Author Topic: Bus deregulation 1986  (Read 4561 times)

Carl

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Bus deregulation 1986
« on: 23:26:14, 03/10/12 »
After talking about the bus station in Parker Street on another thread, I began to wonder if anybody had any recollections of the chaos that followed in 1986 when buses in Manchester were deregulated.  The idea of this was to introduce some competition on certain bus routes across Greater Manchester, so as well as Greater Manchester Buses (or GM Buses as it was known), there were also small companies introducing mini-buses.  One in particular I recall was the Bee-Line Buzz Company with its bright yellow mini-bus, but can't seem to remember the names of others.


Personally my main gripe about this was why GM Buses had to change some of the bus numbers.  The bus I always caught whilst working in Piccadilly was the number 94 which ran through Chorlton-[censored]-Hardy right up to Southern Cemetery and from here went to Levenshulme.  I was living in Old Trafford at the time and used to get on and off this bus on Seymour Grove.  As far as I know, the 94 ran for years until deregulation when it suddenly became the number 48 going towards Levenshulme, and changed to 49 when coming back to the cemetery for some peculiar reason.  This didn't last too long anyway and the number 48 was eventually decided on for both directions.


Also all the stops for that particular bus had changed in the Piccadilly area and I remember trying to get home on the first day of deregulation.  I eventually found the stop but I remember everyone boarding the bus asking the driver if they passed such and such a place, and so on.  It was truly chaotic for the first few days.
 



« Last Edit: 23:30:00, 03/10/12 by Carl »

Cupcake

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Re: Bus deregulation 1986
« Reply #1 on: 11:52:54, 04/10/12 »
It wasn't just Manchester.  The Thatcher regime decided to go UK-wide in allowing competition on transport routes that had previously been basically little regional monopolies that could charge Joe Public as they pleased, cos he had no alternative.   
 
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MargaretB

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Re: Bus deregulation 1986
« Reply #2 on: 21:01:40, 04/10/12 »
Oh my word, I remember bus deregulation!!!  Bus chaos would be a better description though.

Little buses, the Bee-Lines mentioned above, started running along routes that had never been bus routes before and would stop anywhere as long as you stuck out your hand.  Great for a while but people started to cotton on that if there was a gang of people waiting somewhere then all they had to do was walk toward where the bus would be coming from and flag it down - hence filling up the bus before it got to the crowd!  Oh what fun.  Actually, some routes were much fun at first but then too many bus companies were competing and Piccadilly became a dangerous place to be as drivers would fight for the parking spots.  It eventually got sorted out and now Stagecoach seem to be the main bus company.  Along Wilmslow Road for the student market I remember from Rusholme I could get a weekly bus ticket for 2.  Mind you, very few of the drivers spoke English and that particularly company got closed down after a tragic accident.  The buses looked like they were other companies' cast-offs.

For a while when they changed routes, nobody, including drivers and passengers knew what the correct route was.    One time the traffic was really bad so the bus I was on decided to go down little streets and cut out a big part of the normal route!  I felt sorry for anyone who was standing at the stops waiting for a bus that never showed up.

Wytchfynder

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Re: Bus deregulation 1986
« Reply #3 on: 21:46:00, 04/10/12 »
I'd long abandoned public transport by then but I do recall all the chaos and general annoyance and aggravation it caused. I recall Bee Line buses too trundling around and the roads clogged with 20/30 year old buses suddenly appearing 'out of nowhere'. There were some right old bangers knocking about.
Wasnt that about the time too that the late night 'boozer buses' stopped running?

Carl

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Re: Bus deregulation 1986
« Reply #4 on: 23:13:09, 04/10/12 »
Thanks for sharing your experiences.  I do know the Black Cabs were never more in demand for the first couple of weeks or so after deregulation.  The queues at the taxi rank in front of Piccadilly Gardens were huge during the evening rush hour as I guess people were fed up with trying to find out which bus they needed and where the boarding points were.  After a long day at work, you just want to get home quickly - even if it costs a few quid more. 


Cupcake

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Re: Bus deregulation 1986
« Reply #5 on: 11:31:30, 05/10/12 »
I thought deregulation was brilliant.  We previously  had one bus per hour to Warrington and one per hour to Altrincham running past my house, except that both services were taken off morning and afternoon to use the buses as school buses.  Miss the early bus and it was a two hour wait with no chance of getting to work on time.  There was another route, with one bus per hour in each direction, but it was well over a mile walk to get to the nearest stop from here and the timing of the buses gave you no chance of getting there in time if you missed your bus here.  No bus shelters either.  Then suddenly, because of the distance and the fares you could charge for it, we became worth noticing and things improved a fair bit!   
 
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Carl

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Re: Bus deregulation 1986
« Reply #6 on: 12:07:22, 05/10/12 »
Cupcake, I had no problem with regards to the competition itself, and if by introducing another bus company to operate on routes which were previously ignored actually improved matters for the public, then that's great.  My criticism was with GM Buses themselves.  Why on earth they couldn't just carry on using existing bus numbers, especially if the route remained unchanged, is beyond me.  In my particular example, they dropped the 94 and replaced it at one stage with 2 different numbers depending on which direction the bus was heading.  Also, shuffling around the bus boarding points in Piccadilly didn't help matters either. 


The last time I caught a bus into Manchester would have been in 1989, and I did wonder how it compares today from back in the 1980's.   :-\

Wytchfynder

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Re: Bus deregulation 1986
« Reply #7 on: 13:28:44, 05/10/12 »
I never understood why they changed all the numbers too. just adds to the confusion. and sometimes the buses were moved from Picc to Stevenson Square and vice versa. rare occasions I used them I'd always find myself asking the driver 'does this bus stop at?' etc. The 'old numbers' I'd previously used no problems were all messed up. I recall wandering around thinking 'wheres the -----g bus stop gone?  total shambles.

MargaretB

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Re: Bus deregulation 1986
« Reply #8 on: 14:44:58, 05/10/12 »
Actually, some of the re-numbering made sense.  For example they made all the buses that run along Wilmslow Road 40 something.  Confusion if say the 40 used to run on another route, that got a new number too.

I remember they seemed to lose the quirky services that ran from one side of the city to the other, e.g. 76 or 77 that ran from Fallowfield to Newton Heath.  Those services got lost.  I do remember there were always people on the bus asking where you had got on, where you were going, how often you used the service etc.

I was working in Trafford Park at the time working shifts so had to have a car but any time it was off the road, either in a garage or because it was a banger, then the buses were very difficult and Trafford Park became impossible to get to in time for an early shift and impossible to get out of after a late shift.  You had to have a car.

Wytchfynder

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Re: Bus deregulation 1986
« Reply #9 on: 15:11:03, 05/10/12 »
I remember that 77 bus, the one that seemed to take you on a magical mystery tour of the suburbs, and just when you thought it was finally heading towards the city centre, it would veer off and go somewhere else.
I recall the deregulation thing being annoying, I used to know the numbers and 'whats what' and 'wheres where'. whether going North or South Manc. things were a doddle getting home on the bus after a few beers (drink driving is a mugs game). cheap too. bet the taxi drivers made a right killing since.

celeste

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Re: Bus deregulation 1986
« Reply #10 on: 17:15:39, 05/10/12 »
I had to catch two buses to get to work at the Airport, one from Sale to Northenden and cross over to Longley Lane and get the 43 (which hasn' changed its number btw) coming from town to the Airport.
 
Have to say the 99 which goes down Brooklands Road through to Manchester has always had the same number, I take it when necessary as few people get on it so it is quite quick and the alternative tram is always packed nowadays
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Carl

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Re: Bus deregulation 1986
« Reply #11 on: 23:01:00, 05/10/12 »
I remember that 77 bus, the one that seemed to take you on a magical mystery tour of the suburbs, and just when you thought it was finally heading towards the city centre, it would veer off and go somewhere else.


Sounds a bit like the 81 bus I sometimes caught when I needed to get to Crumpsall after boarding it in Chorlton.  It seemed to take for ever to arrive there.  On top of that, sometimes it would stop about half way through the route to change drivers.   ::)   :)


Wytchfynder

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Re: Bus deregulation 1986
« Reply #12 on: 18:04:42, 06/10/12 »
Schoolboy memories of the 80, 81,82 and 88. memory fades but a couple of those numbers were to be avoided like the plague if you acrually wanted to get anywhere on time!
Think there was also a 265 which also did that 'magical mystery tour' aound the suburbs.
I also remember that little trick the drivers sometimes pulled. stopping maybe half mile or around the corner before the terminus and the passengers kept waiting whilst the driver counted up his money into his little bags. bit of an outright liberty really.

Jim44

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Re: Bus deregulation 1986
« Reply #13 on: 22:05:52, 06/10/12 »
If I remember rightly the 93 and 94 buses used to go straight up Stockport road via Ardwick Green through Longsight and terminate on Lloyd Rd Levenshulme. The 92 went the same way but terminated in Stockport. The 95 and 96 went via Stockport Rd, Slade Lane and Kingsway to East Didsbury. I think the 95 came from Whitefield and was shared with Salford corporation buses.

Carl

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Re: Bus deregulation 1986
« Reply #14 on: 22:13:50, 06/10/12 »
Schoolboy memories of the 80, 81,82 and 88.


Well as a schoolboy myself growing up in the 1970's, I remember the 82 bus although I don't recall the turnaround points, and the 81 already mentioned which ran from Chorlton bus station to Crumpsall Green.  Also the 62 and 63 which ran from Bury Old Road near Heaton Park and down Cheetham Hill Road into Manchester along Corporation Street.  I can't remember exactly where they went from here, but I'm sure the 75 bus took pretty much the same route until the city centre and then went onto Fallowfield.


I even recall catching the 35 which went to Bury, and the boarding point was on Cannon Street - which is now Cateaton Street / Exchange Square.