Autumn 2015 Bus Service Changes around Cheshire East

After a long quiet spell with no change to bus services in Cheshire, we now have a lot happening throughout August and into the start of September. Some services get minor timetable changes, whatever that might mean. From 2015-08-22, these are  D&G’s services 1A and 1B between Crewe Business Park, Crewe and Bentley Motors  as well as service 78 between Nantwich and Rode Heath. Then, on the week commencing 2015-08-31, it is the turn of Arriva’s service 130 between Macclesfield and Manchester (week commencing 2015-08-31) together with Network Warrington’s services 5, 5E and 35 between Warrington and Altrincham. On the same week, Stagecoach’s service 378 between Wilmslow and Stockport reverts to its normal timetable once the summer school holidays are over.

In Crewe from 2015-08-22, there are a number of changes caused by D&G and GHA ceasing to operate service 9. Suggested alternatives include a new service 7 operated by D&G between Crewe and Elm Drive or services 8 and 8A between Wistaston Green, Crewe, Sydney and Elm Drive. The latter sees Routemaster buses operating its evening journeys and minor change to daytime ones operated by D&G. From 2015-08-24, Routemaster buses are to be operating new services 9 and 9A between Crewe and Wistaston and a new service 20 with three journeys between Crewe, Kingsway and South Cheshire College.

Other changes to bus services around Crewe include the truncation of D&G service 6 to operate between Crewe and Shavington only. Suggested alternatives for getting between Crewe and Leighton Hospital are Arriva’s services 6, 31 and 31A. GHA services 39 and 44 are possibilities for those travelling between Shavington and Nantwich. From 2015-08-24 though, D&G are introducing a new service 12 between Crewe, Coppenhall and Leighton Hospital that goes via Mablins Lane and Parkers Road. The last of the current batch of changes to Crewe bus services starts from 2015-09-06 with First’s service 3 between Crewe and Newcastle or Keele no longer serving Leighton Hospital so the preceding collection of services have been suggested as alternatives.

Encouragingly, GHA are offering extra journeys on services 38 between Macclesfield, Congleton and Crewe, 88 between Knutsford, Wilmslow and Altrincham and 130 between Macclesfield and Manchester from the week commencing 2015-08-31 along with additional early morning and early evening journeys on a new service 27X between Macclesfield and Knutsford that complements the existing services 27, 27A and 27B that they already operate. Service 130 is seeing new early and late Monday to Saturday journeys and something similar is coming to service 38 too so I will be interested to see what is being proposed. Service 88 is getting two extra early evening journeys so they must be doing well with that since they enhanced it over a year ago.

Lastly, 2015-09-06 sees a consolidation of services acquired by D&G from Bakerbus earlier in the year. Service 99 is to be withdrawn with service 94 revised to served Congleton as well as Biddulph and Newcastle. This seems to fit the theme of all the changes with any withdrawals being substituted by new or existing services with new journeys being added to existing services too. The picture is not a discouraging one then and I shall await with interest details of those extra journeys whose times I have yet to know. This entry may be tweaked a little yet.

12 thoughts on “Autumn 2015 Bus Service Changes around Cheshire East

  1. The GHA changes are some common sense ones to avoid running buses around empty to and from their Macclesfield depot.

    The 27X and extra 88 services (between Altrincham and Wilmslow only) will be positional moves to get the buses used on the 88 route to and from the Macclesfield depot at the start and end of the day. Unfortunately, the 27X services won’t help reduce the long gaps between services between Macclesfield and Knutsford in the morning and evening peaks.

    The extra 130 services will apparently be positional moves between Macclesfield and Wilmslow for both the 88 and 200 services. (Although, the extra 130 services aren’t appearing in Journey Planning sites yet.) The changes to the 38 route include a new Crewe to Macclesfield service at 00:35.

    I remember when High Peak operated the 300 service they ran a Solo from Dove Holes to Knutsford out-of-service, despite them operating both the Buxton-Macclesfield and Macclesfield-Knutsford routes at the time. If only they had some common sense and ran that bus in service their commercial attempt of the 27 route may not have failed.

  2. Saturday times have appeared for GHA’s 130 service:
    06:15 Macclesfield to Wilmslow
    06:45 Macclesfield to Wilmslow
    18:45 Wilmslow to Macclesfield
    19:15 Wilmslow to Macclesfield

    Although, nothing for weekdays yet.

    • Having had a look at the forthcoming Arriva timetable for service 130, it looks as if current last journeys (18:42 from Monday to Friday and 18:31 on Saturdays) between Wilmslow and Macclesfield are being withdrawn so GHA’s evening journeys look very useful. Also, the 16:28 and 16:58 departures from Manchester bizarrely are being replaced by a single one at 16:44 for whatever reason and this is a commuter evening time service. It is just as well that GHA are doing what they have planned.

    • It would appear as if the new GHA journeys have not been shared with TfGM and have been missed from Traveline as a result. After all, a visit to the timetable gallery on the TfGM website had no mention of any new GHA journeys. The extra Monday to Friday journeys from Wilmslow start at 19:25 and 19:55. Early morning equivalents commence from Macclesfield at 05:35, 06:00 and 06:05. Could the TFGM timetable need updating even since it only includes Arriva’s changes?

  3. It seems GHA are having real problems finding buses to run all their services at present. Last Saturday apparently they didn’t run any services on the 16 and P1 routes due not having enough buses available, while they put out an N reg step entry single decker (not a coach) on the 45 route. And yet they’ve registered additional services – commercial 84 services to compete with Routemaster and services they’ve acquired as a result of winning more Cheshire East contracts – a Saturday 300 service and an evening 37 service. How are they going to find buses to run those services if they can’t even run their existing services?

    • That sounds a pitiful situation so you only can hope that things are sorted sooner rather than later. The evening service still may be feasible with the buses that they have. It would be daytime services where the crunch is a problem and that is going to colour people’s views of them more than others.

  4. A local councillor has said Cheshire East council have retracted the recent contract awards to GHA for the 300 Saturday service and the evening 37 contract and they will stay with D&G and Arriva respectively for now. GHA have been made to refund part of the subsidy they receive for the P1 due to non-operation of services and Cheshire East are currently reviewing whether GHA should keep the contract for the P1.

    It appears GHA have recruited new drivers who aren’t being properly trained before taking buses out by themselves. One driver + bus showed up in Knutsford today and the driver put up “P1 Hazel Grove” on the destination display when it should have been “27 Macclesfield.” He said he’d only be shown the 27A route once and hadn’t been shown the 27 or 27B routes at all. This was after he had driven along the 27A route (minus the AstraZeneca extension) when he should have gone along the 27 route (via Over Peover)!

    • All of this makes you wonder if they have over-extended themselves because I have noticed that GHA are expanding in Shropshire now. I was on a 27 last week with no destination display on it and the 16:45 to Macclesfield did not call at Alderley Park at all. Saying that, it was full of folk working at Barclays so you have to ask if many more would have fitted anyway. In any case, the 27/27A/27B combination is hard enough for anyone new to remember. What was more worrying was how a driver burst out in an Eastern European language while driving one of the now withdrawn extra weekday evening journeys between Wilmslow and Manchester before Christmas. Hopefully, he was talking to someone and not having a rant to himself…

      • GHA have been dropping journeys, or part trips on the evening 38 service between Macclesfield and Crewe. I am currently waiting for an explanation as to why the last trip, the 23:35 ex Crewe, on a recent Friday evening, failed to appear at Gawsworth, due 00:20 and not there by 01:20 (we had to walk, so we know it never showed up). They do not seem to operate the 18:35 and 19:35 ex Macclesfield and 19:35 ex Crewe at all.
        I also experienced a driver with no training and no idea at all of the 9 route in Macclesfield (I don’t know how he got on on the 10A to Macclesfield to Bollington, which is part of the same contract).
        My feeling is that they have over-extended themselves and have made a mistake by concentrating most or all of their services in Cheshire on a base at Winsford.

        • It is interesting to hear that there has been a change of depot. Such a thing cause havoc with Arriva services one time. It also might explain if drivers who know one area have been sent to another. They clearly need to look at this if they want to continue running buses in Cheshire East without getting a rap from the Traffic Commissioner.

          • They seem to use a different pool of drivers on evening services. Some, at least, are working part time. I know that at least one driver on the 38 service lives in Macclesfield and has to take the bus light to Winsford after finishing the last trip. A great temptation to cut corners if there are no passengers on after leaving the last town on the route. I, and several other passengers at different times, had to complain to Bakers when they operated the evening 38 service, as their drivers felt that no one on at Congleton meant that there was no need to continue to Macclesfield.

            I have also observed that GHA are sending vehicles out with no destination or route displayed. This seems to be regular practice on the 87 route between Macclesfield and Congleton. The bus I mentioned supposed to be working the evening 9 service in Macclesfield also had no route or number displayed.

  5. GHA have had cancellation requests for their Warrington services accepted by the Traffic Commissioner. Apparently the 2 Metrocities are being moved to Shrewsbury, so will join the old Connect 88 Versas as decent modern buses which have been transferred from Cheshire to Shropshire.

    It’s also been reported an investigation in to improper practices at Your Bus has been undertaken by the Traffic Commissioner, some dating from April 2014. In April 2014 Stephen Byrce was General Manager at Your Bus before leaving in August 2014 and joining GHA Coaches.

    Back in Cheshire East, Tomlinson Travel are giving up on the 300 Knutsford circular evening service. The last day will be the first Saturday in May, which is the day of Knutsford Mayday and funfair and the evening services can get up to 30-40 passengers wanting them. In past years Tomlinson Travel have run duplicate services due to their buses being very small (16-23 seaters.) I don’t think that date has been chosen by coincidence! I’ve emailed Cheshire East asking if there is to be a replacement contract and haven’t had a response. It appears a Knutsford Guardian journalist has struggled to get any information off either the council or operator.

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