The borough's bus services are on the right track after being nominated for two prestigious prizes.
The flagship guided busway and a Stagecoach depot employee have been shortlisted for accolades in the UK Bus Awards.
Vantage, the special service put together by First Manchester and its partners to serve the route between Leigh and Manchester city centre, is up for the Peter Huntley Memorial Award for “making buses a better choice”.
Mark Mageean, an employee of Stagecoach Manchester at its base in the borough, is also shortlisted for the Young Manager of the Year prize.
The two nominations feature on an impressive list of 106 organisations, individuals and companies in contention for picking up prizes for excellence in delivering bus services.
Mark Yexley, chairman of the UK Bus Awards, said: “We have some truly inspirational people working in the bus industry, leading innovation and outstanding improvements in the customer experience.
“They show unrivalled commitment in delivering a first-class service day in, day out. We’re very proud to be able to recognise and reward these people and initiatives that really make a difference.”
The guided busway, a multi-million pound project overseen by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), has been recognised for shortening journey times by up to half an hour between the borough and Manchester.
The route runs along a 4.5-mile guided section before joining premium bus lanes for the remainder of the journey.
The awards judges were also impressed by the 400 spaces available for commuters at the park and ride sites in Leigh and Tyldesley and on the East Lancs Road, the eight services an hour and the high-tech facilities on the buses.
The busway was used by 28,000 people in its first week and that almost doubled within the first year, with 20 per cent saying they had switched to travelling by bus since April 2016.
More than half said they had access to a car, either as a driver or passenger, but were choosing to use the busway instead.
Stagecoach staff member Mark, meanwhile, was shortlisted for his work since arriving at the Wigan depot in autumn 2014.
The awards panel was impressed by his “analytical approach to managing punctuality issues” and “using feedback from staff and customers along with analysing GPS data to make improvements to punctuality”.
Judges said he is a friendly and approachable leader who is well respected among staff at the Ashton depot and ensures he has first-hand knowledge of the role by going out driving buses on a regular basis.
Six panels of independent judges had to whittle down more than 250 nominations to the field which will compete for the 19 category prizes.
For more information visit www.ukbusawards.org.uk