Back to school for September bus timetable changes

Yellow school busIt’s back to school for Greater Manchester’s bus operators, as the summer holidays come to an end and the peak-hour picks up once more. As usual, many timetables are changing a teensy-weensy bit here and there to aid reliability – so check your timetable, especially if operated by First, Stagecoach, Rossendalebus, Maytree, Go Goodwins, South Lancs or Network Warrington. A full list of service changes is available on the TfGM website, but here are some of the more notable changes.

TfGM’s tendered “industrial” services to and from Trafford Park are re-organised, with some routes cut and others revised. An increased frequency on service 291 from Manchester city centre, running every 20 minutes during the peak hour and operated by Bluebird, comes at the price of the withdrawal of some less frequent services from other areas: the 241 and 243 from Partington, the 290 and 291 extension to Flixton. TfGM is advertising the connection possibilities at Trafford Bar but this will require use of an “any bus” ticket. Meanwhile, the 294 from Langley will now be operated by M Travel instead of JPT; and for those travelling to Agecroft Enterprise Park near Eccles, Arriva will be operating some additional journeys on circular services 74 and 75 calling there.

Changes of operator due to TfGM tendering are afoot too. Daytime service 99 between Manchester and Sale moves from Arriva to Finglands, only a few months after Stagecoach took over the Sunday journeys. Over in Tameside, First continue their run of successes in tendering, this time taking over Sunday journeys on service 168 between Ashton and Chorlton, as well as evening journeys on the 205 between Manchester and Dane Bank – Stagecoach losing out in both instances. And over in Rochdale, a new entrant to the area takes over operation of some of the local route contracts that have flitted between Rossendalebus and sadly departed Bu-valTyrer Bus will operate the 433 and 434 to Castleton all week, along with Sunday journeys to Norden (444), Wallbank (447), fragrant-sounding Peppermint Bridge (451) and Wardle (458). Being based near Todmorden, they’re also introducing a couple of positioning journeys between Todmorden and Rochdale on service 491.

In other route developments, earlier this year Stagecoach North West chopped their X61 service to Blackpool in half to comply with EU bus driver regulations, with the section of route between Manchester and Chorley renumbered X60 but operating as a through service. This changes in September, with the X61 cut back to operate between Chorley and Preston only. Metrolink construction work on Hardy Lane in Chorlton means diversions for the 84 and 168, whilst there are extra evening journeys introduced on Wilmslow Road Magic Bus services 142 and 143. Peak-hour morning service 145 is extended back to Cheadle Hulme – this becoming a seasonal September to Easter service for Cheadle Sixth Form College. Rossendalebus service 476 gets the chop between Bury and Ramsbottom, but is partially replaced by a rerouted service 477, whilst the recently introduced (in the wake of the collapse of Bu-val) service 436 between Rochdale and Cutgate, is replaced by a new service 445 which operates a more direct route into town via Spotland Bridge.

Most of these changes come into effect on the 4th or 5th September, with the exception of Tyrer Bus’ Sunday and bank holiday services in Rochdale which begin on 28th August.

Further reading:Tameside Bus Service Changes 04 September 2011” at East of the M60

[Image credit: “P9189095” by Ingy the Wingy on Flickr]


About James McCollom

Web geek and public transport user
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13 Responses to Back to school for September bus timetable changes

  1. Shaun says:

    The 434 change is a weird one. Not because it’s been given to Tyrer Bus, but the fact that they start running the service from Tuesday (after the bank holiday weekend) but Rossendalebus don’t stop running the service until next Saturday. So, for 5 days, the two companies are running the same service at exactly the same time! Also, the positioning service is 591T not 491 and starts from Portsmouth (north of Todmorden), running dead from their base in Nelson, rather than running dead to Burnley and starting there. No mention of the service on the TfGM website though, although timetable is available from WY Metro.

    Some more ex Bu-Val services have also had a change of operator in addition to the ones in Rochdale, with First taking over the 403/404 Shaw circulars, which means another tender has been won by them.

    Another confusing change is the 291, as TfGM have been saying they’ll change the service into a circular route between Trafford Park and Manchester, which if you look on the Traveline NW Journey Planner, it does. However, on the First website, they say they’ll be running the late evening journeys (around 9-10pm) between Trafford Centre and Manchester that are currently run by Arriva. As for the timetable, according to Traveline, it’ll run every 20 minutes in the morning (5.30-8.30am), a couple of journeys around dinnertime (12-2pm) and then every 30 minutes in the afternoon (4.30-6.30pm) by Bluebird, with one extra morning journey by Go Goodwins between Oxford Road and Trafford Park.

  2. Paul w says:

    RE the positioning service is 591T not 491 and starts from Portsmouth (north of Todmorden), running dead from their base in Nelson, rather than running dead to Burnley and starting there. No mention of the service on the TfGM website though, although timetable is available from WY Metro.

    Is this services using the minibuses out-stationed near Todmorden for the recent gains there??

    • Shaun says:

      The minibuses used in Todmorden and Hebden Bridge belong to Metro and are loaned out to the operator, used to be used by First WY beforehand, so Tyrer will be using their own buses on the Rochdale services.

      There is some confusion as to when the 591T starts running. Metro says that the service has started today (Tuesday 30 August), which would make sense given the 434 also starts today, while TfGM say in the timetable (which has been made available today – 454, 457, 589, 590 timetable) that it will start on 26 September. Also, the Saturday journeys run to/from Castleton via Turf Hill, probably as a more direct version of the 433/434. Possibly via Rochdale Road (58, 181/182 route) to Firgrove then as 433 route to/from Castleton

      As for the 291, Bluebird run the majority of the journey as a circular route between Manchester and Trafford Park, Goodwins run one extra morning journey and First will run the the late evening journeys to/from Trafford Centre that currently run by Arriva. Arriva have also lost another Trafford Park service, with their journey on the 297 being passed on to Go Goodwins.

  3. Rob says:

    What’s happening with Arriva losing tendered routes, and not picking up any new tenders? A few years back, they seemed to be the default operator for tendered services. Are others pricing them out of the market, or are their cost now comparatively high? Are Arriva actively looking to leave the tendered market?

    • Shaun says:

      Arriva have gained some tendered services in the recent times (42A, 84, 138, 510, 519 last year or so, and they stepped in with the 484 earlier this year) but admittedly, they have lost a few. Some were service withdrawls due to budget cuts in Lancashire (535 Sunday service, 563 evening service) but a lot have gone on to other operators (15 (eve/Sun), 16 (eve/Sun), 245 (Sun), 252, 255 (eve), 260-262, 266, 267, 290/291, 297, 370 (Sun), 380, 381 and 386 being the more recent ones). And it looks like more to come, as there are cancellations on VOSA for October for services 13, 20 and 246, which may go to Go Goodwins or Manchester Community Transport, who have been running some of the other tendered services in the Trafford area lately (unless First are continuing their snapping ups of tendered services and are moving into Trafford).

      It’s probably a case of companies like Goodwins and MCT offering a better deal to TfGM to run the services rather than Arriva. With the financial strain being put on tendered services, TfGM will look for a cheaper deal. Does look like some operators are going through a phase of gaining tendered services. Arriva had a few years ago, JPT had it more recently and now it looks like First have taken on that mantle.

  4. Rob says:

    Here’s one for 30th October:

    X50 will be increased to run every 15 mins, and will be re-routed to run down Trafford Wharf Road to serve the Imperial War Museum North, Media City UK, The Lowry Theatre & Lowry Outlet. Buses 250 and X50 will be provide a service to/from the Trafford Centre to Manchester every 7-8 minutes.

  5. Shaun says:

    Sounds good about the X50, more express buses between Trafford Centre and Manchester plus a regular service to Salford Quays attractions. Always thought there should have been a more regular service along Trafford Wharf Road instead of the peak-time Trafford Park services. X50 will certainly be a popular service for tourist attractions: Imperial War Museum, The Lowry, MediaCity, Manchester United FC, Trafford Centre, Chillfactor e and Manchester city centre. Also will be quite useful until the proposed Metrolink line gets the go-ahead

    A couple of other changes: Bluebird are re-routing the 84 service between Woodhouses and Manchester via Brookdale Park and Newton Heath centre before returning onto Oldham Road, while the 188 is being re-routed via Oldham Road instead of Moston and Collyhurst from 15th September. Also, Transdev are changing their 8 service in Lancashire at the end of October. The service currently runs from Burnley to Bacup but some journeys will be extended to Manchester as X8 via Rawtenstall and (possibly via Bury).

    • Shaun says:

      Also, services 581, 582 and 592 will be disrupted from next week (12 September) for around 12 weeks, due to bridge repair work at Atherton train station. As the road will be closed while the work is carried out, 581 and 592 will run from Leigh to Atherton railway station with a shuttle service 581 running from the other side of the bridge to Bolton. The 582 will be re-routed between Over Hulton and Atherton via Litlte Hulton and Tyldesley, which will add around 15-20 minutes on its journey times between Bolton and Leigh. There will also be a reduced Monday-Saturday daytime frequency of every 12 minutes. Details are available on First’s and SLT’s websites.

    • Rob says:

      Yes, the rerouted X50 will be welcome by tourists visiting all the attractions, in addition to the people who work in the area. I hope it proves a success, although I would have personally rerouted the 250 rather than the X50…

  6. Rob says:

    There’s a report on Speedwell Bus’s appearance before the Deputy Traffic Commissioners in Route One Magazine

  7. Tony says:

    Nothing major but I noticed that Stagecoach seem to have taken over the running of the 125 Middleton – Alkrington circular. Not sure what depot they would be running from, but certainly out on a limb for them!

    • Shaun says:

      I believe it is Ashton depot who are running the 125, probably won’t be long term though. Wouldn’t be surprised if another operator steps in at the end of October

  8. Andrew Douglas says:

    New service X61 (Blackrod-Horwich-Westhoughton-Trafford Centre) starts on Saturday 5th November.

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