Thursday, 21 April 2011

Not so good day before friday.

Just finished my shift at Ashton bus station. Took this earlier. This bmw didn't fair too well. I didn't get chance to see what it hit as it had moved before i saw anything. I'm off for 5 days now so going to relax for a few days. Been a very busy four days this week. Especially today with traffic problems everywhere. Lots happening at the moment especially with service changes at the end of the month. Too many to go into on here but a few too many services being run by different operators in the evening and sundays because of tenders being lost which i find a bit frustrating for the passengers. Hard to tell people 11.50 is good value when you can only use it Monday to saturday daytime. Sorry i have not had chance to blog much. This job is just too time consuming. Miss driving loads at the moment. Anyway off to have a bbq and to start my easter break.


  1. I saw that yestaday when going for the train at 17.07 to Mossley someone told my mother at the bus stop at HeyFarm that the S50 might be finishing

  2. I doubt it Mic, from the buses i saw leaving Ashton yesterday they all had very full loads, however Speedwell are having alot of problems at the moment so never say never.

  3. she was not to sure I have heard they are having trouble just wait and see

  4. Anonymous23/4/11 09:45

    Without being too specific (as to not land anyone in trouble!) i have it on good authority that the s50 is indeed being withdrawn, and 9 drivers are to be made redundant at Speedwell. I was told it is due to the s50 not returning a profit, but i find that hard to believe, as as felix says, they always seem to be well loaded.

    There is almost certainly underlying issues with Speedwell, and the signs are all there. The state of the buses (both mechanically and visually) in the last few months has taken a turn for the worse (they said themselves on their Facebook page they couldnt afford paint!). Reliability has become worse recently, buses often turn up very late (understandable, some times), very early (no excuse) or not at all (again, no excuse). This was especially evident on the s48, just before it was withdrawn. But, perhaps most worryingly, i know for a fact the drivers often get paid late.

    I, as most people, would hate to see another independent take the plunge. But Speedwell seem to have some major issues, and unfortunately, until they are resolved, it is their customers and employees who have it hard.

    Sorry to be anonymous!

  5. i can confirm that the s50 is being withdrawn ive looked on vosa and it states

    * Cancellation Accepted: Operating between Mossley and Ashton given service number S50 effective from 15-Jun-2011.

  6. thanks for repleys I had a feeling it might come to this

    on the buses KX 54 NKH seemed to be breaking down a lot

    feel sorry for Joan she was the best driver on the route

  7. i agree with you mic joan is without a doubt the best driver out of all the drivers i know

  8. I wonder if this is the end for Speedwell then. They have also lost the 397 from Oct and there 3 Glossop school services from early 2012 plus if rumours are true the 343 is going Stott's in early July.

    I would think the ending of the S50 is a result of the public inquiry which was held last month against Speedwell. Not geard anything official but i wonder if they have been forced to make vehicle reductions.

    Only a few months ago Speedwell were hailing the S50 'a massive success' with lots more route's to come in 2011. Ive heard of putting a brave face on it but that takes the biscuit, but it seems last week the complaints got a bit too much for speedwell and they pulled there facebook page. I would think they will be gone by the end of the year, sad but true.

  9. I have mark Barson on facebook friends and he just sent me a message saying he was in Ashton for 30 mins today near bus stn and did not see a single S50 I find that very odd

    I got the 15.25 350 from uppermill home at Hey farm and it was full mind you it has been a nice day also saw 32509 on the 184 a West Yorkshire BT7L they look good buses

  10. Well knowing Speedwell, they have probably classed today as a bankholiday and not ran, ive been in Glossop today and there buses were all running up there.
    Now the S50 has been cancelled on the VOSA website they will do what they did with the S48 and just run when they want.

  11. I have gone back to the 350 about 4 weeks back I would like to see more newer buses based at Dukinfield wonder how long the arrows have got left 31951 seems to have dissapperd

  12. just to let you know also on vosa i saw the 239 is also going from 11/6/11 we will wait and see. mic to let you know tht the arrows arent quite going yet they are swapping them wih some from wigan depot. we will wait and see if speedwell will lose other routes like 394/5/6 many of there buses seem to be either getting sold off or off road

  13. james

    do you know what is replacing the arrows are they the B9s

  14. no at the moment they are just swapping around duki is the garbage bin of manchester and chester now as it always has been the arrows are going to be here for a while yet but i noticed last week we had a loan b6 from queens (40225) and we gained 31923/31927 from wigan but lost 31951 so we will see what will happen unfortunately the b9`s would take up to much room in the depot which is why we gained the metroshuttle solos to gain space as they cant swing a cat at night in the depot

  15. Hi James I saw 40225 broken down outside the rail stn

    would like to see 69309 to 14 at yours they have leather seats

    31923 was on loan as that has now gone back to Wigan

    I have nocited the 40360 to 406 struggle getting round the bend at Greenfield stn

    I get weekly news every sunday for firstbus and stagecoach and it said your depot has gained 2 new anncirrally vehicles 90432/34 are they in white livery

  16. I take it Annon is a driver at Dukinfield then by his last comment, great to have someone on the First side in the know.
    Ive noticed quite a few Dukinfield Solo's broken down recently in Ashton. Last Sunday i saw two receviving attention and later another being recovered.

    Not really surprising considering the 239 hardly carries anyone these days since Speedwell make the changes to that service. It sounds like hes either stream-lining his business or winding things up

  17. M Branson24/4/11 21:03

    Hi all

    I indeed saw no S50 at Ashton yesterday, looks as if they stopped it without warning.

    There was a new Facebook page set up by Tiggs Menesiero on Wednesday, called Disgruntled Speedwell Passengers. First comment by her:

    "As Speedwell couldn't cope with the complaints on their Facebook Site, I decided to start a site up specifically for passenger comments.... Even though it is for people let down by the Speedwell services, good comments are also welcome... The aim is to make them take notice of our complaints, with monthly print-outs being sent to Speedwell management (knowing the terrible service, this may change to weekly print-outs).... Invite your disgruntled friends, the more the merrier....."

    The new Speedwell Buses Facebook page was set up on the 13th of April, but hardly anyone's befriended them on this.

  18. thanks M B will take a look

  19. I actually think she has a personal axe to grind by setting up this page so beware. Shes made no secret that her Boyfriend/Partner worked for Speedwell and failed to be paid on time. It was these comments that forced Speedwell to pull the page.
    Only a few months ago she was defending Speedwell and dealing with complaints regarding the 343 on there behalf. She also campaigned to stop First taking the 343 from Speedwell, as they could 'serve the community better'.

  20. ok thanks will not look now anyway

    I bet the 350s will start picking up again now and so they should they are replacing the dennis arrows which are going to Wigan in due couse

  21. Im not saying dont look Mic, just be carfull what you say if posting. I carn't see what benifit the page will have. Speedwell didn't take any notice of comments on there own page, there hardly going to take notice of this one.

    To me it just seems like a way of attacking a sinking ship.

  22. could not find the page and I am suprised they sold them rattle minibuses to Yorkshire line the only good place from them is PVS found loads of photos on flicker of the scarp yards sad to see good buses go to waste

  23. James

    I was in Uppermill yestaday and a B7 from Huddersfield came in on the 184 32509 they have 2 buses on the route they seem good ones will try and get a ride on 1 sometime

  24. my mother was told today by a 350 driver that the S50 is no more

  25. Ted Jones26/4/11 00:08

    It's bad news for passengers on the 239 and S50 from now until there official cancellation, because if Speedwell's past performance on services they are cancelling is anything to go by, there both going to start running even more erratic than they probably already do.

  26. I know Ted bet people on the S50 will be shocked but it seems the 350 drivers know all ready they are selling £2.50 day tickets on 348/50 routes till the end of June

    with the S48 speedwell stopped running it a week before they where meant to and up Oldham rd S49 route are still on the bus stops

  27. quick question, know its a bit random but what eqquipment do you use up there in manchester?

    just wondering if it's any different to the eqquipment we use in hampshire?

  28. James

    I have seen 31951 back at Ashton today on staff shuttle

    not seen any s50s at all but saw the 343 when nearly home and the bus was still carrying value names

  29. They 239 will have to run till the end as its subsidised by TfGM, and if Speedwell pull off it they would be in breech of there contract.

    I find it really frustrating that operators are supposed to give 60 days notice when registering/changing/cancelling a service, yet Speedwell seem to do it at the drop of a hat and never seem to get punished for it, they clearly have little regard for there passengers as there was not even a notice on the S50 stand in the bus station. One word springs to mind COWBOYS.

  30. I saw the 343 bus still carrying speedwell value names which is a bit cheeky they should have the right names on

    all I say is just glad we have buses every 10 mins

  31. I think alot of people are thinking that Mic, and i bet First have noticed an increase in passengers in the last few days.

    I doubt Speedwell are to bothered about what names are on the sides of the bus. They arn't bothered about there passengers or there drivers, i doubt a little thing like a name would be any different.

  32. felix

    came back on 53144 yestaday been to Manchester then Train to Ashton got on bus and it was full

    I do feel sorry for Joan who drove the S50 and was the best driver out of the lot

  33. Mic im sure Joan will be OK. She was a good driver and i wouldn't be surprised if they have kept her on, but there are many other local ops that im sure would take a driver of her calibre on, maybe Stott's or even Checkmate.

    I notice that First have been running alot more Darts and even Arrows on the 350, i bet there much needed too.

  34. M Branson28/4/11 17:42

    If I were Joan, I wouldn't want to continue working for a firm like S**tewell.

    If Stotts do win the 343 tender from S**tewell in a couple of months like has been speculated, they will need more drivers. I'm sure the former S50 passengers would all be happy to supply references!

  35. yes Felix came home on 31925 tonight there seems to be swapping between Dukinfield and Wigan seen 31923 last week and now 31951 has returned

    there are rumors on that Wigan will be getting more PTE yellow school buses in september and the arrows days could be numbered there are no double decks coming from London as yet

  36. Well not sure if Speedwell are worried or just have spare vehicles but i noticed the Ceatano Nimbus Dart on the 343 today along with 2 Marshall darts. To little too late me thinks!

    The rumours suggest Stott's could be considering running the 343 commercially. The thought being that with clean low floor RELIABLE buses they could attract a lager number of passnegers, plus it would be ideal for driver change overs as the 343 passes Stott's depot on Lees Road.
    Fingers crossed.

    Interestingly Speedwell claim the S50 drivers were all made redundant on Friday, yet ive seen 3 former S50 drivers working on different services today. Could they be telling fibs?

  37. Hi Felix

    which ones did you see there is a bit in the Tameside adverster and they are blaming cuts in transport cash lets keep fingers crossed for stotts getting the 343

  38. Wow! Talk about thick & fast.

    I'm very surprised with these sudden losses, and I cannot comment on the service recently as I haven't set foot there in months, but I hope the co-owner sorts this out.

    I don't it think it would be fair to have there tendered 343 dragged into this if that's ran ok, but if all of this has happened then it will be difficult to retain tenders, unless viable reasons have been disclosed.

    Good to hear about the new buses for Stagecoach, and first's upgrades although i'd like to see First bring versa's or there own enviros for the 348/50, as it looks as if im on S1's when I return lol and i'd like to see a return of the investment.

    I hope Speedwell will be a reputable company with Tameside, but hat's off to others

  39. William ill forgive you as your in another part of the country and away from things here but Speedwell are not running the 343 OK neither most of there other services.
    Sadly with the 343 its been the case of operating it with high floor vehicles, and very late/early running or even buses that dont turn up at all.
    Only now the S50's finished have the low floor [knackered it has to be said] Marshall Darts been put on the service.

    You only have to look at the 353/354 since Stott's took over to why why they dont deserve tenders at the moment. Im told patronage on the 353/4 is up by 40% from when Speedwell ran it, the main reasons would be the use of 100% low floor vehicles and a very relaible service that always runs to time, no matter what.
    Ive never heard Stott's/Stagecoach or even First claim a service hasn't run becuase a drivers not turned up or becuase the bus has broken down and we dont have a spare.
    I hate to say it becuase i was a big supporter of Speedwell, but in my eyes they have lost there repute, alot of people have been loyal to them and have been put out by there recent antics.

  40. on breakdowns a 350 broke down last Monday and they sent another bus for the driver to use and left the broken one while the RV truck came which had to come from Bolton

    on stotts they use the same drivers at same times daily

  41. Stott's have always done this Mic, even there school services are operated by the same driver/same bus everyday.
    Its a good system as passenegers get to know the driver and vice/versa, and it makes the service a little more personal.

    Did First use there own recovery truck or was it an outside company. I noticed one of there Solo's being recovered last week in Ashton Bus Station but it was an outside company.

  42. yes it was an outside firm first do have a few RVs I think the best they us is 90128 based at Queens Rd but weather still there not sure but still on fleet list as there

    First Manchester are due to take over the school bus base at Wrexham with 60032 to 60042

  43. M Branson1/5/11 21:11

    Not operating the 343? Are you sure. From what I have seen over the last week, they have operated the 343 using the ex-Value buses, the Caetano Dart, and the 3 Marshall Darts. These better vehicles for the 343 are probably too little too late, and probably only temporary (until they get rid of them following the withdrawal of the remaining Value services). It would be unfortunate to see another independent operator cease to be, but passengers need reliable services and currently Speedwell can't be trusted to operate a bus service to any kind of acceptable standard.

  44. I think the contract for the 343 is up in July

  45. The comment about the 343 was going back to earlier in the year when trips were missed due to breakdowns etc.

    I agree completly though about the Darts being too little too late on the 343, if rumours are to be belived the 343 is to go to Stott's at the end of July.

    As for Speedwell's vehicles, who knows what will happen, im told the 2 Enviro's are still parked in there yard.

  46. M Branson2/5/11 08:18

    I thought they'd be running the Enviros on the 394. Then again, they've gotten about as unreliable as the Marshall Darts now. I, and probably a lot of people, hope you're right about Stotts taking over the 343. But it would be a while off - just under 3 months to wait for a decent service on the route on Monday - Friday mornings/daytimes. At least for some of the meantime, Speedwell haven't got the excuse of a breakdown with no spare buses in the depot lol.

  47. The 394 normally sees one of the Plaxton Darts and or the Primo. The Nimbus Dart does sometimes appear on it but dont think ive seen the Enviros yet.
    Who knows what will happen with the 343 though, Speedwell might throw in the towel next week or may run it right up till the July service change day, you just never know with Speedwell.

  48. M Branson3/5/11 21:07

    They are usually OK with services that are not stopping for good, simply changing operator due to the tendering process. They ran a normal service on the 353/354 right up until their last day on the route before handing over to Stotts. So I reckon 343 passengers probably don't have anything more to worry about than they already did with Speedwell.

    I think Speedwell's warped view seems to be that whilst services that will carry on in different hands (Stotts') after Speedwell's reign need to be maintained as usual for continuation (41/337, 353/354), if notice has been given about a service ending for good, then the service may as well have already ended and there's not really much point in providing much of the service (392, S48, S49), or any of it for that matter (S50). The exception probably being the 397, as they did the campaign and all.

    But as you say, who knows? The way Speedwell is at the moment, I wouldn't be incrediby surprised if their whole network just wasn't running from tomorrow, just like that.

  49. Joan who drove the S50 is still there doing the Hyde to Glossop route now

  50. Mark i see your point but dont forget Speedwell did pull off the 343 once before with no notice, and it was put out to emergency tender with First running the service for a few months until Speedwell decided to start running it again.
    The difference with the 353/4 was that Speedwell were contracted and paid to run it right till the end, if they had pulled off any earlier GMPTE would have probably taken them to court for breaking the terms of the contract, plus the 353/4 were speedwells 'better run' services.

    The 397 is another interesting one in that i have noticed since DCC has given it the axe Speedwell have started using Vario's on it, when at one point it was always run with Solo's.

  51. they still have R508 YWC in service saw it on 396