168 Tonnes of Love: Valentine’s Day Debut for Hybrid Buses

Fourteen Enviro400H buses launched on 50 service from East Didsbury to MediaCityUK

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Relaunch: Councillor Roger Jones, TfGM’s Ryan Carter, Councillor Barry Warner and Stagecoach Manchester’s Christopher Bowles seen outside MediaCityUK with one of Stagecoach Manchester’s new hybrid vehicles for the 50 service. (Photograph © 2014 Tangerine PR)

Whilst a great many passengers were exchanging soppy presents and cards, or viewing St. Valentine’s Day with great indifference, Stagecoach Manchester decided to spread some hybrid bus love around Manchester and Salford.

On Friday 14th February, Councillor Roger Jones, TfGM’s Ryan Carter, Councillor Warner and The Lowry’s Tania Mahmoud, attended a ribbon cutting ceremony, where Stagecoach Manchester’s managing director, Christopher Bowles, spoke about the impact the new green buses will have on the local environment and the route.

The success of their reinvigorated 50 service to East Didsbury has resulted in the arrival of fourteen electric hybrid buses. In the last eighteen months, its extension to MediaCityUK from Albert Square has seen a 57% increase in patronage. Passengers on the 50 service, courtesy of one of fourteen Enviro400H double deckers, will also be treated to free WiFi access.

Over three million passengers per annum use the 50 service, having helped to reduce congestion around Anson Road and Oxford Road. From East Didsbury (Parrs Wood), it reaches MediaCityUK via St. Mary’s Hospital, Manchester and Salford city centres. It also stops at near Manchester and Salford universities and Salford Shopping City.

Speaking about the investment into the route, managing director of Stagecoach Manchester, Christopher Bowles, said: “The route has clearly had a huge impact on the way that many people commute to work and university. The increase in passenger numbers not only shows how we are helping to take cars off the road, but also that we are offering customers a reliable service.

“The new buses have shown our further commitment to improving our service offering to customers and the environment.”

The hybrid vehicles will help reduce CO2 emissions by 35 per cent over the course of one year, compared to a standard bus.

To further celebrate the launch of the new buses, a Stagecoach Manchester ‘angel’ took to the streets and handed out 14 Valentine’s Day gifts to people in MediaCityUK, East Didsbury and the city centre. The gifts included vouchers for popular restaurants and bars along the 50 route.

Christopher continued: “As our launch took place on Valentine’s Day we wanted to take the opportunity to give something special back to our loyal customers and potential users.

“What better way to do that than give people the chance to experience some of the great destinations on the 50 route.”

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Welcome Aboard: The Lowry’s Tania Mahmoud guides Messrs Jones, Warner, Bowles and Carter onto one of fourteen Enviro400Hs allocated to the 50 service. (Photograph © 2014 Tangerine PR)

Important Landmarks and Attractions on or near the 50 service:

  • Parrs Wood Entertainment Centre (including Cineworld multiplex cinema);
  • St. Mary’s Hospital;
  • Victoria Baths;
  • University of Manchester;
  • Manchester Town Hall and Albert Square;
  • Salford Museum and Art Gallery;
  • University of Salford;
  • MediaCityUK;
  • The Lowry Centre.

Trivia:

  • The TESCO store at East Didsbury retains the clock tower of Manchester Corporation’s former Parrs Wood depot;
  • On School Lane (which crosses Kingsway) was the Capitol Theatre, which was at one time ABC’s Manchester studios. Prior to ABC losing its Northern English weekend franchise to Granada, Opportunity Knocks and Armchair Theatre were filmed there (I mean that most sincerely, folks…);
  • Fallowfield Retail Park is on the site of Manchester Corporation’s Birchfields Road depot;
  • The 50 is probably the only Stagecoach Manchester service to have a number of TESCO Expresses, standard TESCO stores and a TECCO Express. The last one is not a misprint, but a sneaky misspelling on a corner shop in Pendleton.

S.V., 18 February 2014.

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