Thursday, 8 July 2010

What a shed

Just got on 64 in oldham. Am trying to get to elk mill without using my car but nothing goes there from oldham? How pathetic is that. No wonder there are huge queues trying to get in there every weekend. We do a huge trade to crown point and snipe on the 347 and 216. Someone has missed a trick in oldham. Anyway am off today and need to rest the pins so no bike ride today just rest and a bit of shopping for me. In at 4am tomorrow though on staff taxis. This bus is one of oldham depots finest volvos sounds great. Shame about the driver who looks 10 and drives like lewis hamilton. Just noticed the 402 floating around royton. Is this the same route as the O4 little gem service?


  1. Buspilot8/7/10 19:09

    Maybe a shed, but better seats than on those infernal Northern Rail Class 142 Pacer, nodding donkey units.

  2. Not so much seats but the layout upstairs is rather strange...either too much or too little leg room. Mind you a few were with stagecoach not long ago.

  3. when 5 of these where at Dukinfield last school summer holidays I found out I can not stand up straight on them as they are low height I am 6f 2 ins just been on 40434 twice this week and it does not rattle

  4. Yes these are low-height Olympians and something that hasnt been mentioned is that they were actually new to Stagecoach and some of them have been converted from dual to single door formation, infact there's a couple of journeys on 64 every day that are operated by double deckers as they are tied to running boards that operate School Services.

    There's also about 3 full heigh (P---KPX) double deckers currently allocated to Oldham Depot aswell for Schools and Service work

  5. Busman

    on my firstbus fleet list it gives only 34292/3 at Oldham the other 4 at Ashton

  6. Stagecoach had either a low hight Scania or Olympian a few years ago and i remember travelling home from work one afternoon on the 216 and everyone kept banging there heads as they got up.

    The First Arrows and Olympains are sheds and need updating, they always smell damp in the mornings.

  7. Ashtons firstbus 31937 is used in service with a paper sticker route number in the window as display does not work 2 of the Olympains on the 350 today and a solo

    I though 40430/31/32 would move back to Ashton as 40433 to 36 did I pefer these to the others

    saw speedwell double deck G501 SFT parked up at Ashton bus stn

  8. Yep Speedwell's decker has been there all day. Apparently Speedwell's being plauged by breakdowns at the moment so i guess it was there incase it was needed to fill in. Looks nice.

    I noticed a few Solo's on the 348 and 350 today. There was two First 348's behind a S48 this morning in Stalybridge, i dont think both of them were on the timetable lol.

  9. yes it was 40311 on the 350 has a rear end advert from when it was at Queens Rd 34254/56 where the double decks on the 350 they have volvo TDC100GA engines which sounds like Leyland engines

    just found out the Arrows at Wigan could be withdrawn when they loose a lot of school work after the summer holidays wonder what will happen to speedwells minibuses when the service changes come in I guess they will keep the solos

  10. Speedwell are actually happy to lose some of the tendered routes since the money that they currently receive doesn't match that of a full vehicle investment. Plus the 'S' routes are bringing in a decent revenue.

    That being said though they are currently awaiting replacements for the plaxton beavers, in the form of transbus MPD's (similar to V256BNV but newer...02 I think), and a plaxton primo for the newly awarded 341. This is for there contract network.

    I am also aware of a third enviro300 coming in September, and unknown buses for a brand new 'S' route in lips are sealed on the route and number...all I know is, keep your eyes pealed.

    The Olympians are low height due to there ex-London spec, because there short wheel base wouldn't allow such a 'high' ride.

  11. Blimey you working for speedwell now Will lol.
    Dont be shy if you have info please feel free to share it!!!

  12. Hee hee Oh no, I chat to the owner now & again, he usually drives the buses himself, nice chap.

    The main worry at the moment is I pointed out that First have already applied for a timetable change on the 348, whereas it looks as if First can do nowt for the 350...damage has been done. However, this new route will really put First to the ultimate test. Speedwell should be releasing the info themselves soon.

    The problem with some contracted routes though was the lack of financial subsidence, which didn't tally up for a fresher fleet...thus you see the loss of the 353/3 and partially the 239.

    However, this loss in tendered service has allowed the breathing space for a new route...launching September I think.

  13. Yes Jacks a nice fellow, spoke to him a few times myself, hes certainly very proud of his company, which is a good thing.

    I wouldn't agree with your tender comment's though William, many companies run JUST tenders and make a decent return. A local example is Stott's who have invested heavily in modern low floor vehilces for all there tendered services. If there was no money in tenders they wouldn't have invested in these buses and would be running Varios like Speedwell.

    But i agree it will certainly give them some breathing space to adopt more 'S' services in the near future, if only you would give us a clue William lol.

  14. good to hear about the next bus I know speedwell will do their best with the S48 they are here to stay weather first like it or not

    If first are planning a change to the 348 it would cost them more to run the bus hope they are turned down I did hear speedwell where planning a S service in the Oldham area but thats all I know stotts will be welcomed on the 353/54 services glad it was not firstbus that got it
    I know it will not happen but I would like to see the S50 every 10 mins and then it would damage first bus badly
    any news on weather the Dukinfield depot is closing

  15. I wouldn't have thought there was enough demand for a 10 min service, not unless First pulled off altogether, which there never going to do.

    It may just be minor changes First are making to the 348, i carnt see they can do much more than there doing now, its fares they need to look at, not the frequency.

    No news on Dukinfield, although it was just a rumour Mic, but as they have closed there Ince depot recently, who knows whats next.

  16. Well there is clearly no investment going on there at all.

  17. Has there ever been any investment at Dukinfield?
    Its always had cast offs from other depots.

  18. all I can say firstbus fares seem to be way to much no wonder the S50 is doing well someone where I work told me he thinks bus fares are to High I remember when I travelled on Yorkshire rider bus you could go of peak for 50p any where

    I bet thats why first are putting solos on the 350 as they know they will not get many travllers

    Oldham 100

    any news on what buses your depot are getting at the end of the month

    saw some people on the S48 today going to got to Ashton tommorrow to see how it is doing

  19. Felix

    and Dukinfield are borrowing drivers and buses from other depots saw 60312 on the 348 the other day one of those high step ones they look to be putting some more of them into training livery

  20. No news as yet. I know the 06 mans from Stockport are supposed to be coming and all i heard was "Newer Enviros" Prob when the hybrids get delivered for the 42-43 we will get the cast offs from Princess Road.

  21. Mic there using Solo's as i think there spare vehicles and are just hopeful of mopping up passengers waiting for Speedwell, although this morning the 350 i saw had quite a good load. I think Speedwell could do with 'tweaking' there S50 timetable as they always seem to run just behind First.

    Dukinfield have been short of drivers since December, and a good friend of mine who works at Oldham is often sent to Dukinfield to cover. There putting all these vehicles into trainer livery but have they got any drivers to train? lol

  22. As I said before, my lips are sealed on the new route lol The only clue is that this may be the first piece of the future of SpeedwellValue.

    What I meant by the tenders was that there wasn't enough money for a complete vehicle refreshment...only some routes ticked all the boxes. They submitted the tender to not only run it but by new buses as well, but were unfortunately beat by stotts. Some tenders have been reawarded to speedwell, and like I said there are new buses on the way.

    Jack is very proud of his company by the looks of it. Lets hope that public users in Tameside residents will be just as proud. I remember hearing that the S50 may be jumpstarted to a 15 minute frequency if demand grows...and with First switching to a Summer timetable it could happen sooner than you think. Plus a 15 min freq, first can't follow on that

    First have shutdown a depot !?!? Mind you they've lost alot of school work...and apparently a couple olympians crashed in Copley (apparently)... and there's a load of 'withdrawn' Prismas springing up here...not looking good is it.

    Atleast we have a respectable big company (SC), and a respectable smaller company (SW) bringing in newer buses

  23. thanks Oldham 100 how many of these Hybirds are coming to stagecoach manchester

    I have to say stagecoach seem to be being new buses in every year thats why I now use the speedwell 54 buses on the S50 nice Friendly lady driver on the other night

    I remember the old tameside bus depot and the short Leyland nationals


  25. that would be good for the S50 the First school service on the 350 from Oldham to saddleworth school is run by stotts

    William are Dukinfield storing withdrawn buses then I seem to remember they had a yard by the railway which is now full of lorrys

    I think the double decks will be out of use for the summer school holidays

  26. Arn't the Hybrids being paid for partly by GMPTE?

    William First closed down there Ince depot a few months ago as a cost cutting measure and all vehicles and staff were moved to Bolton depot. Although it was a schools unit a few tendered services were run from there as well.

    Apparently Arriva have gained alot of schools and are looking to open a dedicated schools unit with ex london deckers.

    Mic is it the small lady with the short brown hair? Shes been driving on the S50 since day 1 and she is a very friendly driver.

  27. stagecoach is very good shame 15381 is not used now

    hope we see the drivers from the 353/54 on the S50and 48 when they stop running it

  28. GRRRRR William your such a tease lol.

    Well without giving routes or numbers away are you able to tell us when this service is likely to start, or maybe when its going to be revealed?

    Pretty please lol

  29. Felix

    there are 2 ladys drive this route i think it is the one you are on about she always says hello when you get on the bus

    does Jack drive the route an if so what does he look like

  30. Felix, as I recall the route is due to launch in September, so it should be released anytime soon. It will spread like wildfire as soon as they do...big opportunities are arising now.

    Jack usually drives one of the S routes, but on a rare occasion.

    So what is this deal on green buses? 'meet halfway' or something?

  31. great news will soon sort firstbus out

    I saw in the Oldham cron the other day a letter from a person who uses the 409 service and saying they where not turning up on time and when they did come there where 3 come togther

    I remember back in the 1990s when blue bus took on Yorkshire rider on the 365 and x6 routes

  32. The few times ive seen him hes been wearing a shirt and tie, and normally drives one of the Enviro's.

    Certainly a nice guy to chat too. I carnt think theres many MD's that still drive the buses lol.

    Mic plenty of drivers say hello and goodbye lol. Alot of SC Ashtons drivers do that unlike the groans and grunts from First lol.

  33. GMPTE won some green fund and have ordered a load of Hybrid buses including these Enviro's for Stagecoach to use on the 42/43 but im not sure whether Stagecoach pay half or what.

    Bullocks are getting 4 Enviros for the 147 and there will be new Solo SR's for the Metroshuttle which also goes to tender in September just before the new buses arrive.

    GMPTE also has a batch of Solo's, Versa's and School buses coming which will be awarded to operators with some 'green' tenders.

    I think i got it right lol.
    Theres also talk of the Stagecoach Enviro's being in a special livery which should be interesting.

  34. Oh and thanks for the little clue William. It will certainly be interesting to see what they announce.

    Roll on september lol

  35. Indeed roll on September, apparently that's when the vario replacement start coming in so it should be a very good month.

    The thought of Hybrid buses sound great, lets hope they have a good track record.

  36. Do we think the Varios will last till September lol.

  37. aha good call. I think they are being phased out over time, so it could be sooner than later...all the better as I'd rather enjoy a trip with pointer MPD's on the 343 anytime.

  38. R 513 Ywc is the worse of the lot yes I have been on stagecoach 330 service a few times and the drivers are better then firstbus Wigan got another school bus from Halifax last month in First Student livery will have a trip to Ashton today to see what is going on with the Carrbrook battle ground and have a look in poundland aswell

  39. Felix

    you say they are putting all the batch of the 60301 to 49 in training livery what is left of course I bet that means that the 61350 to 69 will be going 61354 is all ready officially gone for scrap last month

  40. my father just went for the 09.01 350 to Greenfield from Hey farm and the bus never turned up just shows you what sort of service they are running

  41. exazdriver10/7/10 12:26

    sorry to spoil the surprise, but i have it on good authority that speedwells new route is going to shadow the 409, and yes, it will be called the s09!

    also, i heard a rumour from another reliable source that all, or at least part, of stagecoach's daw bank depot are moving to a site in hazel grove. now, i know there was a plan in the pipeline a few years ago to have a "192's only" depot in hazel grove, i believe stagecoach had planning permission approved but lost out on the site to a higher bidder.

    whilst im here, i read a letter in the glossop advertiser (which mainly covers tameside - yes stupid) yesterday which really annoyed me. a bloke has written in complaining about the state of the 216's and over ANR services at the moment, nothing wrong with that, thanks to the metrolink works they are indeed chaos. but this bloke lays all the blame at stagecoach's door. ever since the demise of dennis's and mayne's the 216's have gotten worse, apparently. obviously this has absolutely nothing to do with the constant roadworks on gt. ancoats street, oldham street, pollard street, and of course, ANR.

    "a bus every 5 minutes, stagecoach tells us, more like 4 buses every 20 minutes." he continues... the guy is a fool

  42. Damn you exazdriver...You're right with one will be branded the S49! and it will go between Oldham and Ashton only. There is still multiple options with how it will work i.e. every 10 min? or interworking with another 'S' route, double decks? etc. But it will be the S49, that's that.

  43. Mic,

    Apparently there has been a (un)fair dispute with residents in Greenfield with buses appearing way off times set, whether or not pte can do a thing about it another thing?

    looks as if the only customers for 350 left now are Greenfield, OAP's and minor concessionary payers...even first are turning them away.

  44. Anonymous10/7/10 15:05

    I usually travel to Mossley most Saturdays. I get off the train at Ashton and get a bus on Penny Meadow. I have a system one card, so just jump on the first bus that comes, usually a First 350. I'm not sure where the idea that the S50 has taken all the passengers from the 350 comes from, because the 350s usually as packed as they were before the S50 started!

  45. Wow thats great news. I use the 409 alot and will certainly move over to Speedwell. Any idea of the exact date its starting? [i know its September but beginning, middle or end lol.]

    I would disagree with the comments about the 216. I would say the 216 and the 192 are probably two of Manchesters most reliable services. The frequency's mean that even when the traffics bad you will still wait no longer than 10 minutes at the most for a 216, but how the hell can it be Stagecoach's fault.

    Mic i know nothing about First and training vehicles only that there all SHED'S lol, and as for Ashton, its chaos today. Never seen traffic so bad on Penny meadow before, but theres certainly lots of 348's knocking about Stalybridge.

  46. Anon it depends when you catch the 350. Certainly during peak the S50's are full, hence Speedwell buying newer vehicles. No one is saying First are running empty but given the fact that the S50 has been called a success, then it certainly has taken 'SOME' passengers off First.

    Are you telling me that if you forgot your system one pass one Saturday wouldn't you catch the cheaper alternative? I know i would.

  47. I completely disagree, the only bus that a 350 fills now is a solo. On average I see a minor cluster of customers in the mornings with usual heftier loads to/from greenfield and uppermill...that's it.

  48. Yes it is Felix, and I was hoping no 'First Followers' would read this... that's why it was wrapped up lol

    I am unsure, probably beginning but there's still arrangements to be made, plus how great the demand is. Bear in mind alot of people go from Mossley/Stalybridge, as well as Ashton to Oldham...How many of them now will shift it using 'S' this would officially make Speedwellvalue the cheapest operator crossing borders in Greater Manchester.

    The odd thing with the 350 is that it seems fuller during midday lol I do see the 8:00AMish First buses empty

  49. I was waiting for a 236 this morning in Ashton. There was a huge que waiting at the stand [as its also the S50 stand]. A first 350 pulled up at the opposite stand and only two people left the que and got on the 350.
    Now i didn't do a head count but when Speedwell's Marshall Dart pulled up on the S50 it was full within 5 minutes.

    This means that the majority of people travelling to Hey Farm are indeed loyal to Speedwell. Even OAP's prefer to travel with Speedwell.

  50. (Que fireworks...50th Comment)

    No surprise there then. Wasn't this meant to be about the '04 Gem' lol, completely diverted lol.

  51. William i travel from Ashton to Roachdale now and again [a dear doo lol] and its very rare for a double deck First 409 not to be full, but most get off before or in Oldham so there is certainly demand.

    I know that Stott's have considered a few times bringing back there 398 service but its never happened so good on Speedwell.

    First will know as soon as Speedwell register the service with VOSA, which they will have to do very soon if its too start in September, First wont take this lying down and i can see a big battle ahead but lets just hope Speedwell stick at it and give em what for.

    I would imagine there would be demand for a Sunday/evening service from day 1 on this service as evening 409's are normally busy as well.

  52. Been on both the white S50s today and did see some people on the S48 and now first are putting their old double decks on the 348

    good on speedwell to take on the 409 which does not keep to time sometimes

    Firstbus think they are the best I say no way they should be renamed last bus or as my father says worst bus going to Ashton on the S50 and there was a 350 in front and most people got on the speedwell bus so you can tell people are voting with their feet T446 WWT is on the 354 today going to walk to Uppermill and get it back when the change over happens I will stick with the 354 and support stotts on the route

  53. Anonymous10/7/10 16:22

    if as you say oldham ashton is to get some princess rd cast offs what will ashton lose or are they extra buses for ashton

  54. Anonymous10/7/10 16:46

    Hi Felix, well my system one card is a county card, so there's no way I'd make it to Ashton, forgetting my card. In fact, if a S50 went past, I wouldn't get on it, because AFAIK they don't accept system one cards, that's what I got told when when I tried to board one once? I've not tried them since...

    I'm not a First follower, indeed there are no First buses In Flixton.

  55. they do take any travel pass now bar firstbus only ones

  56. Anon they did for a brief time when the S50 first started last year not accept any system one products as it was set up for passenegrs who paid cash for a single fare.
    Things changed and they introduced there own day and weekly specials and they DO now take all system one products.
    All bus operators in Manchester must accept System one passes and if you get refuesed email system one who will deal with it for you.

    Give Speedwell another try Anon, im sure you will be surprised at just how good they are.

  57. M Branson10/7/10 19:04

    Wow, I have never seen so many comments on here! Just been on First Olympian 34296, which has upstairs a very damaged-looking opening window (all scratches), which has been bolted shut. And another one with First Hampshire written on the glass. Never knew they operated in Hampshire before moving up North. Brilliant newses about Speedwell with more new buses and route anticipated. I see they are challenging First not Stagecoach. Indeed First need a challenge more than Stagecoach, plus Stagecoach "know what to do with" independents who try to compete with them lol.

  58. Stagecoach have a secret weapon, in the form of the big blue 'Magic bus' lol

  59. The big difference between Stagecoach and First is the fares. I dont think Stagecoach fares are that bad really but First fares are just too high.

    I think for Stagecoach to worry about an independent on there patch, they would have to be running a very frequent which is why i dont think they ever saw the S50 as a big threat when it ran to Manchester.

    I can see the 409 timetable getting a tweak before September lol.

  60. first bus 34296 and the other 5 came from Devon and cornwall in the biggining

    I would like to see stagecoach take on firstbus aswell now that would give them a run for their money and long with speedwell could do some damage to firstbus I know they are joint on the 22 346 and 389 services

  61. M Branson10/7/10 19:18

    I'll secod that Anonymous. All we are asking, is give Speedwell a chance!

  62. the 409 service use to be every 10 mins or better having said that that never happened now they about every 10 to 15 in the day time and last week I saw 60450 on the route one with high steps

  63. Anonymous

    you should see the buses on the S50 they put the 350 buses to shame even speedwells solos are better then firstbuses and can not wait to try stotts at the end of the month

  64. M Branson

    the bus you said had First Hampshire on the window I think that would be arrow 31937

  65. M Branson10/7/10 22:18

    Nope, it was definitely Olympian 34296, registration P296 KPX.

  66. Tony Edwards10/7/10 22:20

    M Branson if you live in Glossop, you would'nt be saying give Speedwell a chance, they're stoping most of the hospital bus, looking again at the 397, all on the grounds that they don't get enough money from the County Council.

  67. Yeah, but that is due to how much money a route can bring in. Businesses have to break even, otherwise what is the point?

    If a council decide to cut back on tender cash, then the results show. It's not all bad though, a primo is on its way for the 341

  68. I bet with Wigan looseing school routes there may be some changes with the deckers there and I bet they will send them to Ashton

    when they had 31950 they repainted it and then Wigan nicked it

  69. Tony what rubbish you speak. If you live in Glossop you should know that Speedwell have operated several services there since the company was founded in 2002. The owner himself lives in Glossop so these changes to the services have come as a shock to him no doubt.

    Sadly as a result of the new goverment, councils up and down and country are cutting the money they spend on subsidised bus services and Derbyshire CC is no exception. As i understand it the money paid to Speedwell to run the 239 has been almost halfed meaning these cuts have had to be made, the service just isnt profitable enough to run commercially.

    As i understand it the subsidy paid to Speedwell for the 392 has been cut completley with the 397 currently under revue.

    Cuts like these are happening all over the country in a bid to save money. Its not the bus operators fault but the local goverment, who hold the purse strings.
    If you are genuinely upset about these changes to the 239 contact Derbyshire CC and make your feelings known, but dont blame a company thats just trying to make ends meet!

  70. Tony Edwards11/7/10 08:07

    Felix, for the 239 there's no cuts being made to the subsidy - Speedwell have decided because the county wouldn't give them more money for a contract that still has another few years to run to cut the service to what it's being cut to.

    On the 392 many locals won't notice the difference because half the time at the moment it dosen't run.

    If subsidy's are been cut then your right contact County and complain, but when the cuts are because the company wants more money for an existing contact, then the blame should be elsewhere.

  71. Hi Tony,
    The contract does have a few years to run but the problem is Speedwell's costs to operate this service have increased over the past 12 months which has meant that for them to continue running the 239 the way it is now would have meant them making a loss which as William has said isnt what business is about.

    Speedwell wanted to buy a modern low floor vehicle to use on the service as the Varios currently used are past there best, fuel prices are constantly increasing, not to mention the VAT rise in 2011,plus theres many other smaller costs to take into account as well,which in all means that they have to ask for more money.

    Your right to be concerned but please remember, Speedwell haven't left you high and dry with no service at all, they have simply made cuts to keep in the black.

  72. Tony Edwards12/7/10 19:14


    I have no problem with Speedwell making a profit, what I do have problem with, is them doing stuff like this, pulling out of a contract that they must have agreed to in the first place on the grounds that there not getting enough cash, and then wanting the blame the county for them not being able to work out there sums in the first place.

    Whilst your right Speedwell haven't left us high and dry, exactly how much of a service are we left with - instead of running from 7am till 6 at night it will only run from 8 till 2 and every two hours at that, not only meaning the cuts for getting to Ashton but also with the 392 being pulled a heavily reduced service into Glossop with a 40 minute wait for large parts of the day.

  73. Hi again Tony,

    As i understand it the 392 subsidy has been cut altogether meaning Speedwell had no choice but to pull it because its not viable to run commercially, and the 397 is currently being reviewed and might go the same way.

    The 239 is a complicated issue. The only part of the journey that is subsidised is the part that runs through Glossop, the three quarters of the journey that run through Tameside are run purley commercially by Speedwell. Normally long running contracts like these are reviewed every 6 - 12 months and where possible the subsidy can be increased to meet extra costs. Because of cuts nationwide DCC have frozen the subsidy for the remainder of the contract. As the costs for running this kind of service do rise Speedwell have done there sums and feel that to continue to run the service with no increases would leave them out of pocket, and thats why these cuts have had to be made.
    While your right to be upset at these cuts your first comments about them were a little unfair. I know as i work in Glossop that they have tried many different possible routes over the years including the S36/37 and many others, its just in rural area's like Glossop many services need extra funding to make them work.

  74. (Que Vuvuzelas...75th Comment)


    As Felix said really. Also, If Derbyshire CC or Gmpte had a problem with this then they would'nt allow the due changes. It is unusual because the contract was several years, and with the serious rise in diesel, service changes and boundary changes then no wonder they've thrown in the towel...that being said they havent given up, they've just provided a service reflecting todays demand.

    Who knows, maybe demand will change in near future or tenders and subsidarys will improve...unfortunately, in order to get to tomorow you need to go through today

  75. Its quite commen for Tenders to run for several years but with the condtion that reviews are made every so often to make sure the service isn't being at a loss.

    Just as the cost of living keeps increasing, so does the costs to operate bus services, hence why its not possible to run this service with no chance of increses in the future.

    Im almost certain Speedwell would have looked at the possibility of running the 239 completely commerially but its just not possible.