Autumn bus service changes 2011, part 2

SLT bus on route 126 to Trafford CentreA little later than scheduled, part two looking at bus service changes taking place in Greater Manchester in November 2011. Up for consideration this time: tenders to replace emergency tenders in Rochdale; changes of operator in south Manchester; more frequency improvements on a Lancashire route; plus we say hello to a Saturday shopping service in Bolton, but goodbye to a couple of work services.

Following on from the end of The Coachmasters operating tendered services in August, TfGM has arranged some more permanent operators for tendered services from today, 7th November. Tyrer Bus take over evening operations on service 6 to Kirkholt from First, who themselves assume operation of Middleton services 12 and 125 from Stotts and Stagecoach respectively. Rossendalebus take over service 431 and 441 in Rochdale, although the routes are revised to operate to Belfield and Foxholes only, operated by a single vehicle. And later this month, from 21st November, Bluebird replace Haytons Travel on services 44, 194 and 196 in south Manchester: quite a reduction for Haytons but seeing Bluebird stretch their wings into the southern half roof the county.

In a delayed coda to the increased frequency on Transdev‘s Witch Way and Starship services at the end of last month, as of this week sister company Lancashire United’s 225 service between Bolton and Blackburn sees its Monday to Saturday daytime frequency increased from half-hourly to every 20 minutes. Nominally this service continues on towards Whalley and Clitheroe, but with the new timetable the route is effectively split into two separate parts running at different frequencies, with fewer through-journeys but connections available in Blackburn.

South Lancs Travel introduced a new hourly Saturday-only service X61 from Blackrod, Horwich and Westhoughton to the Trafford Centre, which should prove useful for Christmas shoppers. The company already operates bus services to the shopping centre from Bolton, Wigan and Leigh, so this latest service complements those routes. Will it last beyond Christmas? We will wait and see: the old adage “use it or lose it” applies. SLT was recently bought out by the north Midlands bus company D&G Bus and serial bus entrepreneur Julian Peddle. We understand that SLT will also have a closer working relationship with St. Helens-based Strawberry, but we await confirmation over just what form that will take – shared depot facilities and a possible route swap are rumoured.

Meanwhile, here’s a bus service you won’t be able to count on any longer: the special bus for census data counters introduced by Stagecoach in February, service 251 from Manchester to Trafford Park, is withdrawn from 27th November: presumably not enough passengers to remain commercially viable now that the census is done and dusted with. The rather erratic X1 service, operated by Manchester Community Transport and based on Heywood Distribution Park, is also replaced from 24th November, subsumed into the Heywood Local Link demand responsive scheme.

[Image credit: “South Lancs Travel/Green Triangle Buses, Scania N230UD4 Optare Olympus (D10 SLT)” by Buses in West Yorkshire on Flickr]

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About James McCollom

Web geek and public transport user
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7 Responses to Autumn bus service changes 2011, part 2

  1. Shaun says:

    Interesting to read that there is a closer relationship between SLT and Strawberry, as Strawberry seem to be withdrawing all of their Greater Manchester operations with SLT taking over them. Timetable changes on VOSA (28th October) for SLT’s 516/517, 584 and 664/674 along with new registrations for the 603 and 607, scheduled for 11 December 2011, while Strawberry cancel all theirs. As for the X61, it has the potential to work. They’ve built up a little network of Trafford Centre services in the north-west of Greater Manchester (126 to Leigh, 132 to Wigan, 300 to Bolton), it gives Horwich a direct link to the Trafford Centre (something they haven’t had since the days of Blue Bus) just in time for Christmas. plus it allows people in Blackrod to travel to Middlebrook during the day, a link they’ve been petitioning for since the 615 was withdrawn.

    As for Transdev, another boost for cross-county travel, with another increase in frequency and also make sense to have the 1 in Blackburn running a combined timetable with services 225 and X41 towards Darwen or Accrington. Although, it might be interesting to see if how many people who travel across town in Blackburn will be inconvenienced by being forced to change buses.

    • James McCollom says:

      Mr. Peddle now has an interest in three bus companies that operate into Greater Manchester: South Lancs Travel (Wigan and Bolton), Centrebus (Halifax to Rochdale route) and Bowers (around the High Peak – which begs the question, what news of “High Peak” busco?).

      • Shaun says:

        A good question. Nothing seems to have happened since they proposed the merger back in the Spring. They suggested Summer/Autumn 2011 would be the time the company would start, which would give it a month or so. Chances are that if it does happen, it will be next year

    • Shaun says:

      and proposals to change the 576 (re-route via 575 route between Blackrod and Wigan) and some of Salford’s services at the end of January 2012.

      *Service 69 between Stretford and Pendleton and service 72 between Pendleton and Swinton would be merged into new service 79
      *Services 55, 64 and 65 would be withdrawn
      *Service 70 Monday-Saturday would be re-numbered 66 and re-routed via Moorside, Worsley, Westwood Park and Winton between Swinton and Eccles (partly replacing services 64/65 and restoring a link between Moorside and Worsley lost when service 35 was withdrawn) and via Ellesmere Park between Salford Royal Hospital and Eccles replacing services 55 and 69.

  2. Pingback: Haytons Coaches sold to Selwyns | Manchester Transport

  3. Rob says:

    Looks like the end of a short road for the X61. News of its cancellation was posted on VOSA yesterday, from 29/1/12

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