Busway to city is booming

The guided busway
The guided busway

Public transport chiefs say they are on course to better the 2.1million passengers who used the guided busway from Leigh to Manchester in its first year of operation.

And this success has prompted the consideration of further park and ride provisions, to run alongside Leigh’s East Bond Street and Tyldlesley’s Astley

Reorganisation of the city centre leg of the journey, with Oxford Road being reopened in April, has seen totals using the route each week pass the 50,000 mark.

In the first 12 months of operations, just over 40,000 people were using the V1 and V2 buses, which run along the former rail bed to Manchester before joining the East Lancs Road at Ellenbrook.

In a report to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s capital projects committee, service head Alex Cropper, says eight buses an hour now run to the city during the daytime, via Princess Street and Oxford Road, after that route reopened, to Central Manchester Hospital.

Mr Cropper added: “Since this route change, patronage on the service has remained strong with around 50,000 passengers per week utilising the service.

“In its first full year the busway carried in excess of 2.1 million passengers, a significantly higher level than had been originally envisaged.

“Based on the first four months patronage in 2017/18 it is expected that this figure will be surpassed.”

Critics have frequently complained of peaktime delays with the busway - and the occasional car or van attempting to gain access to the double-deckers’ lane.

But Transport for Greater Manchester bosses say they have been working to consistently iron out hold-ups of between 20 and 30 minutes.

One ongoing headache, with parking around the Newearth Road area of Salford, is set to be tackled with a series of new traffic regulation orders.

An extra 30 to 40 parking spaces should become available at the Astley Street park and ride this autumn, following a clearance scheme.

Mr Cropper said: “Opportunities for additional park and ride provision adjacent to the guided section and the A580 continue to be explored, in conjunction with local authority partners, Wigan Council and Salford City Council.”