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 here. In essence, it is a case of mainly observing Sunday timetables though there are exceptions that may be pleasant surprises for you.
Here’s a list of areas or companies and the sort of service levels that they plan to offer on the Mayday Bank Holiday for 2014:
Mainly a Sunday service with some additional alterations
Mainly a Sunday service
Coach Services (Thetford)
Sunday service: only routes 80, 82, 83, 85 & 86 will be served.
Mainly a Sunday service level and they have a bus timetables collection
too if you need to check further.
Essentially a Sunday service and they have more information for anyone who needs it.
Oxford Bus Company
This company has its special timetable for the Easter and Mayday bank holidays. Some services operate to a Sunday timetable, others as if it was a normal Monday and some not at all.
Ridgways of Glamorgan
Mainly a Sunday service
Stagecoach Manchester & Wigan
Essentially, this centres on Glasgow but should apply to anywhere on the western side of Scotland’s central belt. Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) has a summary of services for the Mayday Bank Holiday on their website.
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.
Sunday service. Network West Midlands have more information if you need it.
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:
Cumbria & Northeast England
East Midlands, England
West Midlands, England
Hope you have a good one, whatever you do.
This has been Catch the Bus Week across the U.K. and I have learned that something less positive is on the way for Arriva’s bus services in Cheshire East from the start of June. It comes in the form of many services seeing curtailment of evening journeys.
There are other less notable tweaks too in the form of changes to Macclesfield town services 2, 2A and 4 with the 31 and 31A between Crewe, Winsford and Northwich also coming into the same category. Further details of what is coming have yet to become clear but let’s hope that service reductions are not in order for these.
Others are less fortunate and Monday to Saturday journeys between Macclesfield and Bollington after 21:00. There is little sign of a campaign against this at the time of writing but it really took a big push to get Arriva to provide the commercial service that it has done since council funding was withdrawn. The same sort of thing is coming to Macclesfield town service 9 after 20:45 and circular town services 5 and 6 after 19:30. Also, the 08:35 and 09:05 Monday to Friday journeys on the Macclesfield to Hurdsfield town service are set to go too. These were route 21B and routes 21 and 21A will survive untouched though it does the morning peak travel time no favours at all.
Service 38 between Macclesfield and Crewe loses out too. On Saturdays, there are to be no Arriva buses after 18:00 and that leaves a gap until the council-contracted BakerBus journeys that start at 20:35. It will be interesting to see if Cheshire East Council fills the gap here though I realise that money is tight with them. Otherwise, there is sense in pulling the short return journey between Macclesfield and Congleton that leaves Macclesfield shortly before BakerBus’s first evening journey to Crewe.
Also not escaping unscathed are services 37, 37A and 37E between Crewe and Northwich. There is set to be only journey from Crewe to Northwich after 19:00 and that leaves Crewe as the 37E at 19:34 to arrive in Northwich at 20:49. The other 19:00, 20:00 and 21:00 journeys will not operate.
Other than the above, it is the 23:00 journey from Crewe to Nantwich on service 84 that faces withdrawal. This completes a series of changes that look anything but positive. Recently, I learned that the head of Arriva Northwest is an accountant so it is tempting to lay the blame at bean counting but I reckon that is not the whole story. Of course, there is the matter of passenger patronage to be considered too and High Peak is withdrawing the the last journey of the day on service 14 between Macclesfield and Langley (a Monday to Saturday affair anyway since Arriva stopped offering a Sunday service) to leave no service after 18:00, not a good thing for any commuters though the new 109 service between Macclesfield and Leek could help to fill the gap. Maybe it’s time to support what services are running and get campaigning when we need to retain any that are threatened.
BakerBus are to plug the gap left in the Saturday service 38 between Macclesfield and Crewe. Their Saturday departures from Macclesfield will start at 18:35 and continue hourly until the last bus of the day. Their equivalent Saturday departures from Crewe will commence at 19:35 and continue hourly until the end of service, so ensuring a complete service over the whole day. If only something similar could be said for soon to be withdrawn services between Macclesfield and Bollington.
BakerBus are set to lose their Monday to Saturday evening journey contract to GHA from the first Monday in July (2014-07-07) so that last evening journey from Biddulph to Macclesfield is set to go at the same time. GHA are taking over service 77 between Congleton and Kidsgrove, another Cheshire East Council contract, from the same date. No timetables are changing though.
It is not all bad news for BakerBus though since they won the contract to operate the soon to be discontinued evening journeys on Macclesfield local services 9 and 10 on Friday and Saturday evenings from the first weekend in June (2014-06-06) onwards. It would be better if Monday to Thursday evenings gained the same reprieve but anything has to be better than nothing at all.
It has come as a surprise for me to hear that Pennine Motor Services of Skipton in North Yorkshire is to cease trading in the middle of May, 2014-05-16. The business has been in existence since 1925 and its demise looks more of a shame given how long it has been around. The fact that they bought a bus in the last few months adds to the surprise and next year would have seen it reach ninety years of trading but that sadly is not to be.
It is tempting to wonder if the most recent round of bus funding cuts being implemented by North Yorkshire County Council has led to the decision. Looking through the actual cuts themselves, it does seem that Pennine did not get out too badly from these. That leaves reductions in reimbursement for those passengers who are entitled to free travel and that has caused trouble elsewhere. Without knowing more though, nothing else can be added but both of these have to be making the bus business that much harder for many operators.
Things probably were rosier when I first saw their distinctive black and orange buses in 2000 while I spent six weeks around Skipton being trained ahead of placement with a client of the company for which I had started working at the time. Then, I used their Burnley service to get to my then-new place of work on my first morning there. It was only a few years afterwards when I travelled on a service from Settle to Skipton after a February day spent walking through that part of the Yorkshire Dales. It was a certain amount of impatience that had me using a bus instead of awaiting a train and the cold of the evening might have added further persuasion as to the merits of the idea.
Here are the services that will be affected by Pennine’s demise:
210: Skipton - Malham
212: Skipton - Carleton-in-Craven
214: Skipton - Embsay
215: Skipton - Burnley
216: Skipton town service
580: Skipton - Settle
Of all of these, it was the 215 that I used on that April morning in 2000 when they ran exclusively ran Leyland Nationals. By the time that I used the 580 from Settle, Dennis Darts had superseded the Leylands and it was another of the Darts that had been bought most recently.
Apart from the Monday to Friday service 210 and the seven-day service 215, all the services they offered ran from Monday to Saturday. That is not to say that Saturdays did not have fewer journeys running than on other days of the week since that was the case anyway. For instance, the Settle service is around two-hourly on Saturdays when it was nearly hourly on other days of the week. As it happens, the additional journeys between Barnoldswick and Burnley are Monday to Friday only too.
So far, there is little word on possible replacements apart from Transdev Lancashire United stating that their services between Burnley and Skipton will see extra journeys being offered on them from 2014-05-19. For places like Settle and Malham, only time will reveal what is to be offered to their residents.
Update 2014-05-12: North Yorkshire County Council has been forced to put in place a stopgap service between Skipton and Settle
using its 16-seater buses. The new route number is 58 and it offers no Saturday service like the 580 used to do. It also stops up in the early afternoon though there are three return journeys between Skipton and Settle as well as three return journeys between Skipton and Hellifield. There has been an attempt to interest local bus companies but that could need a council contract and there is not a lot of money around for those in these austere times. That especially is the case after NYCC was forced through dramatic cuts to council supported services anyway.
Details are being revealed about changes to bus services in Cheshire East from the end of this month. First on the list is what is happening to Saturday journeys on Arriva’s service 130 between Macclesfield and Manchester from the start of May. Thankfully, it is the section between East Didsbury and Piccadilly Gardens that is seeing any impact following the loss of Transport for Greater Manchester funding. Journeys towards Manchester city centre at 07:55 and 08:55 are being dropped and Macclesfield-bound services leaving Piccadilly Gardens at 07:33 and 09:28 no longer will do so. Instead, they will commence from Parr’s Wood in East Didsbury at 07:51 and 09:51, respectively. Apart from those, there is on Arriva’s website what appears a confused comment on a Monday to Friday morning departure for Macclesfield but I will overlook that until the actual full timetable is published.
The current Monday to Saturday service 108 from Macclesfield to Leek and Ashbourne would appear to be getting split with the 108 only running between Leek and Ashbourne according to a new timetable on the Derbyshire bus timetables website
. From the last Monday in April, it does appear that the new 108 is better than the old one with five journeys each way a day and the spread of the day served extends later into the evening time too.
But for information in an email from Staffordshire County Council about bus services, I would be mourning the complete loss of the Macclesfield to Leek section of the current 108. There is to be a new two-hourly service 109 between both towns
. We may be getting another division in routes but that can be overlooked given the proposed improvement in the level of service. If we get that, then it needs supporting or we could lose it, not the sort of thought that I want to be putting around at all.
More changes are coming to BakerBus service 99 between Biddulph and Congleton from 2014-04-21 with a thinning out of off-peak journeys and strengthening of the peak timetable. Also, Buglawton is no longer served apart from the single evening journey from Biddulph to Macclesfield to have a bus in place to operate the council contract for Macclesfield to Crewe services. While the new timetable
looks very different to the old one, it remains workable and extended journeys on service 94, normally a Newcastle to Biddulph operation, to offer school transport connections early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Times for those journeys are as yet unavailable and make be added on here once I have them.
Other than these, early morning Monday to Saturday journeys on High Peak service 58 between Macclesfield and Buxton are being tweaked as follows:
Current 06:40 from Buxton to leave 10 minutes earlier at 06:30
Current 07:45 from Buxton to leave 3 minutes earlier at 07:42.
Current 07:10 from Macclesfield to leave 5 minutes earlier at 07:05.
Of these, only the 07:45/07:42 runs on Saturdays according to the High Peak timetable. It does seem that early morning bus travel on Saturdays is becoming less available than it once was and what has happened to the 130 Saturday timetable also reflects this, taking us back to the start of the piece.
For whatever reason, April is bringing with it a lot of bus service alterations. Some are fully known while others are awaiting extra details that could be added here yet. Still, we are looking at tweaking and trimming rather than the chopping that is ongoing elsewhere. Hopefully, the evolving cost savings of recent developments like recent subsidy reductions on the Connect 88 between Knutsford, Wilmslow and Altrincham will keep those away from us.
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.