Passengers will be able to travel across Manchester city centre without having to change bus or pay more than one fare, under plans being consulted upon by Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive.
A 12-week consultation period has opened into the plans, proposed by GMPTE alongside Manchester City Council, Salford City Council and Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council.
The package of new routes would operate along key arteries:
- Boothstown to Manchester via the A580 East Lancashire Road and A6 Broad Street/Crescent/Chapel Street
- Middleton Bus Station to Manchester via the A664 Manchester New Road and Rochdale Road
- East Didsbury to Manchester via Wilmslow Road and Oxford Road/Street.
GMPTE said it wants to provide seamless bus links across the city centre supported by infrastructure that will help to cut journey times and improve reliability.
Cllr Keith Whitmore, chairman of Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Authority, said: "These are radical proposals that will provide a significant change in the way bus services operate through the regional centre.
"They will play a crucial role in improving the journey times and reliability of bus services for parts of Salford, Middleton, North Manchester and South Manchester that will, in turn, offer new and improved links to jobs, education, healthcare and leisure pursuits.
"By laying the foundations to encourage through-services to run we aim to make bus travel a more attractive, reasonable alternative to the car for these journeys."
The scheme is one of 15 major transport projects covered by the Greater Manchester Transport Fund, a £1.5bn, 10-year investment programme announced by the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities in May this year.
More than 80,000 consultation brochures will be distributed across the region during the consultation, and leaflets will also be available at local shops, newsagents, libraries and other outlets. There will also be eight exhibitions at public libraries, museums and other civic centres during the period.
Once the consultation is complete, work should start in 2010 and could be complete by 2013.