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Mansfield Bus Station
Opened 1977

1 & 2. The drivers' canteen is above the waiting room. There is a bus enquiry point and a Skills office selling coach holidays, day trips and tickets for National Express. The bus station toilets are free to use but with limited opening times. The cafe, boarded up for several years, has recently reopened with tablecloths!

Waiting room
Farewell . . .
Mansfield Bus Station 1

by Oliver Foreman

Added to website 20 March 2012


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OK so it's got another year or so to last. No doubt there will be further tributes but I thought I would get in my two penny worth now.

Many people say good riddance to this scuffy bus station that seems to attract the worst behaviour in some people. I say that at least it is spacious and could be vastly improved at a fraction of the cost of building a new one. Having noted how Nottingham Victoria and Newark bus stations greatly contracted in size when renewed, I have fears that economic restraints will cause the same to happen at Mansfield. The fact that to the best of my knowledge there has never been a public clock perhaps sums up the attitude of whoever runs it. Hopefully, great thought has gone into the new facility at the planning stage.

Construction has started on the new bus station so the days are numbered for the current one, opened in 1977. There are over 60 daytime bus departures per hour, not counting the free Tesco and Bingo buses, and National Express and holiday coaches.

Timetable provision has been improved and a small enclosed waiting room was added around ten years ago. There are 15 loading bays and room for around 12 buses to park when off service.

Commercial services are run by Stagecoach in Mansfield (with a depot in the town) and trent barton. Most tendered routes are run by Doyles of Alfreton, with one provided by Yourbus. Stagecoach and trent barton also provide a few tendered journeys.

School buses are provided mainly by Stagecoach, McEwans, Doyles and Redfern's who also provide the shuttle bus and other runs on contract to West Notts College situated on the edge of the town. McEwans have the contract for a 7 days a week shuttle between Walker's Bingo and the bus station. TM Travel run a free shuttle in the middle of the day between the bus station and Tesco's on Chesterfield Road.

The population of the Mansfield district is around 100 000. Most local buses have a daytime headway of 15 minutes, though Mansfield Miller (Woodhouse - Mansfield - Sutton - Huthwaite) runs every 10 minutes. There are daytime buses (number per hour in brackets) to Sutton-in-Ashfield (14); Nottingham (9); Kirkby-in-Ashfield (6); Derby (5); Hucknall (5); Warsop (5); Ripley (5); Alfreton (4); Shirebrook (4); Edwinstowe (3); Chesterfield (2); Ollerton (2); Southwell and Newark (1); Worksop (1); Eastwood, Heanor and Ilkeston (1); Bolsover, Clowne, Eckington and Sheffield (1 every 2 hours). Mansfield bus timetables may be linked to from the Nottinghamshire County Council website HERE.

In recent years, few places around Mansfield have lost their bus service. However, it is worrying to read on the Mansfield page of the Stagecoach bus website that severe cuts are being made to evening services from April 1st 2012. Two large estates (Ladybrook and Oak Tree) are to be left without any evening services. This is taken from the website:

From the start of the new financial year the Department of Transport is applying a 20% cut in the tax rebate known as Bus Service Operators Grant, effectively adding 39p to the cost of every gallon of diesel we buy.

We have been working hard to reduce our fuel consumption and maximise our efficiency as a business. However, this fuel cost increase will inevitably mean that we have to raise fares and withdraw some bus journeys where there are few people travelling. High mileage routes are particularly affected.

Bus services in Mansfield are operated within a Quality Bus Partnership with Nottinghamshire County Council and consequently we have discussed the amendments to timetables and withdrawals with council officers.

We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience to customers caused by the forthcoming April changes. It is always the last resort for Stagecoach East Midlands to reduce or withdraw any bus service but we are unable to sustain routes or timetables that become commercially unviable.

This is bad news indeed for regular bus travellers.

In addition to the bus network, there are several National Express coach routes through the town, and the Robin Hood railway line, connecting Mansfield with Nottingham and Worksop.

All the photographs and the video below were taken by me on Saturday 17 March 2012, except those of Redfern's college buses and a couple of other photographs which were taken at tea time on Friday 16 March 2012.

I do not claim to be an expert on bus numbers, body types or the history of particular vehicles so if I have made any mistakes I apologise in advance and I am sure you will put me right! Enjoy.

Oliver Foreman
March 2012

New bus station

3. The new bus station under construction. The train (moving from right to left) has just left Mansfield Town station and is heading towards Worksop. A covered walkway will link the new bus station to the train station. More information about the new bus station may be found on the Nottinghamshire County Council website HERE.


REDFERN'S: Here are the buses used on West Notts College contracts on the afternoon of Friday 16 March 2012. Alas, no VR! Note that Johnson's of Worksop and Redfern's of Mansfield are under common ownership. They pick up in Walkden Street, immediately outside the bus station.

West Notts College contract

4.

West Notts College contract

5.

West Notts College contract

6.

West Notts College contract

7.

West Notts College contract

8.


FREE BUSES

Free buses

9. Tesco pays TM Travel to run a free bus between the bus station and the store just outside the town centre. The service runs between 1000 and 1500. Sainsbury's are building a super store on the other side of town. They state they also will run a free bus from the bus station. I wonder who will get that contract! As the new store is next to the Bingo Hall it would make sense to combine it with that service (see below). We shall see.

Free buses

10. McEwen's operate this not easily missed double decker on the Walker's Bingo contract. I was disappointed it was not their newly acquired Volvo/Alexander B10M. Such an excellent vehicle brings back happy memories to an ex Stagecoach East Midland driver.


PRONTO: Pronto (Nottingham - Mansfield - Chesterfield) is a joint venture between Stagecoach East Midlands and trent barton. It has been very successful, necessitating increased daytime frequencies 7 days a week. There is talk of a further improved service. Night buses run on Fridays and Saturdays, last departures from both Nottingham and Chesterfield at 0300. One drawback is that trent barton mango cards and zig zags and Stagecoach Day Explorers are not accepted, making a journey involving a change of bus very expensive. Pronto has its own website HERE.

Free buses

11. A trent barton Pronto backs off the stand on its way to Nottingham (every 15 minutes). Am I correct in saying that revised regulations will soon dictate that the front display must show the final destination at all times?

Free buses

12. Here a Stagecoach Pronto heads for Chesterfield (every 30 minutes). These MAN buses have not been a resounding success, sometimes to be seen broken down at the side of the road. Speaking as a passenger, I find some develop a highly annoying what sounds like an exhaust resonance, booming at certain engine speeds. The latest orders for new buses by Stagecoach do not include MAN chassis.


Other public transport from Mansfield

Robin Hood Line

13. The Robin Hood Line (run by East Midlands Trains, part of the Stagecoach Group) operates regular services from Mansfield to Nottingham 7 days a week and to Worksop 6 days a week. It is about a four minute walk from the train station to the current bus station.

National Express

14 & 15. National Express run directly from Mansfield to a large number of destinations throughout England, South Wales and to Scotland. A list of services may be found on the Carlberry website HERE.

National Express


DOYLES'S: Doyle's has won several Notts CC tendered contracts around Mansfield and Sutton-in-Ashfield. The 17/18 are busy between Mansfield and Oak Tree, passing through a vast residential development in which Stagecoach so far has shown no interest, but observation suggests that the devious route from Mansfield to Sutton carries few passengers. Even fewer appear to be carried on the 19. The double decker (its capacity needed on weekdays for morning and afternoon school runs) stands at the back of the bus station for most of the day. For 15 minutes each hour it runs round the Berry Hill area, but few forsake their cars. The 4 runs to Forest Town and Woodhouse.

Doyles tendered services

16.

Doyles tendered services

17.


trent barton: Every trent barton service that runs into Mansfield, except the 141, is route branded. Most are garaged at Sutton Junction, about 3 miles from Mansfield.

West Notts College contract

18. These Optare buses were new when this route was rebranded as Rainbow 3 . . . and have been on it ever since. If you are in a rush, do not get the 3A as it bumps round seemingly endless estates between Sutton and Hucknall. These Optare's have done sterling service! The busiest part of the route is between Hucknall and Nottingham, but there is much competition with the tram, the Robin Hood train line and Premiere bus company.

West Notts College contract

19. The nines run every 15 minutes between Mansfield and Derby. Thoughtful marketing and attention to detail have greatly increased patronage. Most people travel for fairly short journeys, the full route taking about 1 hour and 40 minutes.

West Notts College contract

20. The other route between Mansfield and Derby (the Black Cat) takes even longer! It is quicker to catch a Pronto to Nottingham and a Red Arrow to Derby, though in so doing you would miss the paw marks on the seats and the fascinating cat tales (not tails) to keep you alert!

West Notts College contract

21. The ninety is the latest to be route branded. Like the 9.1 and 9.2, it calls at the ever popular East Midlands Designer Outlet (though most use its former catchy name of McArthur Glen). Special fares, presumably subsidised by the Outlet, are available from Mansfield, even for people with a Stagecoach DayRider changing onto a trent barton bus.

West Notts College contract

22. The 141 (Nottingham - Hucknall - Blidworth - Mansfield - Skegby - Sutton) is a very devious route. I am pleased that at least on the day of the photographs all 141s were full size buses, rather than Optare Solos. On its way out of Mansfield towards Nottingham, the hourly 141 forms part of a 15 minute frequency with Stagecoach on Southwell Road, close to where I live. The Solos soon fill up, especially when us oldies come out with our passes! Because of Stagecoach cuts, the two hourly tendered evening 141 journeys will be the only buses running on Southwell Road to Rainworth and Blidworth.


YOURBUS: Yourbus comes into Mansfield on tendered service 9 from Worksop. In the daytime, this sevice (hourly) is more frequent than it has been for many years, though there are now no evening or Sunday buses. As the Robin Hood line trains north of Mansfield Woodhouse have also been discontinued on a Sunday, Worksop, just 10 miles away, can no longer be reached from Mansfield by public transport.

Back of a bus

23. (See also image 4)


Reading material for Mansfield car drivers!

Back of a bus Back of a bus

24 & 25.

Back of a bus Back of a bus

26 & 27.

Back of a bus

28.


Mansfield Bus Station

29 & 30.

Mansfield Bus Station


STAGECOACH IN MANSFIELD: With about 75 full size buses (no mini or midi buses nor coaches except for driver training) Stagecoach in Mansfield, part of Stagecoach East Midlands, is by far the largest operator in the town. Weekly Megariders, covering the town and in addition as far as Sutton-in-Ashfield bus station, currently cost £9.50 (Dayrider £2.80). The Megarider Plus covers a much wider area, including Clipstone, Shirebrook, New Houghton, Glapwell, Blidworth, Rainworth, Warsop, Meden Vale and Huthwaite, and costs £12 (Dayrider Plus £4.20). NiteRider buses, financed by a consortium including the night clubs, operate on special fares to all main areas on Sunday mornings up to 0300 from the town centre (not the bus station).

Many buses running in Mansfield have been passed down from other Stagecoach operators. All single deckers are low floor but often around three high floor Volvo Olympian double deckers operate in all day service (though officially they are provided for two school buses running between Newark and Mansfield).

Stagecoach in Mansfield

31. The Mansfield Miller (1 Woodhouse - Mansfield - Sutton - Huthwaite) has proved very successful. These 53 reg Darts were new when the route was rebranded. It seems shortly the service will have a further new fleet of buses. Originally, each bus had on view a different chapter of the tale when the king, dressed as a peasant, lodged in the house of the miller, who was poaching the king's deer.

Stagecoach in Mansfield

32. Each bus has a different reason on the back to leave your car and jump aboard. Unfortunately, some of the buses were sent to Lincoln to be converted to gas operation. In fact this never happened to the Darts, but to Optare Solo's instead. One journey an hour is extended beyond Huthwaite to Alfreton, replacing the withdrawn Trent 94.

Stagecoach in Mansfield

33. The 16 route to Forest Town and Clipstone was rebranded the Clipstone Clipper and given these MANs. Unlike the MANs on Pronto, these vehicles have a centre offside emergency exit.

Stagecoach in Mansfield

34. The 23 (Mansfield - Pleasley - Shirebrook - Langwith) was given these low floor Dennis Tridents, originally route branded Shireline. However, when repainted the branding disappeared.

Stagecoach in Mansfield

35. The only Stagecoach 'intruders' from another depot are when three times a day a 28 based at Newark (an outstation of Lincoln depot) enters Mansfield bus station.

Stagecoach in Mansfield

36. Several low floor double deckers which originally ran in Manchester have been cascaded to Mansfield. Some came via Hull and ran for some time in Frequento branding and still have interior advertisements for a book celebrating 110 years of public transport in Hull.

Stagecoach in Mansfield

37. These Darts were not new to Mansfield but were brought in for the original rebranding of Pronto (Nottingham - Mansfield - Chesterfield). At least one still has a pink roof to prove it. From the passengers point of view, they seem quieter and smoother than many more modern buses.

Stagecoach in Mansfield

38. These X reg Darts, the town's first low floor buses, were new to Mansfield, mainly for the town services to Oak Tree, Ladybrook and Bull Farm. They have served the town well, though some drivers claim that their small, high revving engines find it difficult to get going with a full load when a stop at the traffic lights is necessary on the steep Skerry Hill (where many years ago a tram carrying a hundred or so miners ran out of control with tragic consequences).

Stagecoach in Mansfield

39. The Volvo Olympians soldier on! On the day I took these photographs at least three were in all day service. Despite the stepped entrance, many drivers prefer them to more modern double deckers. Certainly as a passenger, my favourite seat at the front upstairs has lots of legroom on these vehicles, unlike the miserly space allocated on the Enviro 400s.

Stagecoach in Mansfield

40. The 53 route, which can be traced back to Underwood's, the forerunner of East Midland Motor Services, is now down to every 2 hours during the daytime, and may not last much longer as a through service to Sheffield. This MAN was delivered at the same time as the Pronto pink ones to act as a spare (though it does not have the leather seats of the Pronto branded buses).

Stagecoach in Mansfield

41. Another Dart cascaded to Mansfield. These ones, with their prominent destination displays, came from Lincolnshire Road Car and are very popular with the drivers who claim they are smoother and more lively than Mansfield's 'own' Darts.

Stagecoach in Mansfield

42. Another cascaded Dart on route 10 (Rannoch Drive - Mansfield - Woodhouse - Warsop - Edwinstowe), the only daytime tendered route that Stagecoach operates in Mansfield. On Sundays, this is one of three routes to serve Sherwood Forest Visitors' Centre, once the bustling hub of the Sherwood Forester network.

Stagecoach in Mansfield

43. Stagecoach in Mansfield Sutton Road depot, built to accommodate trams, at about 1015 on Saturday, 17 March 2012. Most buses are earning money on the road. On the right appears to be a spare bus in case of breakdowns and on the left is a vehicle used for promoting good health. Against the back wall stands a long line of 'dead' buses, mainly Volvo Olympians, possibly never to see further service. But who knows?


VIDEO
This 8 minute video, hosted on YouTube, is taken from the top of the car park overlooking the bus station. Its aim is to give the flavour of Mansfield Bus Station at Saturday lunchtime. Unfortunately, wind noise spoils the commentary, so you may wish to turn off the sound.

Click on the PLAY button in the middle of the video

Mansfield bus station

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Mansfield bus station

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Mansfield bus station

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