394 – The story so far …
: Following on from news of the announcement by High Peak Buses / Centrebus, that they would be withdrawing the Monday to Friday service on the 394, various folk have been in touch asking for more information on why / the background to what’s happening.
The 394 Glossop to Stepping Hill service has been a long standing service running from Glossop to Stepping Hill in some variation of its current format, with various different companies including Speedwell, GM Buses, Trent and Pennine Buses, having run the service at one point or another.
Since January 2012 when Speedwell Buses ceased operating High Peak Buses / Centrebus have operated the service.
The service was initially run under an emergency contract (tendered) to DCC (Derbyshire County Council) / TFGM (Transport for Greater Manchester), however in Feb / March 2012, a new contract was awarded to Smiths of Marple, however rather than loose the service High Peak / Centrebus decided to continue running the service on a commercial basis.
Since then, there have been a number of occasion where the timetable has been changed for better or worse, along with a number of occasion where various journeys would be cancelled only for them to be reinstated following contact.
This is addition to several to several short-lived additional services which were introduced by High Peak Buses / Centrebus on some parts of the route.
The most significant cut / change proposed was back in 2013 when, High Peak Buses / Centrebus advised they were withdrawing the service on a Saturday, however DCC and TFGM, stepped in and at a cost of roughly £350 a Saturday, the Saturday service continued.
Back in March 2015, the service was extended to Stockport, with some changes to morning departure changes, this extension was cancelled in October, and but for the work of passengers a number of journeys would have been cancelled in the November.
The November 2015 changes did see a bus close to 08.00am removed – meaning that to get to Marple / Stepping Hill before 09.00am your only choice is the first bus at 06.40am.
The current situation
Earlier this month High Peak Buses / Centrebus advised (without any consultation) that with effect from Sunday 27th March, the commercial part of the service – the Monday to Friday service would be withdrawn leaving only the currently subsidized / tendered Saturday service running.
Following the announcement High Peak Buses / Centrebus were asked why and they advised that the running costs of the service are no longer being met on the weekday service on the 394 which is operated on an entirely commercial basis and as a result they have had to withdraw the service, advising :
“I understand that this decision may cause some inconvenience to some passengers, however at the same time I would like to assure you that this is not a decision that has been made lightly.
Unfortunately, with the reducing government funding it is difficult for bus operators to maintain commerciality on services, however we will continue to work in partnership with the council to try and ensure that key bus links are maintained where possible.”
What you can do about it
For the moment there are four main things you can do :
- Sign our petition – click here or use the link on the right hand side. (if you know folk not online – you can download a paper version and it’s also available to sign in a number of shops on Gamesley along with the Volunteer Centre in Glossop).
- If you use the service get in touch (click here) with details of how, and what this change will mean to you.
- Complain / Contact High Peak Buses / Centrebus, Marple College, Stepping Hill Hospital and our MP to let them know what effect this change will have.
- If you know occasional users / folk not online – please let them know about this change.
We will have further details on other things you can do shortly !