Arriva’s belated service changes occur this weekend, from 29th April 2011. It’s presumed that this is to coincide with the closure of the Manchester depot (which we commented on in January) with the transfer of vehicles and staff to Wythenshawe and Bolton depots. If anything, it looks like the routes headed for Bolton depot are improving, whilst there are a few niggling cuts on those to be operated by Wythenshawe. Read on for a closer look.
Getting some improvements to the timetable is service 10 between Manchester, Eccles and Brookhouse – speculated to be operated from Bolton depot. The daily evening service is increased from hourly (only as far as Eccles) to every 30 minutes (extended to Peel Green), with the additional journeys operated on a commercial basis. Some of the early morning journeys are retimed as well – but the overall effect seems positive.
Things aren’t quite so good south side, where Wythenshawe depot are generally lopping off one or two journeys to make it easier to operate. Some are reasonable enough: the 0550 service 16 from Manchester to Altrincham is withdrawn, as the starting point is no longer round the corner from the depot, and the 1815 from Altrincham only operates as far as Chorlton. To balance this out however, the 1815 now works through to Altrincham from Sale, and there’s an additional 16 departure to Sale from Manchester at 1845.
Service 264 gets the chop completely: for those not familiar, these are three Monday to Friday peak-hour extra journeys serving commuters to/from Manchester Shudehill Interchange as opposed to the more frequent 263 service from Altrincham to Piccadilly Gardens. There don’t appear to be any additional journeys on the 263, so this looks like a saving of at least two buses from the overall peak requirement.
It’s the change to service 130 (Manchester to Macclesfield) which looks like being the most unsatisfactory. The last departure from Manchester on weekdays is the 1804, which currently operates as far as Alderley Edge. Following the change, this will be cut back to terminate at Cheadle, no longer serving Handforth, Wilmslow or Alderley Edge. Bizarrely, the later 1818 on Saturdays *does* continue at least as far as Wilmslow. Looks like commuters will be better off on the train. The 1740 from Macclesfield is also truncated at East Didsbury, but the 1810 will continue through to Manchester.