£76 Million Guided Busway from Manchester to Leigh
Past months have seen work being carried out on a new guided busway from Manchester to Leigh, set to be completed later this year. It has been confirmed by transport bosses that First Manchester will be in charge of the fourteen mile route, which will employ a new fleet of low-emission double decker buses, complete with free on-board Wi-Fi, in order to improve transport links between Manchester, Salford and Leigh.
The busway is set to reduce travel times from Leigh to Manchester considerably by around fifty minutes, an achievement that will be made possible through the use of a four mile stretch on guided concrete ‘tracks’ built on an unused railway between Leigh and Ellenbrook. Along the East Lancashire Road, the use of dedicated bus lanes and priority junctions will also enable journey times into Manchester from Leigh to be considerably reduced.
The route will have an average of thirty stops each way, including terminals at Leigh bus station, Atherton town centre, and within the Oxford Road site of the Central Manchester NHS Foundation Trust Hospital, making travelling to the hospital easier and more convenient.
Three park and ride sites with more than 400 free parking spaces available are planned for Leigh town centre as well as on Astley Street in Tyldesley, and close to the M60/M61 junction along the East Lancashire Road. The busway is also expected to link into the wider transport network with close ties to the Metrolink stop at St. Peters Square and the train stations at Oxford Road, Salford Central and Salford Crescent.
Leigh MP Andy Burnham welcomed the plans for the guided busway with open arms, saying that the people in Leigh have had to wait far too long for an affordable, convenient transport network.
However, the construction of the guided busway hasn’t gone down too well with many Manchester residents, with many taking to social media to complain about the amount of traffic caused by the construction work. The busway is also set to take up a complete lane on the East Lancashire road, meaning that on completion there will be only two car lanes in use rather than three, which has caused some concern about the amount of traffic which may occur.
Andy Burnham, however encourages car drivers to leave the car behind and give the bus lane a try, as he believes that it will be an excellent, genuine alternative to running a car. He’s also confident that the busway will be successful in opening up new job opportunities for young people in Leigh, as public transport access into Manchester City Centre will be easier.
The good news for anybody with a concessionary permit is that travel along the busway will be free during off-peak times, and for those who don’t, prices are probably more affordable than you realise.
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