The Coachmasters cease tendered bus operations

Mini Pointer Dart, The CoachmastersWord 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.

[Image credit: “Coachmasters W475UAG” by jonathon890 on Flickr – used with permission]


About James McCollom

Web geek and public transport user
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18 Responses to The Coachmasters cease tendered bus operations

  1. Shaun says:

    M Travel running the 324 not the 328. There is a confusion on the 324 as the Monday-Saturday evening journeys are listed on the TfGM website and timetable as being run by Stotts, yet Bluebird have also registered a 324 Monday-Saturday service and the Traveline Journey Planner as Bluebird as the Monday-Saturday evening operator.

    Anyway, back on topic. Shame that another operator has gone in a space of three months. Although, they’ve been running coach/school services, they hadn’t been in the public bus operations that long, which makes it more unfortunate. I admired them for giving it a go against First on the 471 route between Rochdale and Heywood, even if the timing for the length of the journey was a bit ambitious (13 mins either way with 2 mins turnaround) and the vehicles not as appealing as the ones on First..

    But I suppose these scenarios are not going to be an unusual occurrence in these financially hard times. I’m sure the last thing that TfGM wanted when they awarded emergency tenders for Bu-Val services back in May that they would have to do it again so soon. Might get to the stage where they’ll award them to the more stable operators (the ranking systems comes into effect soon).

    In terms of the Coachmasters services, I would imagine that Bluebird may step with the 12 and 125 in Middleton, although JPT is another option, particularly with the 12 as they’ve ran it before and it goes near their depot. Would make sense to give the 6 evening service to First given they run the daytime service. 441 would guess at Rossendalebus. 431 is an unknown. TfGM might offer this service as tender, as it covered most of the 432 tendered service, so I would imagine they’ll look to keep it going, even if it’s the eastern half of the route.

    In regards to those emergency contracts handed out at the end of May, it looks like that some of them will undergo changes at the end of the month. 436 will be re-numbered 445 and re-routed along Mellor Street instead of Sandy Lane, which is covered by the 468 (467 will be re-numbered 468 too).

    Also, a few of the Rossendalebus services will pass onto another Lancashire based operator, Tyrer Bus, who run some services in Lancashire and West Yorkshire and used to run in Bolton before breaking away and becoming Maytree Travel. They’ll be running the 434 service and Sunday journeys on services 433, 444, 447, 451 and 458. As a result of gaining the 434, they’ll be running a positioning service numbered 591T between Portsmouth (in between Burnley and Todmorden) and Rochdale via Todmorden, Walsden and Littleborough.Basically, the same route as First’s 589 service (why not number it 589 instead of 591T).

  2. Paul Sidorczuk says:

    Sorry for straying slightly off thread, but did The Coachmasters ever run a bus service from Rochdale-Bury-Bolton-Wigan many tears ago or was this run by a similarly named company?

  3. Tony says:

    I seem to remember this as well. Pretty sure it ran as the 400 at the same time as Bluebus were also running their own 400 service

  4. Paul w says:

    Coachmasters did run a service (can’t rmember the number – was it 456??) designed to occupy buses to/from a number of schools services at Wigan. The buses were exHull deckers, and the service / Coachmasters deckers were then sold to First: The buses were ex KHCT’s Scania’s G801 JRH through to H816 WKH (numbers 801-816). 801 – 805 and 812 – 816 then went to First Manchester Schools at Ince for further use becomeing 6801 etc then to

    Paul w

  5. Shaun says:

    Now you mention, I do remember a 456 service that ran from Rochdale to Wigan via Bury and Bolton, although not sure which way it went between Bolton and Wigan and never saw it running either.

    As for the current services, the suggestion on the JPT Facebook page is that Rossendalebus will be running the 441 and First may be running the 12 and 125.

    • Nicholas Lawley says:

      456 was Rochdale – (471 route) – Bolton – (582 route) – Leigh – (600 route) – Wigan. Living in the Leigh area meant I saw it regularly in the area, plus I used it on a few occasions (particularly during a period of industrial action by First). Ran up to every 20 minutes in between school times, running schooldays only, but also on weekdays during the summer holidays.

  6. Shaun says:

    First Manchester have announced on their website that they’ll be running the 6 evening service from tonight (Thursday). No news yet from TfGM on the other services

  7. Rossendalebus aren’t operating the 441 (or any other replacement service). As far as we’re aware, Stott’s are operating the 441.

  8. Shaun says:

    Stotts are running the 12, according to the JPT Facebook page, while (if true) the surprise operator on the 125 route is Stagecoach Manchester (also from JPT Facebook page).

    • Paul Sidorczuk says:


      When Stagecoach Manchester ran the 181 and 182 buses in the past, that passed through Shaw in two directions, which depot were these buses from ?

      • Shaun says:

        I think it was Hyde Road depot. Closest one to the route and I think the 76 (which also runs to the Oldham area) is operated from that depot too, so that’s where I’d guess at.

      • Roblar says:

        Chadderton depot ran the 76-181/2

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  12. Shaun says:

    They did run some services from Chadderton for a while but then when it closed they switched to Hyde Road.

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