Cheshire Bus Service Changes during December 2013 and January 2014

Just because Cheshire East is quieter than this time last year or other places when it comes to bus services does not mean that there is nothing happening all the same. Other distractions have meant that anything that happened during November passed by on me so it’s best that I capture what is happening now and what is to come in the near future.

At the start of the week, Knutsford town service 300 saw some tweaks with a reduction in the number of journeys serving Lilac Avenue. Next Monday sees little alterations to the BakerBus service between Biddulph and Congleton with its occasional forays to and from Macclesfield. The current 99B journeys will be renumbered 99A and there will be two new journeys too: an 08:10 from Biddulph to Cionleton and one at 15:50 going in the opposite direction. In an age when bus services are being lost, this is a good thing to see.

Congleton town bus services are seeing changes on the last Monday before Christmas with the withdrawal of the 76 to Banky Fields and The Westlands; this last runs on the preceding Saturday. Services 90 to Bromley Estate and 91 to Mossley are seeing frequencies reduced to hourly on Saturdays and at certain times during the Monday to Friday portion of a week from the same day (2013-12-23).

In January, we are seeing more changes again, especially from the first Sunday on 2014. Crewe town service 6 is seeing big changes with Arriva only to operate buses between the bus station and Brookhouse Estate. D&G will then offer a longer version of the same route from Shavington to Leighton Hospital to replace the lost Arriva workings from the same date. Existing D&G services 6A and 6E will be replaced by their new service 6 at the same time.

Arriva services 31, 31A, 37, 37A, 37E and 38 also are seeing changes. Service 38 gets off the lightest with only the questionable Monday to Saturday 20:25 journey from Crewe to Sandbach lost and BakerBus have a council contract for a late evening service to make up for this anyway. In its place, there is a 20:20 departure from Crewe to Winsford Industrial Estate as part of a package of bigger changes to the service. Initially, I thought that the 37 was to become a Crewe to Winsford service with any short journeys becoming 37A journeys. However, the sight of journeys starting and ending in Sandbach makes me wonder if those are set to continue all the way to Northwich after the changes. The new timetable will make interesting reading when it becomes available and I hope that no one gets inconvenienced by the upheaval. Thankfully, service 31 still will go the whole way between Crewe and Northwich, albeit without serving Morrisons in Northwich any longer, while the 31A will become a Crewe to Winsford operation.

Other than the above, Macclesfield town service 21 gets a change of route with services from Hurdsfield to Macclesfield going via Hibel Road and Churchill Way from the first Monday in 2014. On the same day BakerBus also takes over Sandbach services SB1, SB2 and SB3 from D&G with only a slight change to the SB1 timetable at the time of the transfer. Speaking of D&G, they are introducing a new Congleton town service 39 that overlaps with High Peak’s service between the town and Macclesfield, in route rather than timings as far as I can see. It operates between the morning and evening peak travel times from Monday to Friday between Congleton and Buglawton and I hope there is no ill effect on the High Peak service caused by its introduction.

The last change pencilled in for January 2014 relates to the Sunday service for the 130 between Macclesfield and Manchester and it is seeing its share of toing and froing. Initially, GHA had lost the contract to D&G and the new timetable was to be a daytime only affair much like the Monday to Saturday operation of Arriva without the early Monday to Friday morning workings. However, GHA then decided to try running the service on a commercial basis and the council is withdrawing D&G’s contract offer. The appearance of the new GHA timetable is yet to be seen but I suspect that the timings could be like those set to be offered by D&G. However, there is one question lurking in my mind: the current GHA contract ends on 2014-01-12 and their new service starts on 2014-01-26 so will be there any 130 service on 2014-01-19 or that just something that needs tidying? All in all, the situation reminds me of what happened when they swooped in on the Macclesfield to Knutsford service 27 and that is going still.

12 thoughts on “Cheshire Bus Service Changes during December 2013 and January 2014

  1. Cheshire East Council sent me a rather illegible copy of the new 130 Sunday timetable. Some journeys from Macclesfield after 18:00 do appear to continue, the Macclesfield-Manchester direction starts at 0900 but I can’t make out any journeys after 1729 from Manchester and can’t tell whether any journeys are short as originally proposed

    High Peak are also amending the route of the 392/393 in Stockport to improve reliability and amending the route of the 39 services, which will no longer serve Byron’s Lane Monday to Friday and they are withdrawing the Saturday service.

    • High Peak now have their changes described on their website. The 392/393 change is from 2014-01-06 and the 39 amendment takes effect on 2014-01-13.

  2. CEC have now sent me an Excel spreadsheet with the info on. It appears the last one was in fact the wrong info. Macclesfield departures are 1000-1700 with no 1300 and then 1800 and 1900 to Wilmslow only. In the opposite direction, services are at 0929,1129,1229,1329,1529,1629,1729 with services starting at Wilmslow at 0925 and 1125 plus a service starting from Colshaw Farm at 1519 to Macclesfield.

    • Losing that 09:00 is a pity (it offered an earlier departure to Manchester for anyone needing one) and it looks as if plenty of pruning has happened elsewhere too. Still, it’s good to know what might be coming so thank you, Carl.

  3. Regarding the 130 service I thought GHA Coaches had applied to make a timetable revision effective from 26/01 meaning that they’ll have to run the existing timetable on 19/01, even if the contract ends the previous Sunday. They probably just didn’t get their timetable revision application submitted in time to change it for the 19/01.

    The 88 service contract was also due to expire in January 2014. I haven’t heard anything about a timetable revision or change of operator so maybe Cheshire East have extended the existing contract?

    • You have a good point about the 130 changeover. There can be no cancellation until the traffic commissioner says so, which is reassuring. As for the 88, let’s hope that continues unscathed by what has been happening in recent times. Service reductions seems to be the way of things these days…

  4. As a minor update, I have received the timetable from GHA and it differs slightly in that the 1229 from Manchester is shown as terminating at Colshaw Farm. Everything else is shown the same as the second timetable from CEC.

    • Thanks for this again, Carl. As yet, there is nothing on the GHA website and I hope that gets sorted soon. Maybe they are waiting for the new registration to be approved.

  5. According to a bus driver Vale Travel are to revise the 27 timetable with the Queensway extensions being withdrawn to improve reliability.

  6. Regarding the 88 service I’ve found out a new contract has been awarded to GHA Coaches/Vale Travel ending in 2019. The number of services will remain the same but the subsidy is now 60% of what it was for the old contract awarded as replacement for the old 288 contract in 2008.

    The 300 Knutsford Town Circular Saturday daytime service returned to being a subsided service last month, it remains operated by D&G Bus who run the weekday daytime commercial service. D&G Bus have also applied to revise the 300 service from May, I’m not sure exactly what changes they are making other than it’s a timetable change and not a route change.

    The Queensway extension has remained on the 27 route for now so I’m not sure if GHA Coaches/Vale Travel are still going ahead with removing that.

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