In with these services I have also grouped the special park-and-ride bus service from Uppermill to Churchill Fields operated for one day only for the 2010 Saddleworth Show on the 13th June. Not only did it share quite a bit of route with the DS1 and DS2, but it also took advantage of the commercial arrangements already in place for those services.
The DS1 and DS2 were christened the Saddleworth Hopper and the objective was to attract people into visiting Dovestone reservoir using public transport. The timetable was arranged so that the service made connections in each direction with both the 180 bus and the rail service at Greenfield station and to this end a different timetable operated on Sundays compared to Saturdays.
The service was sponsored by a whole range of organisations including Oldham Council, Saddleworth Parish Council and the RSPB who now administer Dovestone and its surroundings.
It was never made clear what the difference was between a DS1 and a DS2 and I have not attempted to distinguish them.
Although alternate journeys only ran from Dovestone to Greenfield station, they still continued to Uppermill, out of service, to turn round. Buses were provided by Checkmate Transport Ltd. who worked it using one of two Optare Solos as seen in the photos.
Surprisingly, given the poor loadings, the service was revived in 2011, but with a different format. The timetable was simplified to give a half-hourly service from the Saddleworth Pool car park in Uppermill to Dovestone. Cheaper fares were introduced and this meant that restrictions were applied to avoid abstracting revenue for commercial services, mainly the 350. The service was operated by First from the Dukinfield depot using Optare Solos and a small, dedicated pool of drivers. It ran for quite a short season and was no more successful than the 2010 service and was not resurrected for 2012.
© David Beilby