Word reaches us via several sources that Heywood-based independent bus operator [The] Coachmasters have ceased operating tendered bus services this morning (Monday 8th August). This makes the second bus operator in the Rochdale area to give up contracts (one way or another) in a matter of months following on from the closure of Bu-Val in May. The company operated a number of services on contract to TfGM in the Rochdale and Middleton areas.
There remains some questions as to whether the recently-introduced commercial service 471 between Rochdale and Heywood will continue, in competition with First. And with us being in the middle of the summer holidays, there’s currently no rush to find out whether school services will be affected too. We do know however that TfGM is seeking replacement operators for the following services:
- 6 Rochdale – Kirkholt (evening service, TfGM contract)
- 12 Middleton – Moorclose (daytime service, TfGM contract)
- 125 Middleton – Birch (daytime service, TfGM contract)
- 431 Belfield – Rochdale – Castleton (daytime service, commercial)
- 441 Rochdale – Syke (daytime service, TfGM contract)
The emergency contracts are expected to begin on Wednesday, or earlier if possible, and we’ll update this post when we find out the details.
Update 25th August: First are running evening journeys on service 6 to complement their daytime operations. The 12 is being run by Stotts along with (we understand) the 431 and the 441. Surprise operator for the 125 in Middleton is Stagecoach – they’ll be running the service from their Ashton depot.
Coachmasters recently lost the contract to operate evening services on service 346 between Ashton and Gee Cross – in fact, First won this and a couple of other contracts which began on 24th July 2011: Monday to Saturday evening journeys on 328 Reddish – Stockport – Bridge Hall from Stagecoach; 353/354 Ashton – Delph/Denshaw from Stotts; and the 386 Stockport – Greave from Arriva. Stotts also lost out on the 364 Offerton – Stockport – Heaton Moor, which is now operated by Stagecoach, whilst Sunday evening journeys on the 328 are now operated by M Travel.
- See also: Tameside Service Changes, 24 July 2011 at East of the M60
[Image credit: “Coachmasters W475UAG” by jonathon890 on Flickr – used with permission]