On the contract front, JPT expand their portfolio of Sunday bus services run under contract to GMPTE by taking over the 217/218 Manchester to Mossley circular services on Sunday daytime from Stagecoach. They will also operate Sunday services on both the 245 Altrincham to Flixton and 370 Altrincham to Stockport routes which were previously operated by Arriva. Meanwhile, Finglands now operate contracted evening services on the 312 Stockport to Handforth Dean (formerly operated by M Travel) to add to the evening services on route 157 (all-stops X57) Manchester to Woodford gained from Stagecoach in July and the evening and Sunday journeys on route 16 Manchester to Altrincham that were taken over from Arriva in August.
In the Wigan area, relative newcomer Strawberry takes over contracts on Monday to Saturday daytime services 603 Ashton Heath to Newton Community Hospital and 607 Wigan to Ashton Heath. They also take over operation of Lancashire County Council contract for route 206 Wigan to Wrightington Hospital, which operates on Tuesdays and Fridays only. At the same time, their largely commercial service Line 1 is cut back to operate between St. Helens and Skelmersdale only, at an improved frequency.
Speedwellvalue start evening and Sunday journeys on their existing S48 Ashton to Carrbrook service, and also introduce a new route on Sunday daytimes – the S49 Ashton to Oldham in competition with First’s 409 which continues to Rochdale. The new route operates at a 20 minute frequency, with the operator’s website announcing their intention to launch a 7-days-a-week service in 2011.
Other timetable tweaks see Stagecoach dealing with overcrowding on peak hour X57 Woodford to Manchester journeys by extending two journeys on the peak-hour 145 Burnage to Manchester service to operate from Cheadle Hulme – unusual territory for Magic Bus vehicles. There are a couple of additional evening journeys on services X50 Trafford Centre to Manchester and X69 Airport to Stockport which we suspect would have previously operated as out of service workings – but three late Sunday evening journeys on the 313 Stockport to Grove Lane are withdrawn following withdrawal of support from GMPTE. Other minor revisions take place on services 76, 105, 168, 384, 391 and X57.
First withdraw route 7 Rochdale to Kirkholt circular and replace it with an improved service 6 which runs in the opposite direction around the estate. There are also timetable alterations to services 82, 83 and 590 along with minor rerouting of services 181/182 in Rochdale related to Metrolink construction work and a revised termini in Manchester city centre for evening departures on X84. With the cessation of roadworks in Rawtenstall town centre, Rossendalebus revert to their normal timetable on service 464 Rochdale to Accrington, with minor changes to services 468/469, 482/483 and 484.
[Image credit: “Bus stopping” by hugvok on Flickr]