Direct frequent Vantage services between Leigh and Manchester via Salford and an improved 52 service from Salford to Eccles are the highlights of changes to bus services in the area from 3 April.
The improved route 52 will continue to serve customers between Failsworth, North Manchester General Hospital, Cheetham Hill, Salford, Eccles and intu Trafford Centre but between Cheetham Hill and Eccles there will now be up to six buses per hour serving Salford Shopping Centre and Salford Royal Hospital providing enhanced links across the area. The new 52 service will replace the 41 service between Manchester and Eccles which will now run between Sale and Manchester to improve reliability by avoiding delays in the city centre.
As part of the network of changes, services 12/25/26 and X34 journeys operated by First Manchester will largely be replaced by the new Vantage services, new service 35 and an improved X39. Although the 39 night bus will no longer run, services will run as late as midnight every day of the week on the new Vantage route.
New service 35 is a local bus service maintaining connections between Leigh, Astley, Tyldesley, Little Hulton, Walkden, Roe Green and Swinton. The new service provides easy access for customers wanting to change onto Vantage at Tyldesley, as well as short trips into local town centres and community hubs. Certain peak hour trips will extend to/from Manchester to maintain key commuter links however other customers will benefit from a reduction in delays as the majority of journeys will no longer operate in and out of Manchester city centre.
The improved X39 will operate a revised route through Little Hulton, Walkden, Old Clough Lane, East Lancs Road and direct to and from Manchester.
Also from 3 April, the new Vantage services will provide quicker and more reliable bus connections between Leigh/Atherton, Tyldesley, Salford and Manchester on the North West’s first guided busway service. There will be four buses an hour throughout the day from Leigh (service V1) and Atherton (service V2) meaning passengers travelling from Salford will benefit from eight buses an hour – making travel easier and helping people reach key employment, healthcare, retail and leisure facilities more easily. Customers will benefit from a fleet of high quality, quiet, low-emission hybrid buses with free Wi-Fi, USB charging points, climate control and on-board “next stop” audio and visual announcements.
Ian Humphreys, Head of Commercial for First Greater Manchester said, “We’re pleased to be able to introduce new and direct links in April including the stunning, state-of-the-art Vantage services giving customers premium services at everyday fares. For some customers, our revised service network will replace some existing journeys maintaining most links through replacement services such as the new 35. These new connections will enable customers to benefit from both the important local links as well as the quicker and more frequent journeys into the regional centre.”
Councillor Roger Jones, executive lead member for transport, Salford City Council, said: “I am delighted with the investment in 20 new First buses to operate the new Vantage busway. At over £300,000 each, this is a significant investment in the Salford bus network to provide eight buses an hour through Salford.”
You can find out more details including timetable information on the First Manchester website.