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.

Major changes to Congleton bus services from start of September 2013

Within the last few days, it has come to my notice that BakerBus are sharply cutting the number of services they operate in and through Congleton. The 99 from Biddulph will largely remain, albeit with only very few journeys extending as far as Macclesfield. Thankfully, both D&G and High Peak appear to be stepping in with replacements for the services that are facing withdrawal.

The latter are set to offer a new service between Macclesfield, Buglawton and Congleton. While this has yet to gain traffic commissioner approval, it has gained the number 39 and it will be of interest to see how the timetable looks. When High Peak did operate service 27 on a council contract, a number of those journeys started from or terminated in Congleton so they may know the route anyway from those less austere days.

As for the Beartown Buses brand, this may be set to disappear now that D&G are running their replacements and I cannot see route branding like that applied to Crewe service 1 (one1ink) appearing here. The current 77 service between Congleton and Kidsgrove is being redirected to go along Padgbury Lane, Ullswater Road and Sandbach Road to leave a new 76 to serve Banky Fields and The Westlands. The current service 42 too is seeing changes so as to include West Heath on its route. Otherwise, D&G will take over services 90 and 91 with both keeping their half hourly service frequencies.

There are services being lost with the 95 and the X38 ceasing to exist. However, D&G have registered a Monday to Friday service 36 between Crewe and Sandbach that is to be a partial replacement for the X38 while the 38 from Macclesfield to Crewe remains anyway.

The shape of all these new services has yet to become clear but there is cause for optimism given that other operators are stepping in instead of BakerBus. The service news from D&G should be worth watching just like that from High Peak, especially since I have learned of forthcoming timing changes to service 392 (morning and evening peak services) between Macclesfield and Stockport (also from September). There has been little alteration to bus services in Cheshire East for a while now with only the summer school holiday 378 service between Wilmslow and Stockport being the only newsworthy change until this week.

Update 2013-07-30

Links to new D&G service timetables have been added now so it does look as if the Traffic Commissioner is giving these the go ahead. Others should follow as soon as I get them; Traveline has yet to provide September travel information on its timetable lookup facility.

Update 2013-07-31

Details of High Peak service 39 have appeared today. It’s an hourly Monday to Saturday service that doesn’t operate on bank holidays and has extra peak time journeys from Monday to Friday. Apparently, it’s being offered on a commercial basis and the registration is under consideration by the traffic commissioner.

There also are details of the revised 99 and 99B service (again a non bank holiday Monday to Saturday affair as has been the case until now so no change there) available with Biddulph, Congleton and Buglawton being the main extent of the route and enjoying an essentially hourly frequency. The only journeys to Macclesfield are one in the morning that acts as a positioning journey for service 11 between Macclesfield and Kerridge and one in the evening that does likewise for the Monday to Saturday evening Macclesfield to Crewe Cheshire East Council contract (service 38). There is one evening journey from Macclesfield and that’s all for the day; it facilitates the return of the service 11 bus from Macclesfield to the BakerBus depot.

Cheshire East Bus Funding Cuts: A Final Picture?

The last time that I wrote about Cheshire East’s forthcoming bus service cuts, there still were a few details outstanding and these have come to light today along with more that I wasn’t expecting. One of those details that were outstanding were the Saturday morning journeys on the 130 Macclesfield to Manchester operated under contract by Arriva. Things remain as they are for the 06:45 and 07:45 journeys from Macclesfield and the 07:44 one from Handforth until January 27th of next year. Beyond that the journeys are set to get curtailed but we’ll need to see a new timetable to get the full story though my suspicion is some will start from Wilmslow given that terminating journeys there has been a feature of the service in recent years.

Other details from Arriva include running the Monday to Saturday Macclesfield town services 5 and 6 commercially until 22:00. There were changes coming and this is the form that they were taking. Commercial operation also is coming the Crewe to Chester service 84 with a next to ninety minute service frequency for services along the full route with the last departure from Crewe at 21:35. A 23:00 from their to Nantwich also will operate and the last service from Chester is set to run at 23:05. If only we had something similar for the equivalent services on the 130 route.

The mention of the 130 brings me to Wilmslow with faces becoming something of a bus service desert in evenings and Sundays. Handforth will be similarly affected too since the 130 serves both. However, it is the forthcoming withdrawal of 378 journeys on evenings and Sundays that really will quieten things in both places. Transport for Greater Manchester are covering the cost of the current service level until April 6th, 2013 when there is a contract changeover. That may allow a temporary reprieve but services are set to terminate on Grove Lane after that.

While on the subject of Stockport services, the 390 Bramhall – Poynton – Stockport one is to be reviewed with a planned change date of 28th January 2013. If they do happen to survive, it cut alleviate the curtailment of the 392 and 393 services at Hazel Grove. While that may sound promising, it’s best not to get too hopeful given recent experiences.

The only details that are outstanding now will be answered on seeing bus timetables. Scheduled public services has caught it in the neck this year while it was the turn of school-bus services last year. This year, most of them are making the transition to commercial services though the 108 from Leek to Fallibroome School is being truncated to start from Macclesfield. losing one of those journeys and a one that could have been useful to commuters if timings at the other end of the day were more sensible.

Now, all that really is left is to wonder at what faces us in the future. After all, there is the current Cheshire East Council overspend and tomorrow brings the reality of the Autumn Statement from the Chancellor of the Exchequer. 2011’s bus service cuts looked more like trimming the edges but those in 2012 and 2013 are going further and it is starting to look very austere in deed now. If we are looking at more of the same next year, then any reductions will be even tougher again. Hopefully, any campaigning would be more energetic that it was this year.

The mention of lack of campaigning apart from the good folk of Bollington brings me to wondering if it might be possible to reintroduce lost services in the future when the economic outlook is better and public finances have recovered. Keeping a log of lost services might be a useful reference point should opportunities arise. With a story in the media about car use peaking and what the current situation is doing to people’s finances, it is tempting to think that a bit of risk taking on the part of bus companies would get us somewhere. After all, there was a lack of that on display from some in recent months and D&G comes to mind when I think of it. Bus services have had a rough ride in Cheshire East in the last two years and we could do with a boost.

Cheshire East Bus Funding Cuts: The effects become more apparent

Today, my email inbox saw automated messages from the Cheshire East Council website telling me that the bus service changes and bus subsidy reductions pages had been updated and there’s a lot on them for digestion now. For sake of a summary, I have decided to highlight a few of the forthcoming alterations here.

38

D&G are revising their registration for this Sunday service between Macclesfield and Crewe. The content is not something to which I am party so I will need to see what it involves when more information becomes available.

130

D&G have cancelled the Monday to Saturday evening journeys between Macclesfield and Didsbury from the start of 2013. Since the service takes them outside their area, their deciding to do this is understandable. Still, it leaves me wondering if Arriva might be able to do something towards blunting the loss like they did around East Yorkshire a while back. Some depend on the first of the weekday evening Macclesfield-bound journeys to get home from work so I am left wondering if something will be done to help them.

378

The timetable for this service between Wilmslow and Stockport will stay as it is until 28th January when Transport for Greater Manchester will review it. Then, we will learn what comes next.

391/392/393

The 391 Poynton to Stockport service is getting canned but will survive until March 2nd. From March 4th, the 392 and 393 services will be truncated so as to operate only between Macclesfield and Hazel Grove where I expect that they will meet with the 192 Stagecoach service to Stockport and Manchester. Another change to those routes is that they’ll be diverted around Poynton so as to make up in some way for the absence of the 391.

More to come

The above are the changes that stand out for me but there are others with some operations becoming commercial, others changing and some being lost altogether. Interestingly, there is no news yet from Arriva about affected journeys on their services. Macclesfield town services are extensively impacted by the council’s decision so it is of interest to see what happens to those, particularly the one to nearby Bollington since it has attracted so much interest. Trunk service journeys on the 130 between Macclesfield and Manchester (early Saturday mornings) and Sunday evenings on the 84 Crewe to Chester service are among these too. Thus, there is quiet a bit more to come yet.

More cuts proposed for Cheshire East bus services

Cheshire East Council’s Public Transport Consultation has yielded its results and they don’t look all that pretty. Quite a number of services face extinction and it could happen just before Christmas according to the proposed timetable. Details of the affected services are divided into schoolday and non-schoolday categories and there’s overview of services receiving financial support too.

While it is a relief to see some pivotal services saved from cuts, there is a surprise too in the form of financial support being recommended for service 27 between Macclesfield and Knutsford. From next month, I was led to believe that was becoming a commercial operation. Maybe that’s like the bus stop sign professing the return of the sadly defunct Sunday journeys of service 108 between Stockport, Macclesfield and Leek following their demise last year. That sign in Oakgrove turned out to be incorrect so it might be the same with the aforementioned recommendation too. Events may have overtaken the consultation.

Returning to the planned losses, school services seem to be taking quite a hit again this year and it looks as if even more of them will be affected than last year. Some non-school services such as the 390 between Poynton, Bramhall and Stockport or the 391 between Middlewood, Poynton and Stockport face total withdrawal altogether. There are more services facing cuts than these but I have selected several for special mention below some that stand out for me. One only can hope that no more savings are needed but it could prove a forlorn one again in 2013.

Service 108: Macclesfield-Ashbourne-Leek

Friday and Saturday only evening journeys, one morning journey from Leek to Macclesfield and Fallibroome High School and afternoon journey from the latter to Sutton: the first of these would be a loss for anyone fancying a day out walking in the Staffordshire Moorlands and Derbyshire Dales but a journey a few years ago had few folk on it until Macclesfield so these were vulnerable in an era when public spending is under pressure.

Service 378: Wilmslow-Handforth-Stockport

The proposed cuts would leave only a Monday to Saturday daytime service with train travel being needed at other times. This looks a stark option so axes really are in action here.

Service 130: Macclesfield-Wilmslow-Manchester

Monday to Saturday evening journeys between Macclesfield and Didsbury are set for the chop. Sadly, they were seen as marginal during the last round of cuts and seem to be a target this time too. It makes me wonder how anyone working late at Alderley Park (there are some) is supposed to get home; it sounds like more expensive taxis are set to be all that they have if the service goes.

Early Saturday morning services are to be another casualty and it seems that train travel is being cited as an alternative to both. That argument has appeared before but it means that so many spots currently being served will lose what they have. This also was one of the services attracting the most public input and nearly a fifth of those were using it to get to work!

Services 5 & 6: Weston Estate Circular (Macclesfield)
Service 9: Moss Rose (Macclesfield)
Service 10A: Macclesfield-Bollington

Though these are three different services, they face the same cut: the loss of Monday to Saturday evening services. Interestingly, the 10A Sunday service came off council support last year and is run commercially now so there may be hope for some of these journeys. Otherwise, it’s a case of using the more expensive taxi option or walking (always of no cost, of course).

Service 38: Macclesfield-Crewe

It’s the Sunday evening services that are in the firing line here. There was a time when I really found these useful though they weren’t so well used so I can see why they are a target. Around ten years ago, there was a proposal to axe all evening journeys on this service but that thankfully never came to pass.

Service 84: Crewe-Nantwich-Chester

This another trunk service facing the axing of evening services and it seems to be all four of them on every day of the week. Again, train travel has been suggested as an alternative but it still looks an austere proposition.