Some of Greater Manchester's independent operators will be on the road less from next month following a round of service changes announced by GMPTE.
Vale of Manchester made a brave move when they launched service 66 in November. A commercial service running from Clifton Junction to Hope Hospital, it competed with existing subsidised service 70 (albeit via a different route). Well, just 6 months on, the service is set to be withdrawn from the 24th of May. The change was spotted by a keen-eyed Manchester Buses reader in GMPTA documentation (since removed from the internet) a couple of weeks ago, but it's now been confirmed.
Speedwellbus, meanwhile, lose the contract for the 307/308 Stockport-Brahmall circular, with Stagecoach Manchester taking over from the 12th of May. It looks like they'll be losing the 390 (Stockport - Bramhall) too, although GMPTE's notes simply say 'operator changed'.
Public holiday journeys on Bluebird-operated service 78 (Manchester - Oldham) are to be withdrawn, while the public holiday times on their 77 service (Manchester - Moston) are changed. These changes won't be too much of a problem in the Beswick and Newton Heath areas as Stagecoach run commercial service 76 between Manchester and Failsworth on public holidays. Passengers further along the routes of service 77 and 78 may be affected though. Bluebird will also cut their commerical service 75 back from Chadderton to Moston, following its trial extension a few months back.
Rossendale Transport's Citysmart brand launched the X46 service between Manchester and Weir late last year. In January they extended the service, which currently runs hourly every day (with extra journeys between Bacup and Manchester through most of the day creating a roughly half hour frequency Monday to Saturday). We're guessing the most business they've been doing has been between Rochdale and Manchester, as from the 4th of May they're withdrawing the X46 and replacing it with service 16 along that section of route only.
You may remember First used to run a peak-only, limited stop service 16 between Manchester and Rochdale a few years ago to complement their standard stopping service 17. First since replaced their 16 with service 20, which follows the route of service 24 via Chadderton instead of Middleton. City Smart's 16 will run every 30 minutes, Monday to Saturday, and X46 passengers further north than Rochdale can connect with the new service via service 464, which has revised times. Just try not to get Arriva's 16 by mistake and end up in Altrincham!
Speaking of Arriva, May sees them altering peak period times on services 360 (Wigan - Warrington) and 365 (Wigan - Leigh).