New service set to improve bus travel

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A GROUND breaking route to better bus services is set for Wigan.

The Quality Bus Partnership (QPS) which has already delivered benefits for passengers across the county is now being rolled out across the borough.

Services on the A6 bus route into Manchester have met high levels of service regularity, punctuality, reliability, vehicle quality and customer service.

The route improvements have been spearheaded by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) with partners Stagecoach Manchester and the surrounding councils.

Along with improved bus services, the scheme has met high targets for passenger information, highway and shelter repairs, and bus lane enforcement.

Further partnerships schemes are now being developed for key routes in Manchester, Salford, Rochdale and Wigan, aimed at improving services and boosting bus use.

Now a Voluntary Partnership Scheme is planned for the A579 between Wigan-Hindley-Atherton-Leigh later this spring with the full support of Wigan council chiefs and the operator.

Chair of the TfGM Committee Coun Andrew Fender said that in the county, there was an excellent history of partnership and the results along the A6 bus corridor had demonstrated just what could be delivered by working together.

He said: “As well as improving the passenger experience, better bus services reduce the impact of traffic congestion on economic growth and people’s health and the environment.

“Over the next few years TfGM will be delivering some major schemes to improve bus services across Greater Manchester, with a multi-million pound investment in bus priority and facilities.

“Quality Partnership Schemes will be crucial to capitalise on and protect the level of investment in those routes, so I look forward to seeing more being introduced across Greater Manchester over the coming years.”

Buses serving the show piece A6 route travel every five minutes in the peak carrying around 10 million passengers a year.

Stagecoach is currently delivering 40 new hybrid-electric vehicles equipped with free Wi-Fi for passenger use.

The operator has introduced more inspectors on the route to help improve the regularity of bus services, and manage any gaps in service. Buses are also being cleaned mid-service.

Christopher Bowles, managing director of Stagecoach Manchester said: “The A6 Quality Partnership has considerably improved the overall travel experience for our passengers along this route.”

“Through the Quality Partnership Scheme councils have a legal obligation to protect the bus priority measures for the following five years.

“On a voluntary basis they are also measured on the enforcement of bus priority measures such as bus lanes.”