SV and GMT face mask image

Face Masks to be Made Compulsory on Public Transport

Face coverings compulsory from the 15 June in England

If you haven’t already ordered a face mask or face covering like the genius behind East of the M60, now is the time to buy one. Especially so if you make your daily commute on public transport.

In today’s COVID-19 statement from the Houses of Parliament, Transport Minister Grant Shapps stated that all public transport users in England will have to wear a face covering. He also stated that the face covering could also be purchased or made at home. (Some posh folk like this gentleman could go for a custom-made one, manufactured in the UK by Contrado).

Continue reading “Face Masks to be Made Compulsory on Public Transport”

One Hour Hopper Fares: How Greater Manchester Could Benefit

How East of the M60 thinks a Transport for London style One Hour Hopper could work in the Greater Manchester City Region

Dennis Hopper fotografiert von Hartmut S. Bühler vor der Kunsthalle Düsseldorf im Jahr 1988
Could a One Hour Hopper ticket make for an easy ride, one smoother than this gentleman’s in the 1969 movie?
Travelling in and around Greater Manchester by bus can be a patchy experience, with new buses on trunk routes, and pensionable buses away from key routes. As well as commercially-funded projects and the Vantage services along the Leigh Guided Busway, there is little sense of continuity. Apart from multi-operator tickets, the network is fragmented with, for example, First Greater Manchester having a fiefdom in Oldham. Likewise with Stagecoach Manchester dominating South Manchester and Stockport. Continue reading “One Hour Hopper Fares: How Greater Manchester Could Benefit”

Great Olympians of our Time #16: First Manchester’s R622 JUB

A much travelled Volvo Olympian which, by the time you have read this, may have seen all parts of First Manchester territory!

Volvo Olympian, Alexander body, R622 JUB, First Pioneer, Ashton-under-Lyne bus station
R622 JUB seen on the 348 route to Carrbrook at Ashton bus station, October 2011. Notice the Dennis Arrow behind.

For our penultimate Great Olympian of our Time, we have before your very eyes a much travelled one of First Manchester’s vehicles. For once, it doesn’t fit the (seemingly) unofficial criteria in this feature of being a Northern Counties bodied vehicle. R622 JUB is bodied by one of NCME’s successors, Walter Alexander and Son – now Alexander Dennis.

R622 JUB entered service with FirstGroup’s West Yorkshire subsidiary [Yorkshire Rider] in February 1998, and offered a real contrast to their mainly Roe bodied fleet. By 2008, she moved to First Potteries, then First Chester and Wirral the following year.

In 2010, reorganisation saw First Chester and Wirral come under the control of First Manchester. From there, she would be seen in Greater Manchester the following year, on loan. September 2011 saw her on hire to their Dukinfield garage. The following month’s image sees her on the popular 348 route.

Her stay in Tameside was temporary as she moved to Oldham in the new year. Today, she now resides at Bury depot, though there’s every chance she might be in Bolton or Wigan by the time you’ve read this!

S.V., 11 August 2012.

Great Olympians of our Time #14: JPT Travel’s P821 SGP

From Orpington to Shudehill Interchange

JPT Travel, Volvo Olympian, P821 SGP, Shudehill
P821 SGP seen in more recent times on JPT Travel’s 118 route, wearing its third mainly blue livery.

We seem to have exhausted our stock of former London Volvo Olympians. On spotting this fellow outside Shudehill Interchange, I thought this vehicle’s previous owner was Yellow Buses of Bournemouth. Not so. P821 SGP came to JPT’s Joshua Lane garage via the North East.

P821 SGP entered service in Christmas 1996 with Metrobus. Following a transfer to Crawley depot, it wore its first blue and yellow livery in 2003. Apart from a brief stay at Godstone, it was purely a Crawley bus and wore Metrobus’ new two tone blue livery in 2007.

Three years on, it was withdrawn by Metrobus and saw continued service for Go-Ahead North East. During its North Eastern sojourn it wore an all yellow livery for its low cost unit ‘Yellow Bus’. By the end of 2011, its present owners JPT Travel purchased it. Fortunately for then, the all yellow livery meant little modification, with only a coat of blue paint for the skirt and the roof.

Though most of JPT Travel’s fleet comprises of low floor vehicles, a handful of commercially operated routes sometimes see step entrance vehicles.

S.V., 07 August 2012.

Great Olympians of our Time #13: First Manchester’s M406 RVU

From Trafalgar Square to Kitt Green

Volvo Olympian, 348 Ashton - Carrbrook
Snow Joke: the perils of operating the 348 on a slushy January from Ashton bus station.

You wait ages for a First Manchester Volvo Olympian (no change there, then) and two come along at once! Here is a slightly older version of our previous model. It is seen at Ashton bus station laying over prior to embarking on the 348 route. Shortly after this image was taken, the electronic indicator was changed to read ‘Stalybridge’ instead of ‘Carrbrook’. Reason? The amount of snow and slippy running on Huddersfield Road that afternoon.

Over the Yuletide and first fortnight of January 2010, a lot of services were disrupted by the snow in Tameside and Oldham, with Saddleworth and Mossley routes worst affected. That afternoon, I had no problem boarding my usual bus to Ashton, given the superior road conditions along the 346 route and the Optare Solos making light work of them! (My fellow friends who caught the 389 had less joy).

Now for the bus. Our example started out with London Central, being closer to a fictitious Albert Square in 1995, then nearer a non fictitious one in 2009 adjacent to The Wharf Tavern in Stalybridge. She started life in the London Docklands livery. In 2001, she moved to Blue Triangle, then Metrobus the following year. Under her tutelage with Metrobus, she wore a blue and yellow livery.

In April 2003 she was withdrawn and didn’t re-enter service till September 2004. From then on she joined First Manchester where she was based in Bury garage and later moved to First Pioneer’s Dukinfield garage. Her last port of call was Wigan, from where she was withdrawn on June 2011.

S.V., 07 August 2012.

Is This The 409? A Cloud of Nines

Ten 409 routes throughout the UK

Two Volvo B7 double deckers, Ashton-under-Lyne bus station
Other 409s are available besides these two seen above...

Some time ago on East of the M60, we went in search of 9 other 343 bus routes throughout the UK and compared them with the Hyde – Mossley – Oldham one which we know and love. Continue reading “Is This The 409? A Cloud of Nines”

What Would Ralph Bennett Do?

A Mancunian viewpoint on Transport for London’s Routemaster prototype

This morning, I saw on BBCi pictures of the new Routemaster prototype. On initial reaction, I thought it was a quirky little double decker filed under ‘lovely to look at, but will it work?’ I was in two minds as to whether it would be as successful as the first Routemaster built in Southall, or a 21st century equivalent of the Guy Wulfrunian. Continue reading “What Would Ralph Bennett Do?”