Thursday, 14 March 2013

Minimum Money Makes Manchester Mysterious

Another "First" pull-out? News is coming through that First Bus is to withdraw from "some" routes in Northanpton. It is not clear, yet, what "some" means; but they haven't got many to withdraw from.
click on the map for a readable version

Presumably an Edinburgh-type situation where nobody wants to buy? OR (possibly) will First keep a profitable route (or two) and then sell? fbb has alerted his Northampton correspondent and eagerly awaits more details.
Now to Manchester ...

Episode 1
Straightforward - or is it?
Stagecoach's route 370 runs from Stockport bus station ...
... nestling notably in the shadow of the vast visually evocative viaduct. [poetic eh?].

Stockport bus station serves as a bus terminus for approximately 65 bus services in the Greater Manchester area. It was opened in 1981

and was formerly a car park and light industrial area. It is adjacent to the headquarters of Stagecoach Manchester.
The 370 continues westwards to call at the Parrs Wood bus station and entertainment complex, sadly not quite close enough to provide a good  interchange with East Didsbury railway station.
Parrs Wood not-quite interchange!
Buses, right : in trees next to leisure (?) centre
East Didsbury station, lower left

The road and route then turn north to serve the real and traditional centre of Didsbury itself.
Then back westwards along the remarkably straight Barlow Moor Road ...
... before turning south again to join the more direct road via Timperley to Altrincham; where there is interchange with Metrolink and the hourly rail service from Manchester to the wilds of rural Cheshire. 
Whilst the train zips along between Stockport and Altrincham in 16 minutes ...
... the 370 takes 53 minutes as does the 11A which is, more or less, the former route 371 renumbered. The more frequent 11 takes about 75 minutes. 

All very interesting (?) we hear you cry. But why does this rather ordinary Manchester service attract the interest of the fat bus bloke?
What has happened to the 370 challenges the wisdom of how bus services are managed in the 21st century, in particular the way less commercial routes are financed, as a closer look at the timetable will reveal.


 Next Bus Blog : Friday 15th March 

1 comment:

  1. Whilst the East Didsbury terminus can involve a bit of walking, changing between 370/rail is one of the easier maneuvers, with the westbound stop by the rail underbridge and the eastbound stop opposite the entrance to Tesco car park. The 370 will also have the benefit of stopping very close to the forthcoming Metrolink stop, just off picture to the NE in your aerial shot.