All quiet in the High Peak

Autumn’s moving along fast with still no news on the proposed merger between TrentBarton’s Buxton operation and Centrebus owned Bowers Coaches.

All of Bowers and TrentBarton’s services will come under one umbrella in the High Peak district of North Western Derbyshire very soon. Including the long distance and long established Transpeak service from Nottingham and Derby via Matlock, Bakewell, Buxton and Stockport into Manchester. Probably one of the most scenic routes in the country.

It’s a funny situation because from my experience of the Trent network in the early 1990s, Bowers routes are mostly former Trent routes. The 58 over the wonderful ‘Cat & Fiddle’ road to Macclesfield and the 188 & 189 to name a few.

Personally I believe a partnership between both Centrebus and Wellage could mean good things for the High Peak district. Better coordination with services like the 42, 442, 185 and 186 for Fairfield, Burlow is a good example, coupled with through ticketing, day riders etc. Plus if a couple of  Welglade owned TM Travel’s routes joined the party, the 65 for example, this would create a handsome, fresh, brand new network!

One part of me finds it interesting and very exciting the formation of a new company, with a network radiating from Buxton, serving the High Peak but the sentimental part of me finds it sad to see the Trent & Bowers brand disappearing from the area. I suppose in the same way the previous generation did in seeing the end of the North Western Roadcar era too.

Hopefully we’ll have an update on the situation soon.

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5 thoughts on “All quiet in the High Peak

  1. Is lack of competition here not a problem if it does ever happen?
    I do recall that this was one of the reasons that they had the inital operating license request refused for this very reason…

  2. I wonder whether the apparently slow progress is due to the interest of the Competion Commission and the OFT. Today’s post on the Omnibuses blog at http://omnibuses.blogspot.com/2011/11/foot-shooting.html
    would suggest that the CC and OFT would take a dim view of Wellglade and Centrebus ceasing to compete with each other. After all, the residents of Buxton and the High Peak will lose the benefits of the higher frequencies and lower fares which they presently enjoy due to the present competitive situation !

  3. Personally I don’t think there’s too much competition issues between Trent & Bowers.
    Bowers are only running the very routes Trent decided to relinquish. The 76 to Sherwood Road is a good example, Trent’s former 187?? still running till 2002-04 ish. Technically the only competing service is the wonderful 61 route avoiding Dove Holes via the old Manchester Road, Goyt valley (highly recommended views up there) where it meets the skyline 199 at Whaley Bridge-New town/New Mills along the A6.
    So Why do Trent have an interest in their former routes now? Has it been considered that disposing of certain services in Buxton was a bad decision back in the day. Matlock for instance is another area Trent withdrew from. (with the local services anyway) A bad decision in withdrawing services & letting the local underdog expand. Partly forming a local network, with the help of the County Council’s tendered services. 
    Did Trent think perhaps Bowers could be a potential threat on the Stockport routes in the near future & the owners-CentreBus actually made Trent an offer of merger, to good for Trent to refuse?
    Have all the local bus companies made bad choices regarding relinquishing routes, turning down chances of running the tendered services within their “territories”?
    Premiere springs to mind here in the northeastern suburbs of Nottingham with NCT (Pathfinder) & their withdrawal of the tendered work to the outlying villagers of Gedling Borough. In moves Premiere & the Woodborough Road corridor suddenly becomes a lucrative way of earning extra revenue on the back of some tendered services & a bus war begins. Was NCT better off operating the contracts at a slightly lower price than any of the other bidders & therefore guaranteeing 100% “ownership” of the Woodborough Road corridor as previously enjoyed by the company?

    I can’t believe I’m saying this but isn’t it time we moved back to regulation again with operators having to guarantee service levels, coordinating networks plus where appropriate evenings & Sunday’s too, paid for partly from support by way of the current council funding & profits from the daytime services?
    Reason I feel this way is because of the current winter situation at the Lincolnshire coast. The withdrawal of services beyond Chapel St Leonards on Sunday’s plus the loss of the hourly mon-sat evening journeys.
    Why couldn’t the 2 hourly Funded IC9 be interworked with the commercial half hourly number 1?Therefore the passengers travelling further north than Chapel St Leonards would in theory only be having to pay the way  for the section between Chapel & Mablethorpe rather than the whole service from Skegness. Another twist here was that the commercial Number 1 ran only a few minutes in front of the funded IC9! 
    Funny the commercial service didn’t run just behind the funded service, but in an ideal world if it did I somehow imagine Mablethope would still have a Sunday bus service. 
    It’s good news for the operator in theory. Six less funded bus services won’t be duplicating the commercial service each Sunday.
    Basically what I’m saying here is I feel the entire public transport system is letting the people who need it down. Simply by a lack of coordination, through ticketing, networking, a central control organisation locally as well as the commercial & funded aspect too.
    Services are being withdrawn at quieter periods because there not quite returning a profit for the shareholders, funding is drying up, companies are fighting with each-other when money & resources could be diverted to better improvements elsewhere. 
    It’s a tough one, dereg’!
    Going back.
    With the right management team, support from the County Council & not an all about profit attitude this “High Peak” venture could set a brand new standard for the future. Hope it’s all good……

  4. Have to say, when I first heard about high peak I assumed it was a way of TB divesting it’s self of some of it’s more marginal routes whilst not losing face or public support.

    • Perhaps that’s simply the case. When you look at the state of transpeak these days it makes me wonder if another operator was to challenge the route, trentbarton would withdraw immediately??

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