The 349 started life in 1995 and was probably an over-ambitious attempt to get people to park their cars away from pressure spots in Saddleworth. To that extent the service was organised by Peak National Park, Oldham MBC, North West Water, GMPTE and Greater Manchester Police.
Every Sunday from 30th April to September 24th 1995 Glossopdale provided two buses which worked on a half-hourly frequency from Uppermill along Carr Lane and Queensway to the Satellite Youth Centre at the end of Wellington Road, Greenfield. This was the “Park and Ride” car park and although it was not very big, it turned out to be more than adequate to meet demand. It was signposted by some very visible signs on Chew Valley Road.
The bus waited time here and met the one in the opposite direction. It would then continue to the end of Wellington Road and directly to Dovestone reservoir car park. This reservoir is a popular attraction in summer and has limited parking, the idea of the service was to try to ease pressure here and in Uppermill village. However, people did not like to leave their cars and the buses trundled around Saddleworth empty, the principal source of traffic apparently being churchgoers attracted by the 20p flat fare.
1996’s service was operated by JP Executive Travel and was less ambitious. It still served Dovestone reservoir but proceeded directly through Greenfield to Uppermill and then continued to serve Brownhill Visitor Centre, Diggle and terminated on Standedge at the car park near the Pennine Way. This site had once been the Blue Peter Transport Cafe. This service ran hourly from May 5th to September 29th 1996 (with a break for lunch) but seems to have also attracted little traffic and thus the 349 service quietly disappeared.
The concept was tried again with the same success in 2010 and 2011 with the DS1 and DS2 services - see their separate gallery.
© David Beilby