The single-deck Magic Buses are elusive creatures that currently only appear on the 46 and 47 circular services that operate via Withington and Chorlton. They’ll have to find another route on which to ply their trade, as from 1st May 2011 these long-standing routes that can trace their origin back to the tramways are withdrawn as one of the headline service changes of the Stagecoach Manchester network revision of the same date.
In order to retain some of the direct journey opportunities between Chorlton and parts of Withington that would otherwise be lost, two routes are fused together at Southern Cemetery: daytime journeys on the 84 from Manchester via Trafford Bar and Chorlton are extended through West Didsbury, East Didsbury and Heaton Moor to Reddish, effectively replacing those daytime journeys on service 42A which currently terminate at Southern Cemetery. Other Chorlton changes involve the truncation of journeys on route 86 which extended from Arrowfield Road, and minor retimings on the 85 and 86. The 168 to Ashton is extended from Chorlton Bus Station to operate to and from Hardy Lane, whilst at the other end both this route and sister 169 will be diverted via Oldham Road on inbound journeys to Ashton to aid reliability.
Also in Tameside, daytime service 204 between Manchester and Hyde is withdrawn and replaced by a half-hourly service 206 between Manchester and Gee Cross. This will mean fewer buses serving Haughton Green: Stagecoach promise new vehicles on service 347 to Ashton, but a reduction in Sunday evening frequency to hourly with an earlier last bus. There will also be new buses for a more frequent daytime service 346 between Ashton and Hyde, although the section of route between Hyde and Gee Cross is transferred to the rival First journeys. The 206 also provides a partial replacement for the withdrawn hourly journeys on service 389 between Ashton and Gee Cross operated by Stagecoach: the half-hourly First journeys to Hyde are unaffected. The new 206 will also double the frequency of daytime services along Gorton Lane, with a bus every 15 minutes combined with retimed service 205.
Service 7 between Ashton and Stockport is reduced in frequency to every half hour to help reliability and provide a more even headway between Gorton and Droylsden. Other changes in Tameside see some peak-hour journeys on service 220 and 221 between Manchester, Stalybridge and Dukinfield withdrawn; services 236 and 237 no longer calling at Stalybridge Bus Station; service 317 between Ashton and Offerton is cut back to operate to Stockport only, with service 375 to Mellor being diverted to serve Offerton; and the Metrolink construction diversion via Every Street in Ancoats becomes permanent for services 216 and 231 – short Sunday daytime journeys to Smallshaw on the latter extended three stops further up Broadoak Road to Oakfold Avenue. Check out East of the M60’s take on how the changes will impact on Tameside for a more local perspective.
Peak-hour route 258 to Flixton is renumbered X58 to reflect its express nature between the M60 and Manchester city centre. The 50 and 197 routes towards Burnage will now operate to/from Albert Square in the city centre, presumably affected by the construction work in Spring Gardens. Meanwhile, the 179 finally gets the go-ahead to skip the stop in Northenden, and is also diverted via Burton Road instead of Elizabeth Slinger Way near Withington Hospital. Other routes with minor timetable changes include the 15, 41, 76, 201, 216, 255, 256, 307, 308, 309, 310, 312, 378 and X57.
Stagecoach are also affected by the latest round of TfGM contract awards. Megarider season tickets will no longer be valid on the 197 on Sundays between Manchester and Stockport via Burnage, as this will now be operated by Finglands. They will now be valid on Sundays and in the evenings on route 15 between Manchester and Flixton, where Stagecoach have won the contract from Arriva. See our separate post for the full list of contract changes.
[Image credit: “2011 Spring Transport Festival 05” by Mark Branson on Flickr]