Have a say on bus services

LONG-SUFFERING bus passengers from Stalybridge and Mossley are to get the chance to put their grievances directly to Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and First Bus.

Drop-in sessions are to be held in each of the three local wards – Stalybridge North, Stalybridge South and Mossley – when they will have the opportunity to face TfGM and First Bus officials directly.

The decision to hold the drop-in sessions came about following a meeting involving Stalybridge and Mossley councillors along with officials from TfGM and First Bus to discuss “poor bus services across the towns”.

Mossley’s Cllr Tafheen Sharif, who worked with TfGM to set up the meeting, was pleased with the outcome.

She said: “They took us very seriously and, while we were looking initially for a public meeting, the drop-in sessions were a compromise.

“It will give the public an opportunity to give their experiences. They need a voice and the drop-in sessions will enable them to speak directly to TfGM and First Bus.”

TfGM provided minutes of the meeting and here are some of the other points raised:

• Role of TfGM
They explained approximately 80 per cent of the county’s bus network (such as the daytime 348 and 350) is provided commercially by bus companies.

They monitor the network and where a gap is identified they (considering factors such as need, budget, availability of alternatives etc) decide whether to fund replacement.

• Punctuality/reliability of First’s Service 348/350

Paul Townley from First Bus spoke about efforts to improve services. They meet regularly to discuss performance issues and will pay particular attention to local services.

• Cuts in funding for subsidising bus services

In recent years the budget has reduced by 20 per cent (or £7million a year). This has led to some difficult decisions that, locally, have affected services 353/354 (evening service withdrawn in 2015) and service 340 (evening service withdrawn, Sunday service reduced in April.

• Forthcoming tendered network review

Many of the local tendered service contracts (353/354/355, 387, Ashton local evening/Sunday services) will be renewed in April 2020. Tenders must be issued to operators in September/October so now is a great time to understand local issues which can be fed into the review of the services due to be retendered. They will consider different approaches – such as smaller vehicles or shared resources where appropriate.

They want to use the April 2020 network review as an opportunity to simplify the network and to make it more sustainable.

• Fares and ticketing

It was clear that more needs to be done to advertise the System One range of multi-operator tickets, particularly important if a different operator runs the evening service or where
interchange is necessary. Most in the room were not aware of this range of tickets and recent
research shows 60 per cent of residents were not aware either. www.systemonetravel.co.uk

• Other points

There was a brief discussion about the Clean Air Act which would require a massive upgrade
to the current bus fleet (either via retrofitted clean exhaust technology or fleet replacement),
the Bus Services Act which could bring greater co-ordination of the county’s bus network and
ticketing and the new Opportunity (16-18 free travel) pass which will be introduced in September 2019 and aims to encourage increased bus usage among young adults.

6 Replies to “Have a say on bus services”

  1. The decision to scrap the 343 and 340 resulted in my daughter having to leave a job she thoroughly enjoyed and now unemployed after nearly 3 years with the company she was with, no consideration for the people who use these buses regularly.

  2. if they charged everybody they would bring more money back to you I am on the 348 to Ashton he charged us at carrbrook then he let loads on without paying bus number 63108 thanks

  3. First of all the buses never run the times they are supposed to. Plenty of mornings I have been later for work because the bus drivers don’t feel the need to stick to the timetables. I have dropped my son of at Buckton Vale in Carrbrook quiet a few mornings and gone down to get the 348. The bus has parked at the top of the village and sat there 15-20 mins whilst my self and others stand at the bus stop down the road. The timetable shows there is at least one due around this time and they do not come. I have once stood here for for half an hour. The driver didn’t seem to see the problem with this.
    I don’t understand why bus fares continuously go up but the service gets worse.
    343’s being cancelled after a certain time has caused a lot of problems for me as I have had to make longer more expensive journeys to drop my son off with his dad in Dukinfield.

  4. 348 buses are so unreliable I’m often running late for my connecting bus to Denton. Half the time the driver either turn up late or dont show up at all. Last week I was stood in Ashton bus station waiting for 348 to carrbrook and the driver was asleep making the bus 20 minutes late. As a paying customer who’s bus pass costs £68.00 a month to get to and from work this kind of service with the 348 is ridiculous!

    1. 350 Nightmare. Over the last 4 weeks the service has improved with only 1 or 2 days when buses have been missing. It causes so much stress in a morning when you have been waiting for a bus since 7.30am and them not turning up for another 45mins. People late for work, college, hospital appointments. And when we do finally get where we need to, bosses and tutors are unhappy with the constant lateness, people don’t get seen for there appointments because they were late. It has a knock on affect. The 343/340 was the most reliable bus and still is between 7am to 6pm. But now it’s stopped after 6pm this to has caused a knock on affect me working late from Oldham and Rochdale Now it’s a 409 then a 350. Which triples the timescale for getting home. Working between Ashton Oldham and Rochdale has become a nightmare to get home from.
      A bus service has one responsibility to turn up on the allocated times so people can Go to work. Go to college, Attend medical appointments.
      What you must consider also is, if I was to lose my job, then that’s 68.00 a month your losing.. So many knock on affects for a bus not being at a stop at an allocated time?

  5. 389 worst bus service ever… 2 buses an hour an that’s if they actually turn up. Most of the time there never on time.
    348/350 are more regular every 10/15 minutes. I was once waitin for a 389 from cheetham hil Road. One pram on board n a middle aged woman with a shoppin trolley which was empty the driver wouldn’t let me on with my newborn because the woman was taking up the pram/wheelchair part with her empty shopping trolley which would of easily gone in the luggage rack. Then had to wait a further 40 minutes for the next bus. Sort it out.

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