#AYearOfBuses 42: Manchester – East Didsbury – Stockport
Providing the backbone for one of Europe’s busiest bus corridors, the 42 is quite simply THE staple food of the Mancunian bus diet.
The 42 runs from Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens bus station, through the heart of the universities and out towards Fallowfield, East Didsbury and Stockport, in the south of the city. With a bus timetabled every 30 seconds at peak times along its busiest section, the 42 is the lifeblood of what is claimed to be Europe’s busiest bus corridor: Oxford Road, in Manchester city centre.
And as you’d expect…over time, this means that every man and his dog had have a stab at winning a slice of this lucrative route.
Since deregulation, GM Buses, MTL, North Western, Walls of Manchester, Bullocks, UK North, Stagecoach (including with their low-cost offspring, Magic Bus 142), Finglands, and First (are we missing any?) have all had a pop at the 42, each with varying degrees of success.
Bear with us here, whilst we try to untangle the puzzle.
After fierce competition with MTL, North Western and its Bee Line Buzz Co subsidiary, GM Buses sold their south Manchester operations to Stagecoach – who introduced their bargain basement Magic Bus brand to fight off the rest of the pack. Walls sold out to Stagecoach, Bullocks were also bought by Stagecoach, UK North were a dangerous bunch of bandits who were unceremoniously put to the sword by the Traffic Commissioner, Finglands were bought by EYMS and then by First and most recently…First closed their former-Finglands Rusholme depot – leaving only Stagecoach standing amongst the pile of burning ashes. The victor.
Today, the 42 is very much a Stagecoach and Magic Bus stronghold – but as history has taught us to question…how long will it be before the next contender enters the arena?