, and 1627).
Further changes to the 184 route will see enhancements to its Monday to Saturday evening service. The last Oldham to Huddersfield bus will leave at 1803 on weekdays. Its Saturday stablemate, the 1810 journey will terminate at Grotton. After 7pm, Oldham to Grotton journeys will depart at 1910, 2010, 2110 and 2310. The 2110 journey will continue to Marsden (with advertised connections to Huddersfield). On its way back, the last buses from Huddersfield to Oldham will depart at 1835 (Saturdays) and 1935 (weekdays). The 2043 journey will run from Grotton to Oldham with the 2211 journey being a departure from Marsden.
As well as the 350, a few more First Greater Manchester routes will see retiming changes. These include the 408‘s daytime journeys (being a tendered route, this was by request of Transport for Greater Manchester). Also weekday journeys on the 81, 181 and 182 routes (thanks in no small part to the traffic on Broadway). The 181/182 routes will see the loss of its 0457 journey from Piccadilly Gardens to Shaw [Wren’s Nest].
If you catch the 83 from Sholver to Oldham and Manchester, changes have been made to its Monday to Saturday evening journeys. Additional journeys have been added with the last bus from Sholver to Manchester leaving at 2312 (2331 from Oldham). From Oldham to Sholver, the last bus will depart at 2336. From Piccadilly Gardens, your last 83 will depart at 0005.
Unlike the Tameside and Glossop area, Stagecoach Manchester’s winter times will have little effect on most of Oldham’s bus passengers. Therefore, the only routes that will revert to the winter timetables are the 74, 76 and 76A routes via Copster Hill Road, Limeside, Failsworth and Newton Heath.
Some interesting bus service changes. The changes to the 84 and 184 routes are the most surprising ones. Especially with the 184 getting its first evening journeys to Marsden – something that previous incarnations of the 184 never had at all. Something that was never available under Metro West Yorkshire PTE nor its predecessors.
On the other hand, the 84/184 changes could be the start of closer ties between First Greater Manchester and what was once the First Huddersfield constituent of First West Yorkshire. Some ties with Yorkshire have been strengthened with the customer service department being done from Leeds instead of Oldham. Perhaps the flip side of coin could see Wallshaw Street as a satellite of its West Yorkshire operations.
Apart from that, there was few surprises: retimings due to the schools coming back and Broadway being busy on any day that ends with ‘y’. Perhaps this is a lull before October’s changes which could be more far reaching.
S.V., 02 September 2021.