East of the M60 Advent Calendar: 02 December 2011

2. A state of the art hybrid engined Optare Versa

Metroshuttle 2 (Silver) Optare Versa, Deansgate, Manchester

Over the last 18 months, First Manchester’s Metroshuttle routes have been revolutionised by the arrival of hybrid engined Optare Versas. Its Versas have four liveries. As well as separate liveries for each Metroshuttle route (1 to 3), there is also a fourth silver livery for any of the three, if the route specific bus isn’t available. This example is seen on Deansgate by the junction of Bridge Street and John Dalton Street.

Bus Route of Christmas Past: Launched in 1994, Pennine’s 2 service was almost a direct copy of SHMD’s 15 Shaw Hall Circular. It followed the Newton to Hyde section of the 346 route then turned left at the Cheshire Cheese pub to join Lodge Lane, where it would follow part of the 389 route. It was renumbered 42, in line with sister route 41 (which then provided Yew Tree with direct links to Hyde as well as Ashton). Today, the 2 is no more (replaced by 387 in 2004 along with Hyde bound 41s), much of which followed by the 346 route.

Bus Route of Christmas Present: Our number 2 continues the FirstGroup theme by means of a First Eastern Counties route. Operating every half hour, First Eastern Counties’ 2 offers Great Yarmouth (Barrack Estate) residents a direct link with Gorleston and the James Paget Hospital. During the daytime, extra services run between Great Yarmouth (Market Gates Bus Station) to Barrack Estate. An hourly evening, Sunday and Bank Holiday service provides a shuttle between Barrack Estate and the town centre.

S.V., 02 December 2011