Speedwellbus suspends service to Mossley

Hartshead PikeIt was almost two years ago that Martin reported on a new competitive bus service S50 from Speedwellbus that was to run from Manchester along Ashton New Road via Ashton and onwards to Mossley. Things didn’t quite pan out for the full route, but service S50 did operate between Ashton and Mossley in competition with First’s service 350. Now the route has been suspended indefinitely.

An article in this week’s Tameside Advertiser (print only) quotes Speedwell boss Jack Hampson blaming a shortfall of £10,000 per month in concessionary fares due to the revised system that came into effect at the beginning of the month. TfGM noted there should only be a marginal effect as the increased fare paid by passengers should make up for the changes in reimbursement. On the ground it appears that Speedwellbus have stopped running the service with immediate effect, despite the fact that bus operators should normally give six weeks notice of changes to bus services to the Traffic Commissioners.

The suspension of this service follows on from the withdrawal of service S48 to Carrbrook in March and the tentative S49 to Oldham in April, both routes competing with routes operated by First. Meanwhile, Derbyshire County Council are going ahead with their proposal to withdraw funding from service 397 between Glossop and Hyde from October 2011 – we understand that service 239 between Glossop and Ashton will also be subject to alteration from mid-June.

[Image credit: “Hartshead Pike” by Jamie Mellor on Flickr]

About James McCollom

Web geek and public transport user
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25 Responses to Speedwellbus suspends service to Mossley

  1. Tony Edwards says:

    The 239’s not being altered in June, Speedwells abandoning it

    • James McCollom says:

      A new operator would come under “alteration” – I can’t work out if it’s tendered or not, hence my caginess!

  2. Paul Sidorczuk says:

    Will the Traffic Commissioners be notified by another transport body if Speedwellbus flagrantly disregard the 6 week notice requirements and do not notify the Traffic Commissioners themselves.

    There was much comment made in various forums about the sharp fall in the condition of the buses and uncertainty if some of the buses would actually run by Speedwellbus over recent months. Surely there is monitoring of the standards set by bus operators. Speedwellbus’s excuse is just a smokescreen for something very wrong with the company itself.

  3. Shaun says:

    If you go on to the Speedwellvalue website, all you get now is a cartoon man in a hard hat with a toolbelt and a big spanner. If you try click on the S50 timetable link, you get an error message. Go to their Facebook profile page, you get “The page you requested was not found”. So, something is up with Speedwellbus. Their normal website does work though.


    • Felix says:

      Speedwell pulled there Facebook page about 2 weeks ago when complaints got too much for them.
      There was also some comments made by drivers about not being paid on on time so the plug was pulled.

      The ‘Value’ website was pulled on Good Friday.

  4. It not tendered at the moment as Speedwell pulled out of the tender last year, but we are hoping to get the County Council to look at the tender again.

    • Felix says:

      Anthony, why are the powers that be, including yourself, so intent on appealing to DCC to pay Speedwell to continue to run these services. It was the same with the 397. If funding was secured, do you not thing it would be better all around if they were left to a decent operator to run.

      Theres only so many times ‘the bus has broken down’ or ‘the driver had a medical emergency’ tails work. Not to mention the fact they seem intent on using high floor vehicles, even though both services have a lot of elderly users who would benifit more from a modern low floor vehicle.

      • Felix,

        At current I have no idea if it would be Speedwell that would be asked to run the service if the subsidy can be reinstated – what’s been asked is for the issue to be considered, as until Speedwell pulled out of the tender last year – according to DCC it should have run until 2013

  5. Felix says:

    The 239 is part subsidised by GMPTE as far as Mottram, the contract ends at the begining of July, 6 weeks after the date Speedwell have withdrawn it.

    Its not the first time, or even the second that Speedwell have cancelled a service without giving prior notice, just look at the farce with the S48, yet they always seem to get away with it. They get hauled up before the TC for maintiance issues but blatantly pulling a service before the official cancellation date.

  6. mh says:

    I was wondering when “manchester transport” would pick up on this issue. Maybe we will get a statement from Speedwell as to what the score is, seeing as they were heavily supported by readers and writers of this blog when they first started their “value” services. I seem to remember them replying to an article on “manchester buses” a few years ago.

    The way i see it, the reason the derbyshire section of the 239 isn’t tendered is because under Stagecoach operation the route paid for itself, passenger numbers were good and it turned a profit, as they operated it reliably. Under Speedwell operation the service became unreliable, people stopped using it, Speedwell reduced the frequency to counter their losses, more people stopped using it, a snowball effect that has resulted in the 2-3 hour frequency we have now

  7. SH says:

    Maybe if the drivers issued tickets for all passengers they wouldnt be in trouble. I often witnessed drivers getting 50+ fare payers on the S50 yet issueing about 5 tickets.
    No great loss i think.

    • Felix says:

      Ive noticed this on other Speedwell services. Some conncessionary passengers [over 60’s] get tickets, others dont.

      With regards to the 239, i think the one thing thats made the axe fall on this service is the very poor use of high floor vehicles. Had this service been low floor i think it would still be a highly used service, but for many elderly passnegers, why face the hassle of struggling onto a shabby Vario when then they can easily board a 236.

  8. Shaun says:

    Derbyshire County Council have put up notice on their Forthcoming Service Changes that the 239 will be withdrawn completely on the 12th June 2011. So, at the moment no indication from Derbyshire CC that the service will continue in some form, unless TfGM step in with an emergency tender.


    Wonder if it’s possible for TfGM to re-route the 387 via Stayhill Drive (as First have used minibuses on the route) to cover the unique part of the 239 route, as the majority of the route is covered by other services: the 341 cover the route between Mottram and Glossop, 236/237 between Ashton, Mottram and Glossop and 387 between Ashton and Mottram via Tameside Hospital (albeit via Ridge Hill as well). The only link lost would be from Ashton/Stalybridge to Broadbottom/Gamesley, although this can be maintained by changing buses (not ideal for some) at Mottram, Hattersley, Hyde or Glossop.

  9. Felix says:

    As ive already said above, TfGM already provide funding for the 239 as far as Mottram. The funding was only ever temporary and is due to come to end at the end of June, so in effect Speedwell have taken the decision to cut the service themselves.

    There is a small hint that Speedwell may be working on a new Glossop service which could be registered later in the year. Rather ironic given there harsh withdrawal of there Value services.

    Speedwell have also so far refused to comment in local press regarding the withdrawal of the 239, yet the owner was so vocal regarding the end of the S50!

  10. Paul Sidorczuk says:

    With regard to Speedwellbus applying to run any other future services, either commercial or tendered, is there not a certain standard that they have achieved in their past operations , either in reliability of service and in maintenance of their vehicle fleet, that is then considered at times of such application.

  11. Felix says:

    Nope, they have a operators licence so they can register, alter and cancel services as they so choose, as long as they have the ‘o’ licences to run the service.
    As for applying for new tenders for TfGM then again im pretty certain they can put tenders in as they so wish, the only time performance and reliabilty might come into it is if too operators tender a similar price, then the planning officer would investigate to see which operator would do a better job.
    This in my view is something that needs to change. A few years ago an operator pulled off a tendered service with not so much as a word of notice and he still picks up tenders, until operators are penalised for it they will continue doing it.

  12. Shaun says:

    TfGM have listed the S50 being withdrawn (I suppose officially) from 15th June on its Service Changes page, while the 239 is partly replaced by a Local Link service from 12th June.

  13. Paul Sidorczuk says:

    Speedwellbus is to bus travel
    Weedol is to healthy flowers

    I am not sure what they call this type of a comparison in school ( I have forgotten)
    but I am sure that the sentiments expressed ring true!!

  14. Bettered Myself says:

    Public Inquiry (42159) to be held at The Public Inquiry Room, Suite 4, Stone Cross Place, Stone Cross Lane North, Golborne, Warrington, WA3 2SH, on 07 July 2011 commencing at 10:30(Previous Publication:(2592) ) PC1061974 SN SPEEDWELLBUS LTD Director(s): JACK HAMPSON. c/o JOHN G WINTERBOTTOM, RAGLAN STREET , HYDE SK14 2DX, GB
    Operating centre town: HYDE

    North Western Traffic Area, N&P, 24 Jun 2011: Notice of PI to be held
    PSV – S17 – Consideration of disciplinary action under Section 17 (The Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981) PSV – S28 – Consideration of disciplinary action under Section 28 (The Transport Act 1985) PSV – Sch.3 – Consideration of Transport Managers Repute under Schedule 3 (The Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981) PSV – S26 – Consideration of disciplinary action under Section 26 (The Transport Act 1985)


  15. Bettered Myself says:

    Public Inquiry (42159) to be held at Hillcrest House, Hillcrest House, 386 Harehills Lane, Leeds, LS9 6NF, on 18 August 2011 commencing at 10:30(Previous Publication:(2594) ) PC1061974 SN SPEEDWELLBUS LTD Director(s): JACK HAMPSON. c/o JOHN G WINTERBOTTOM, RAGLAN STREET , HYDE SK14 2DX, GB

    Correspondence address postcode: HYDE

    North Western Traffic Area, N&P, 22 Jul 2011: Notice of PI to be held
    PSV – S17 – Consideration of disciplinary action under Section 17 (The Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981) PSV – S28 – Consideration of disciplinary action under Section 28 (The Transport Act 1985) PSV – Sch.3 – Consideration of Transport Managers Repute under Schedule 3 (The Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981) PSV – S26 – Consideration of disciplinary action under Section 26 (The Transport Act 1985)

  16. Pingback: Speedwell fined over suspension of S50 | Manchester Transport blog

  17. Sharon Markum says:

    Thanks for good info 🙂

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