A New Appearance

If you have not been here for a while, you should see signs of a refresh. The old design used code that stopped working so the website had the appearance of having gone offline. That has been replaced by what you find here now and all appears to be working well so far.

Though there were continual updates to a lot of the content on here, 2016 still was a quieter year on here. Other things in my life took up more of my attention so longer entries were absent. Now that we are in 2017, the big task that dominated last year is behind me though there will be smaller ones to do in addition to my day job. The upheaval cause by bereavement still makes its present felt.

2016 also was a big year in world news with Britain sadly and narrowly choosing to leave the European Union in a referendum and the U.S.A. electing Donald Trump as its president. Both of these mean that uncertain times that lie ahead of us and the impact on public transport is as yet unknown.

Still, I did get to sampling train and bus services on much needed breaks away from a frantic everyday life. These included Austrian and Norwegian train services as well as Mallorcan bus services. They may provide inspiration for entries on here yet. The same may be said for the Swiss train network and Icelandic bus services too and these were experienced during 2015.

Otherwise, there are sure to be developments in British and Irish public transportation. After all, Bus Éireann is in financial trouble at the moment and needs to restructure its operations in order to survive. What that means for bus services in Ireland has yet to be seen and trade unions are unhappy too. Then, there is the long running saga of industrial relations problems in Southern Railway that have made life a misery for so many in the southeast of England. GHA Coaches went bust and the affects of that business collapse still are being felt across much of England and Wales. Such developments mean that there always is a need for some public transport advocacy too. Maybe it is time for a little more of that in these testing times.

August Bank Holiday 2015 services in England and Wales

The Summer Bank Holiday falls on the last weekend in August for England, Wales and Northern Ireland while it falls on the first weekend in August for Scotland and Éire. This listing of alterations to public transport services is for the former since the latter has passed a few weeks back. My mind was elsewhere then due to an elongated weekend spent in Iceland.

Cardiff Bus

Apart from road closures causing a diversion for the baycar service, it will be a Sunday service for the Welsh capital city’s main operator and industrial action sadly is set to cause disruption during next Wednesday with a special timetable in operation. It is first of several such stoppages that are planned during September and October so this dispute hopefully will get sorted sooner rather than later.

Cheshire East

Most bus services observe a Sunday timetable and some such as service 130 between Macclesfield and Manchester move over to a new timetable. That gets it useful departures from Macclesfield at 08:00 and 08:55 when the first journey used to be at 10:00. One wonders why they did not introduce this earlier in the year but that is how it is.

First Cymru

Sunday service around Swansea and areas of West Wales served by First too.

First Potteries

This again mainly is a Sunday service with a two hourly frequency on service 23 to Stone with service X32 not operating from Newcastle.

First Great Western

Industrial action is going to cause disruption so it is best to check train running times before you travel. Trains operated by other companies are going to be busier so that needs to be borne in mind.

Greater Manchester

The Manchester Pride Festival Parade is a cause of some bus service diversions during Saturday and there are others continuing over the whole weekend. Stagecoach has information on their affected services. The event affects not only buses for all modes of transport share the load.

Otherwise, a bike show in St. Petersgate in Stockport is affecting other Stagecoach bus services. There is ongoing railway engineering too and that means that some trains terminate in Manchester Victoria on Sunday and Monday instead of Manchester Piccadilly as usual. Metrolink trams return to St. Peter’s Square even if they do not stop there for a few months yet.

Merseyside

Bus services run to a Sunday timetable with journeys commencing around 08:00.

Metrobus

It is a Sunday service too for Metrobus services around Surrey, Kent, East & West Sussex.

Newport Buses

Another Welsh operator observing a Sunday timetable, exclusively this time around.

Sanders Coaches

Also operating a Sunday timetable for their bus services around Norfolk.

South Yorkshire

It is mainly a Sunday timetable for bus services with Unity Coaches service 127 and Stagecoach Nightbus services not operating at all. Trams are also are observing a Sunday service apart from disruption due to engineering works. Trains are running to a normal Monday timetable, again subject to engineering works.

Tyneside and Wearside

The Metro light rail system will be working to a Saturday timetable and. most GoNorthEast buses are running to their Sunday timetables.

West Midlands

Buses and trams are running as per their Sunday timetables. Planned engineering work is set to disrupt trains that normally travel via Stafford or Stone.

West Yorkshire

Wets Yorkshire Metro have a full summary of any differences to services over the Bank Holiday weekend. Leeds Festival is on until Sunday so that has its impact. Otherwise, most bus services observe a Sunday timetables on the Bank Holiday itself. Other bus services in operation include those making up the DalesBus network along with service 10 between Leeds and Temple Newsam, service 812 between Haworth and Stanbury, service 906 between Hardcastle Crags, Hebden Bridge and Widdop and service 951 between Huddersfield and Glossop. The extra services also run on Sunday and, of these, services 10, 906 and 951 also run on Saturday. The Elland Road park and Ride service is not working on Sunday or Monday though. Engineering work also takes its toll on train service so it is worth checking before you travel.

Yorkshire Coastliner

Again, Sunday timetables are in operation with all services in and out of Leeds are diverted via Scholes and Aberford until 16:00 and Seacroft village will not be served until then either.

Yourbus

It is a Sunday service for these too.

Mayday Bank Holiday Bus Services for 2014

Not long after Easter, we find ourselves enjoying another bank holiday weekend so bus services are set to deviate from their normal Monday timetables and I have collected what I can find out about what is to be offered on here. In essence, it is a case of mainly observing Sunday timetables though there are exceptions that may be pleasant surprises for you.

Service Changes

Here’s a short list of areas or companies and the sort of service levels that they plan to offer on the Mayday Bank Holiday for 2014:

Bus Éireann

Mainly a Sunday service with some additional alterations.

Cardiff Bus

Sunday service

Cheshire East

Mainly a Sunday service

Coach Services (Thetford)

Sunday service: only routes 80, 82, 83, 85 & 86 will be served.

Dorset

Mainly a Sunday service level and they have a bus timetables collection too if you need to check further.

First Essex

Sunday service

Lothian Buses

Saturday service

Merseyside

Essentially a Sunday service and they have more information for anyone who needs it.

Oxford Bus Company

These have their own special timetable for the Easter and Mayday bank holidays. Some services operate to Sunday timetable, others as if it was a normal Monday and some not at all.

Pennine Motors

Saturday service

Preston Bus

Sunday service

Ridgways of Glamorgan

No service

South Yorkshire

Mainly a Sunday service

Stagecoach Manchester & Wigan

Sunday service

Strathclyde

Essentially, this centres on Glasgow but should apply to anywhere in Scotland’s western central belt. Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) has a summary of services for the Mayday Bank Holiday on their website.

Trent Barton

Sunday service

Vale of Glamorgan

Mainly a Sunday service with the only exceptions being Cardiff Airport services 905 and T9. They are running to a normal weekday timetable.

West Midlands

Sunday service. Network West Midlands have more information if you need it.

West Yorkshire

Metro have a leaflet containing the details you would need.

Yellow Buses (Bournemouth)

Sunday services with routes 1A, 1B, 1C, 2, 2B, 3, 4A, 4B, 5A, 5B, 6, 24 and A1 operating.

Nothing for you above?

If none of the above cover your area, Traveline always remains a useful port of call and their national or regional websites are listed below:

Scotland

Wales

Cumbria & Northeast England

Yorkshire

Northwest England

East Midlands, England

West Midlands, England

East Anglia

Southeast England

Southwest England

Hope you have a good one, whatever you do.

A contract change and its wider effects

High Peak is to take over Monday to Saturday bus service 11 between Macclesfield and Kerridge from February 24th. This means that BakerBus, who currently run the service for Cheshire East Council and have done so for a number of years now, will be handing it over in less than three weeks time.

When BakerBus scaled back the number of Biddulph to Macclesfield journeys on services 99 and 99A last autumn, they left a 07:25 from Biddulph to Macclesfield that arrives at 08:24 and an 18:41 from Macclesfield that reaches Biddulph at 19:36. These were positioning journeys for their Kerridge service and will be withdrawn in less than three weeks time. This leaves the 18:37 from Biddulph to Macclesfield as the only relic of what once was a fairly regular service that now largely is a Biddulph to Congleton route these days, a trend that is set to continue. The remaining evening journey is a positioning one for the Monday to Saturday evening contract for Macclesfield to Crewe (and return) service 38.

However, GHA’s Monday to Friday commercial service 39 is to gain an extra morning journey from Congleton at 07:50 that arrives in Macclesfield at 08:10. That is ten minutes ahead of the first bus to Kerridge and the new timetable for service 11 has all its timings shifted thirty minutes earlier in comparison with the old one. That could come as a big surprise to anyone inattentive who is a regular user of the service.

Less dramatically, Arriva’s Crewe town service 6 is set to operate ten minutes earlier from March 23rd. Then, February 17th sees the withdrawal of Routemaster Buses’ less frequent services 828 and 884 between Crewe and Nantwich. These were peak time services and I hope that their demise will not affect too many folk.

While all this is a mixed bag, it is nothing compared to proposals in other local authority areas and I do hope that we will be spared more tough choices after what we got during 2011, 2012 and 2013. Many services that were supported are now commercial so its up to increased patronage to get them sustained and hopefully improved.

Those Cheshire East Council cuts are coming

Apparently, Cheshire East Council is exceeding its budget for the year by something of the order of £7.7m and that may explain why they have been looking for cuts in services. That appears to include subsidised bus services and the sort of savings were being sought were £750,000. Thus, it comes as little surprise that they have agreed with the proposals to withdraw financial support from quite a few bus services in order to achieve this. Notices have appeared to inform bus users of what is happening, possibly at the same time as they were updating the timetables for the Macclesfield to Knutsford service in out area.

The only change from the submitted proposals is that they take effect from the start of next year instead of the week before Christmas. Now, all that remains is to see which unsupported services and journeys are continued on a commercial basis and which don’t. It may be that some will survive like Sunday bus services between Macclesfield and Bollington, which lost its funding over a year ago. That is the only hope for the likes of the weekday (Monday to Saturday) evening 130 Macclesfield to Parr’s Wood service, which now has a very uncertain future.

The council have a page for informing us what is happening and the updates should prove interesting and the hope is that we will see reductions instead of wholesale service withdrawals and hope is all that we have been left now. For everyone’s information, here are the affected services:

Service No. Route Description Journeys Supported by the Council
5, 6 Macclesfield – Weston Estate Mondays to Fridays (evenings) circular service every half hour from 1805 to 2335.
6 Shavington – Leighton Hospital All Sunday and Bank Holiday journeys.
8 Crewe – Wistaston Green Mondays to Saturdays (evenings) 6 evening return journeys from 1823 to 2323 and the 0650 morning journey.
9 Crewe – Rope Green Mondays to Saturdays 6 journeys between 1235 and 1735.
Arriva 9 , 10A Macclesfield – Moss Rose/Bollington 9 Mondays to Saturdays (evenings) between 1855 and 2255.
10A hourly evening service between 1815 and 2315.
15 Crewe – Sydney – Elm Drive Mondays to Saturdays hourly morning peak and evenings between 1800 and 2300.
16 Crewe – Elm Drive Mondays to Saturdays  – 2 morning journeys (0835, 0905) and 7 afternoon journeys (from 1405 to 1715). All day Saturday between 0835 and 1735.
20 Crewe Bus Station – Leighton Hospital All Sunday and Bank Holiday journeys between Crewe Bus Station and Leighton Hospital only.
38 Crewe – Macclesfield Sunday evenings 5 return journeys from 1735 Crewe and 1850 Macclesfield.
44 Crewe – Shavington – Nantwich All diversions into Hough village. Plus 4 journeys from Crewe (0745, 0845, 1545, 1645) and 4 journeys from Nantwich (0740, 1540, 1640, 1740).
45 Crewe – Marshfield – Nantwich Monday to Saturday departures from Crewe bus station (0712, 1512, 1612, 1712) and Nantwich Bus Station (0815, 0915, 1515, 1615, 1715).
45 Crewe – Marshfield Mondays to Saturdays 5 evening return journeys between Crewe and Marshfield starting 1840 last bus 2259.
56 Tiverton – Nantwich Tuesdays & Saturdays all journeys.
61 Audlem – Nantwich Schooldays
63 Swanwick – Brine Leas/St.Annes/St.Thomas More Schooldays
71 Tytherington – Poynton High Schooldays
71 Aston/Wrenbury – Malbank/Brine Lees Schooldays
77 Betley – Brine Leas Schooldays
78 Crewe – Malbank School Schooldays
79 Rode Heath – Alsager Schooldays
83 Bulkeley – Chester Tuesdays all journeys
84 Crewe – Nantwich – Chester Mondays to Saturdays (evenings) – 4 evening return journeys from 1845 and 2145 – final journey between Crewe and Nantwich only 2235.
85 Newcastle – Madeley – Crewe 1 early morning journey 0550 from Crewe to Newcastle arriving 0643.Service is also supported by Staffordshire County Council.
85 Newcastle – Madeley – Crewe 4 evening return journeys Monday to Saturday.Service is also supported by Staffordshire County Council.
95 Goostrey – Holmes Chapel Schooldays
108 Leek – Macclesfield 1 morning journey – Leek to Macclesfield (extended to Fallibroome High on schooldays only.1 return journey (Fallibroome to Sutton / Langley on schooldays only.One return journey Friday and Saturday evening only.Service also supported by Derbyshire County Council
127 Chesterton – Crewe Friday only service (completely withdrawn)
130 Macclesfield – Manchester Saturday 2 morning journeys from Macclesfield (0645 & 0745) and 1 from Handforth (0744).Mondays to Saturday evening service (2 return journeys).
378 Stockport – Handforth – Wilmslow 4 return evening journeys Monday to Friday and 3 return journeys on Saturday.
378 Stockport – Handforth – Wilmslow All Sunday and Bank Holiday journeys.
390 Bramhall – Poynton – Stockport Mondays to Saturdays all journeys.
391 Poynton – Stockport Mondays to Saturdays all journeys to be reviewed in conjunction with the 392 / 393.
392, 393 Macclesfield – Poynton – Stockport Mondays to Saturdays all journeys. To be reviewed in conjunction with the 391.
737 Weston – Shavington/Crewe Schooldays
891 Middlewood – Poynton High School Schooldays
K44 Weston – Shavington/Malbank Schools Schooldays
K80 Congleton – Eaton Bank School Schooldays
K95 Congleton – Eaton Bank School Schooldays
K96 Congleton – Eaton Bank School Schooldays

While it’s not good to see that number of journeys under threat, I believe that folk need to be aware of it too. To mind, this is far more that “some” of the services that the council supports as is their wording for what is coming. One only can hope that this is the last of the bus service cuts but it is impossible to rule out another round of them either.