Transport for Greater Manchester to restore former Little Gem bus routes - all the changes announced

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Here are all the changes to Greater Manchester routes affected by the collapse of Little Gem.

Several bus routes in Greater Manchester that were affected by the closure of Little Gem earlier this year have been restored by Transport for Greater Manchester.

Little Gem ceased operating on 22 April and emergency contracts have been in place since then. TfGM has now secured long-term contracts with bus companies for school and bus routes until January 2025.

The new routes will come into force on Sunday 23 July.

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What are the new routes?

Diamond Bus is taking over the 84 service and it is being renumbered 87. The route has been extended to create a link between Chorlton and Manchester Royal Infirmary. The 44 service, which served MRI and Moss Side, is being withdrawn, but parts of that route will now be incorporated into the new 87 route.

TfGM have announced changes to bus routes following Little Gem’s collapse in April. Photo: TfGMTfGM have announced changes to bus routes following Little Gem’s collapse in April. Photo: TfGM
TfGM have announced changes to bus routes following Little Gem’s collapse in April. Photo: TfGM | TfGM

The closure of the 44 service also affected the Royal Oak estate in Baguley, which will now be served instead by a re-routed 18 service. This service will also be extended through Trafford Park to Eccles on evenings and Sundays.

Diamond Bus is also taking over the daytime 336, 337 and 389 services, which have been covered by First temporarily.

Belle Vue will continue to run the 280 service, but it has been changed to run between Altrincham and Partington. The route between Partington and Sale will be covered by Warrington’s Own Buses service CAT5, which will now run Altrincham to Warrington via Sale and Partington.

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Warrington’s Own Buses X5 service will also be replacing the 288 service, which will be extended from Altrincham to Manchester Airport. The X5 will also now be routed via Bowdon Vale, replacing the Arriva service 287 and freeing up resources to extend the 281 service, which will be extended from Sale to Sale West in replacement of the 261 service. The 260 and 262 routes will now also be withdrawn due to the proximity of alternative routes.

The CAT5 and X5 services will include a new evening service, and the X5 will also run a new Sunday daytime service.

A new 385 service covering Stockport, Bosden Farm, Hawk Green, Marple and Mellor will replace the daytime 375 service. TfGM say this will help cover areas with no other public transport alternatives, but it will no longer run via Hazel Grove or Stepping Hill Hospital, which will now be covered by the Local Link service.

In September, school routes previously covered by Little Gem will continue.

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Local Link

Local Link is a transport service for areas with limited public transport. A new Local Link service has been set up for passengers travelling across East Stockport, to and from Stepping Hill hospital.

The Local Link service in Partington is being withdrawn, but it will now be partially covered by the new CAT5 and X5 services.

There will also be a new Local Link service in South Manchester for journeys to and from Wythenshawe hospital, as well as Withington hospital.

Manchester bus routes affected by Little Gem’s collapse have been restored Photo: TfGMManchester bus routes affected by Little Gem’s collapse have been restored Photo: TfGM
Manchester bus routes affected by Little Gem’s collapse have been restored Photo: TfGM | TfGM

What has TfGM said?

Nick Roberts, TfGM’s head of non-franchised and transition bus services, said: “I would like to thank all the operators who have worked with us during this difficult period, including those who stepped in the short and medium-term while more long-term solutions were explored.

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“While we haven’t been able to replace all affected routes on a like-for-like basis due to issues around affordability, we believe the new arrangements provide improved connectivity for passengers.

“Replacement services have been agreed on some routes which would otherwise be withdrawn, and I would encourage people to visit our website for the latest information.”

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