Several Sunday services are withdrawn in the north-west of the county by Maytree Travel. We’ve already blogged on the two contracted services in Bury, the 478 to Radcliffe and the 481 to Holcombe Brook which both lose their strange 90-minute frequency evening and Sunday journeys. Added to that list are Sunday commercial services on routes 512 and 513 from Bolton to Bury via Farnworth and Radcliffe, 570 from Bolton to Sutton Estate via Great Lever and Daubhill and 714 from Bolton to Middlebrook via Ladybridge and Lostock. These four Sunday services were only introduced in April 2010 and were carrying 5, 9 and 11 passengers respectively per trip. GMPTE has opted not to replace the services, deeming there to be sufficient alternative services.
Bolton does get a slight fillip through changes to the 500 Bolton Metroshuttle (also operated by Maytree), which is now diverted to serve the Bath Street multi-storey car park and the University of Bolton campus. Unfortunately, the service will be reduced in frequency from every 10 minutes to every 15 minutes to allow additional running time for the diversion.
Rossendalebus makes substantial changes to its network around Bury and Rochdale. Whilst most areas retain a similar level of service to what they had before, cross-Bury routes are split at Bury Interchange into two separate sections in order to aid timekeeping – we’d advise to check route numbers. In addition, an improved service between Bury and Rochdale is provided through new routes 467 and 468, a 20-minute daytime service offering some competition against First’s 30-minute frequency 469. We suspect that Rossendalebus will do well on this route, as they already operate the evening and Sunday service on behalf of GMITA. However, the main 483 route between Bury and Rawtenstall is reduced to every 20 minutes down from every 15 minutes, and no longer operates through to Fairfield Hospital, which may disappoint some senior citizens.
Other highlights include daytime service 481 from Bury to Holcombe Brook being extended through to Ramsbottom, and service 273 from Bolton to Rawtenstall being extended through to Burnley. The latter change provides the latest excursion opportunities for Boltonians: between November 2009 and July 2010, service 273 worked through to Todmorden! There are some casualties however. The 434 from Rochdale to Castleton via Turf Hill suffered a drop in patronage during bridgework diversions – we understand that another operator may run the service under contract to GMITA, although Coachmasters are introducing an extended service 431 which will partially replace the route through Kirkholt and Castleton. Travel Master (we don’t think there’s any relation!) may lose out on tendered service 479 between Bury and Limefield Brow, as Rossendalebus are introducing a commercial service: we await confirmation as to what will pan out on this route. Meanwhile, the 442 from Rochdale to Marland is withdrawn without replacement. Full details of the new timetables are available on the Rossendalebus website.
Contract changes take place on a number of routes run on behalf of GMITA. Service 597 serving Leigh Sports Village moves to Maytree Travel from First, and is extended to run through to Leigh Infirmary. The remainder of the orbital route X5 from Stockport to Sale moves from Stagecoach to Bluebird with a couple of extra peak-time journeys added, whilst Stagecoach also loses the evening service on route 374 from Stockport to Hazel Grove to M Travel, along with the last departure on service 378 from Stockport to Grove Lane. The lone round-trip on service 306 (Mondays and Wednesdays only) between Rowarth and Marple operated by Checkmate is withdrawn in order to allow service 304, operated with the same vehicle, to be re-rerouted to serve Romiley and Woodley on its way between Marple and Hyde. GMPTE reports an average of less than one passenger journey on service 306.
Stagecoach has minor alterations on a handful of routes, but changes to the starting point of early morning journeys on services 46, 86, 101 and 104 look to be the first sign of the move from Princess Road depot to a new depot in the Northenden area. Extra late night journeys are introduced on the 216 to Ashton at the expense of some journeys on the 82 to Oldham. Full details are available on the Stagecoach website. First make minor reliability tweaks to some services, and also withdraw their elusive 573 service – which is essentially a staff shuttle bus to and from the Bolton depot! Full details are available on the First website. Arriva will revise service 19 from Altrincham to the Airport via Sale, withdrawing some evening journeys and reducing the Saturday daytime service from every 15 minutes down to every 20 minutes.
Bluebird revises a number of its services heading north-east from Manchester city centre: the 72 to Chadderton via Newton Heath will be half-hourly rather than every 20 minutes; the 77 circular will be truncated to Moston via Newton Heath every 20 minutes, with only an hourly service continuing to Manchester via Collyhurst, but a new hourly X75 will operate direct via Oldham Road; and most journeys on the 188 will be cut back to terminate at Central Park, with only a couple of journeys to/from the depot continuing to New Moston. Perhaps in response to this last change, JPT are proposing to add extra journeys on the 118 to North Manchester General Hospital (NMGH) via Moston, though we don’t know the full details of this change yet. Other Bluebird changes to contracted routes include the 115 and 116 Middleton to NMGH no longer operating via Rhodes, and some journeys withdrawn on the 151 Chadderton to Cheetham Hill via NMGH and… well, seemingly everywhere if you look at the route map!
Last but not least, it seems that the December route change we reported on service 179 between Stockport and Wythenshawe Hospital did not go ahead – apparently a committee member raised concern that the reported problems with on-street parking along Old Moat Lane “were not accurate”. Instead, it appears that the service will now operate non-stop via Princess Parkway, not calling at Yew Tree Lane or Northenden Britannia Hotel bus stops.
[Image credit: “Maytree Travel MX59 AVU” by Ingy the Wingy on Flickr]