2008 really does appear to be a year of great change for Manchester's bus landscape. Already Vale of Manchester and LA Coaches have disappeared from our roads and Maynes have been bought by Stagecoach. Now it seems that Bullocks are to hand over their bus business, R. Bullock, to Stagecoach too. We're hearing from multiple sources that R. Bullock drivers received a letter yesterday informing them of the sale.
Like Mayne, Bullocks has been a famous name on Greater Manchester's roads for a long time as an operator of both bus and coach services. We understand that the deal would affect just the bus business, with coaches remaining privately owned. The deal is subject to Office of Fair Trading approval.
If approved, this deal would see EYMS-owned Finglands as the last competitor to Stagecoach on the Wilmslow Road corridor, once a hotbed of competition as companies such as Walls, R. Bullock and UK North all competed for students' business. Haytons Coaches, with one journey per hour under GMPTE contract on service 44, would be the only other operator leaving the city centre via Wilmslow Road.
R. Bullock's journeys on service 42 (Manchester - East Didsbury) are barely used through most of the day (it's uncommon to se any more than a handful of passengers on them) so they'd likely to adsorbed by Stagecoach's 142 Magic Bus services along the same route. Other than that there's contracted service 42A (Manchester - Reddish), service 147 (Piccadilly Station - University and Hospitals circular), service 157 (Manchester - Woodford) and contracted evening journeys on service 312 (Stockport - Handforth Dean), all of which would both most likely transfer unchanged to Stagecoach ownership.
More on this story as we get it.
Thanks to James McCollom for the tip-off
[Image credit: Gene Hunt on Flickr]