Aberdeen, Scotland, 2017-Mar-27 — /Travel PR News/ — Transport bosses are celebrating an early birthday present for the North West’s first guided busway as passenger numbers hit the two million mark.
Figures released today by First, which operates the ‘Vantage’ service of specially adapted buses along the guideway, connecting with Manchester city centre, show that more than two million passengers have used the service since it started last April.
The Leigh to Ellenbrook guided busway forms a key part of the £122m ‘bus priority package’ that includes a series of measures that has seen over 25 miles of improvements to Greater Manchester’s bus network.
Once complete in late April, the full scheme will enable the Vantage service to run its full intended cross-city route. Work to deliver the completed route is nearing the end on Oxford Road – marking the conclusion of over five years of work to revolutionise bus travel for millions.
Cllr Andrew Fender, Chair of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee, said: “The number of people travelling on the busway is phenomenal and the latest figures really underline how important the busway has become to the people of Leigh, Atherton and Tyldesley in such a short space of time.
“In its first 12 months it’s revolutionised the way more than 45,000 people a week travel – which is exactly what we knew it would do when we set about designing it.
“We’re all absolutely delighted that it’s performing so well and I’m confident that it will go on to achieve even greater things when the Vantage service fully extends to Oxford Road in the coming weeks.”
The busway not only provides buses with a quick, car-free start to their journeys, it also uses a fleet of state-of-the art hybrid buses each coming with free Wi-Fi, “next stop” audio and visual announcements, luxury seats, tables and USB charging on board.
Andy Burnham, MP for Leigh, said: “The fact that more than two million passengers have used the service in less than a year shows how well received the guided busway has been.
I regularly hear from local people about their positive experiences and so it’s a huge advantage to have such an innovative transport system on our doorstep.”
Lord Peter Smith, Leader of Wigan Council, said: “It has been a very successful first year for the guided busway service and it is fantastic to see how popular it has been.
“The council together with our partners has been committed to this project for many years so it is particularly gratifying to see it is thriving and growing in popularity.
“The recent additional Vantage services are also helping to open up new educational and employment opportunities for people in the east of the borough.
“It is one of Wigan Council’s key priorities to improve connectivity in the borough and the guided busway is helping us to deliver on this.”
The whole investment has been designed to make bus journeys into and across the city quicker and more reliable to key employment, education, health, retail and leisure destinations in Salford and Manchester city centre.
Oxford Road is currently being transformed into a European-style boulevard which prioritises bus, cyclists and pedestrians.
Phil Medlicott, Managing Director of First Manchester, said: “Within the first 12 months the Vantage service has enjoyed enormous success and we’re all immensely happy to see that so many people have chosen it as their preferred mode of transport.
“When the final piece in the bus priority jigsaw completes in April, we’ll be able to run the full service out to Oxford Road.
“We look forward to working with TfGM to make sure we continue to meet their aspirations for Vantage going forward.”
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