Not many timetable changes to bus services to report on at the last GMITA Bus Network and GMPTE Services Committee, as befits the run up to Christmas – no point confusing those passengers who only ever venture out on festive jaunts, be it shopping or works-party related. There are however one or two changes to take note of.
Two new Saturday-only circular services are being introduced by local independent Bu-Val in Rochdale. Service 448 will run via Oldham Road, Kirkholt estate, Castleton and Sudden with an hourly service in each direction around the loop. Service 449 will run via Whitworth Road to Shawclough and return via Falinge Road – there’ll be an hourly service but only in this (anti-clockwise) direction. The operator’s website advertises this as a Saturday Christmas shopping service with a 50p flat fare – whether the offer (and indeed the service) will continue into the New Year we’re not sure, but we’re not aware of any cancellation registered. The new services start on Saturday 27th November.
In the southern half of the county, the Timperley bus network sees yet more alterations. Manchester Community Transport operates two services from Altrincham on behalf of GMPTE. Service 20 currently operates over the infamous Navigation Road level crossing, through Timperley village via Timperley Grange, around Broomwood estate and onwards to Wythenshawe Hospital, whilst the 21 operates out via Hale, Halebarns and Warburton Green before terminating in Timperley village. GMPTE reports service 20 suffers from overloading on Altrincham market days, whilst reliability over the whole route can be poor due to the level crossing. They propose to split this service into two sections: the 20 will be cut back to operate between Altrincham and Timperley Grange only, whilst a new route 25 will operate between Timperley Grange, Timperley village and Wythenshawe Hospital. The 21 would be diverted via Broomwood to maintain a direct service from there to Timperley village, but only at an hourly frequency instead of the 30-minute frequency currently provided by service 20. These changes will take effect from Monday 29th November.
Another route change to improve reliability is happening closer to the city centre in Withington. Stagecoach operate an hourly minibus service 179 between Stockport and Wythenshawe Hospital serving parts of Heaton Mersey, Burnage, Withington, West Didsbury, Northenden and Baguley. Due to parking problems on the hail-and-ride section of route along Old Moat Lane in Withington, the service will operate direct via Whitchurch Avenue and Burton Road instead. There were concerns that this might affect people travelling to the health clinic on Old Moat Lane, but observations by GMPTE officers didn’t show any passengers alighting or departing at that stop. The maximum walk to alternative bus stops will be 300m and the change will take place from Monday 13th December.
[Image credit: “Mercedes minibus, Manchester Community Transport” by Stuart Vallentine on Flickr – used with permission]