Leigh busway reaches passenger landmark

The Vantage guided busway service introduced to connect Leigh more effectively to Salford and Manchester has been used by two million passengers since launching in April 2016, operator First has announced.

The busway forms a key part of Greater Manchester’s £122m bus priority package. The 4.5-mile bus-only guided section connects Leigh and Ellenrook before joining the East Lancs Road and running along a prioritised route.

Once final works are completed in late April, the Vantage service will run its full intended cross-city route to Oxford Road in Manchester city centre.

Cllr Andrew Fender, chairman 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.”

The hybrid-powered buses come with free Wi-Fi, “next stop” audio and visual announcements, tables and USB charging on board.

Lord Peter Smith, leader of Wigan Council, said: “The council 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.”

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This is a fantastic piece of travel infrastructure.

By Liverpool1234

Agree with Liverpool1234. Why aren’t these used more (the guided element) rather than trams? Strikes me it would be a hell of a lot cheaper to build in the first instance (though the buses are wider I guess) and cheaper to run/maintain going forward. Answers on a postcard please..

By John

If its not broke don’t fix it leave it running into Piccadilly and Stevenson’s square

By tony

Whoa! Cllr Andrew Fender is getting carried away with himself. Words like ‘revolutionised’ and ‘phenomenal’ are way over the top. Truth is that The Guided Busway Service is only a temporary improvement and a poor substitute for a dedicated link into the Greater Manchester Metro Network.It remains an opportunity lost due to the lack of vision by its planners who could, and should, have ‘revolutionised’ the lives of people living in Leigh, Tyldesley and Atherton but failed to deliver.

By john K

Didn’t Leeds try something similar about 20 years ago then abandon it?

By neilb

Yes Leeds had a guided bus route in the city, not sure if it still exists?

By Rosie York

Why is there no proper transport from over hulton to m/c this area is last outpost to morrococo

By Anonymous

Check out the results on Google from a bigger, and more mature, guided busway implementation in Cambridgeshire – appears to have a similar take up rate. Not sure it’s an either/or vs light rail, if it works, it works.

By Rich

Some strange comments here.
There are currently 14 guided bus systems in the U.K. Three older systems have been changed to conventional buses,
The uses of part of the old rail loop system from Leigh to Ellenbrook is an excellent example of regeneration. An additional length from Ellenbrook into Monton is possible in my opinion, and perhaps may be considered in the future. This could link into the Metro at Eccles.
There was no missed opportunity, especially re trams. 5 million passengers per year would be needed for tram viability, the Leigh system might reach three million per annum. Also the routes available would mean journey timeswoukd have been well in excess of the guided bus/ELR corridor. Heavy rail wasn’t an option, no capacity available.
I agree that some services should remain going into Piccadilly.
I’m working on TfGM to convince them to invest in a park and ride provision near M61 J4. This could be used in conjunction with a bus lane along the A6 through Nicolas Hill, Little Hilton and Walkden. I’m also investigating the old loop lines in the Walkden area to test the plausibility of converting one or more to guided bus ways to link into the Leigh-Ellenbrook system at Ellenbrook.
No doubt more dedicated bus corridors will appear in the U.K..
35% of true commuters into Manchester/Salford still use their cars. They are blocking up the highway network and need to be persuaded to use the bus.
The Leigh-guided BusWay is a great success both economically and from a journey time perspective.

By Terry Dean

Great to see some informed comments there Terry.

By LinSig

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