X35 First Bus Service to Manchester

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The X35 Bus Service operated by First Bus is an important link between Edenfield, Stubbins, Ramsbottom, Holcombe Brook and Manchester City Centre.

Whilst we had no official notification, following complaints by residents, Bury Council’s representative on the Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) Committee, at our request, raised the issue of the X35 with First Bus on Monday 8 August 2016 and they confirmed our concerns that the X35 service would soon cease to run from 4 September 2016.

It has been stressed to First how important this link from the north of Bury to Manchester City Centre is, and requested that they look at alternatives – as an example, two buses during each morning and evening rush-hour rather than the current four, thereby consolidating two buses into one. Alternate routes and limited stop services based on existing services were also discussed.

First have agreed to look at these and other options to see if they are viable and their Management have given us the following statement:

“Whilst we recognise that not all of the X35 journeys are quiet, it is the case that the costs of running this limited stop service are currently not being covered. We are not unlike any other business in that we cannot continue running a service which is losing money, however we are continuing to look at alternative options that could be commercially viable.

I am sorry that as things currently stand the four journeys in each direction will no longer operate from 4 September. However, withdrawing a service is always a last resort and further discussions will be taking place next week to consider possible solutions.

I will come back to you with a more detailed response once these discussions have taken place, and certainly within the next week.”

Update – Friday 19 August

First Manchester has today announced a revised timetable for the X35 service that connects Walmersley to Manchester via Bury to commence from September 4.

The revised change in service replaces the original proposal to withdraw the X35 service which will now provide four limited stop journeys instead of the current eight.

The changes, which are subject to final approval from the Traffic Commissioner, will provide two journeys in the Manchester direction in the morning peak, and two journeys in the Ramsbottom/Edenfield direction in the afternoon peak.

The new timetable will be in place until January 2017, to allow for ongoing discussions to take place on the long-term viability of alternative options that are under consideration.

Further details are available at http://www.firstgroup.com/greater-manchester

Ian Humphreys, Head of Commercial for First Manchester said, “We’ve listened to feedback from our customers and have been a able to introduce a revised X35 timetable that will give us the time to review the service and consult with partners to look at all available options.”

We would like to thank Cllr Noel Bayley, Bury Council’s TfGM representative for his assistance with this matter.