Hazel Grove sees history in the making just off the A6
- £3million investment emphasises the key role of private sector before DevoManc;
- New site and £12million hybrid electric bus fleet set to cut 6,000 car trips a month;
- Bus minister Andrew Jones welcomes Stagecoach initiative.
Yesterday, Stagecoach Manchester opened Britain’s first ever privately owned Park and Ride scheme. Excluding Christmas shuttle services to Manchester and Stockport, it is also Greater Manchester’s first facility of its kind. The £3million scheme is situated just off the A6 in Hazel Grove, Stockport.
The new scheme demonstrates private enterprise’s role in widening Greater Manchester’s transport options and its prosperity, well in advance of DevoManc. It has 400 car parking spaces and parking space for cyclists – part-funded by Transport for Greater Manchester. Expected to take 6,000 cars off the road per month, it allows motorists to continue their journey to Stockport or Manchester on the 192 service.
From Hazel Grove, they can board one of Stagecoach’s 40 hybrid electric buses – part of a new £12million fleet dedicated to the 192 service. Onwards to Stepping Hill, Stockport, Heaton Chapel, Levenshulme, Longsight and Ardwick before getting to Piccadilly Gardens, s/he could enjoy a good book or use the free WiFi.
Stagecoach Manchester managing director, Christopher Bowles, said: “This substantial investment by Stagecoach in Greater Manchester’s first bus Park and Ride facility demonstrates our commitment to provide affordable and accessible transport for the region.
“The £12m fleet of hybrid electric vehicles (part funded by the DfT in 2013) which will serve the Hazel Grove Park and Ride, will enable our customers to benefit from the latest green technology the industry has to offer while they travel to and from one of the most exciting cities in the UK.
“In the long term, this Park and Ride will also relieve the region’s roads of an estimated 6,000 cars per month, helping us to significantly reduce the level of carbon emissions in the local area.”
Greater Manchester is also set to benefit within months from multi-operator smart ticketing as part of a pledge by the country’s major public transport groups.
Stagecoach Group chief executive Martin Griffiths said: “We are fully behind plans to make Greater Manchester a real economic powerhouse of the north. Transport is central to making that happen and the bus is the most important and accessible form of public transport.
“This ground-breaking investment in the country’s first privately-funded bus Park and Ride initiative demonstrates the importance of the private sector in making the government’s devolution plans and Greater Manchester’s aspirations a reality.
“We have a shared responsibility to get the most from the nation’s bus network. It connects people with work, health and education, and is crucial to the economic health of the high street. With continued austerity and stretched public funding, the private sector more than ever has to be part of the solution.”
Developed in association with Manchester-based transport consultants SCP, the Park and Ride facility has been built on former wasteland at the junction of Buxton Road and Macclesfield Road. The supervised facility includes toilets and a covered waiting area.
Councillor Andrew Fender, Chair of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee (TfGMC) said: “I congratulate Stagecoach Manchester on the completion of its long-term aspiration to open a Park and Ride at Hazel Grove. It will complement the previous investment we have made to improve passenger journeys along the A6.
“I’m particularly pleased to see the new cycle parking facilities incorporated and hope that it will encourage more people to consider cycling for part of their journey. Linking different modes of travel together like this helps to build an integrated transport network which will make it easier for people to travel into and around Greater Manchester.”
Bus minister, Andrew Jones said: “I applaud Stagecoach Manchester for investing in this bus Park & Ride scheme which will make it easier for people travelling to Manchester to get to work, do their shopping and visit friends and family.
“This facility will link communities and the cleaner, greener buses will also help improve air quality by reducing traffic congestion in surrounding areas, and encouraging people to take public transport rather than driving their cars into town centres.”
Since 1996, the number of high frequency bus services operated by Stagecoach Manchester has doubled, with the company investing an average of £5million a year in new buses alone for the region. Manchester has the greenest bus fleet of any major city in the UK outside London, with Stagecoach Manchester alone operating 128 hybrid electric vehicles.
To celebrate the launch of Stagecoach’s new Park and Ride as well as Catch The Bus Week was special guest Justin Moorhouse. Seen below is the former Key 103 presenter and comedian (Young Kenny in Phoenix Nights) showing his green fingers!
S.V, 02 July 2015.