The first customers have been welcomed on board Vantage today as the bus services were launched on the North West’s first guided busway.
Operated by First Manchester, the fleet of 20 new, bespoke, state-of-the-art buses now connect Leigh, Atherton and Manchester in as little as 50 minutes. The high-specification, low-emission hybrid buses have Wi-Fi and USB charging points, plush seating, audio and visual stop announcements and climate control.
The Busway services are being delivered in partnership with TfGM, Wigan Council, Salford City Council, Manchester City Council and First Manchester, providing premium services on the 14-mile route linking communities between Leigh, Atherton, Tyldesley, Salford and Manchester. Busway services will be able to run free from congestion on a 4.5 mile guided section linking Leigh, Tyldesley and Ellenbrook providing super-smooth, rapid connections for passengers thanks to a unique concrete track.
The busway forms the flagship element of Transport for Greater Manchester’s bus priority investment, a £122 million overall package enabling people to enjoy faster, more punctual and more reliable bus services across the region, to, from and through the city centre. Work on the shared path along the route will be completed over the next few weeks, weather dependent.
TfGM’s contractors have faced some challenging weather conditions over the last few weeks which have affected their ability to complete the laying of the shared path surface – but they are working hard to have it open to walkers, cyclists and horse riders as soon as possible. Approximately a quarter of the path will be open from launch and other sections will be opened as the path is completed.
The scheme includes three park and ride sites in Leigh, Tyldesley and on the East Lancs Road that, collectively, provide more than 400 spaces that are free to use by anyone continuing their journey by bus.
“We’ve been proud to welcome our first customers on board. Vantage is a premium service at everyday fares and passengers have been very impressed with the luxury interiors and smooth run on the new guideway. We’re looking forward to welcoming more customers on board to enjoy the reliable and frequent connections between Leigh/Atherton, Tyldesley, Salford and Manchester.”
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