53 new double deckers part of latest fleet update
53, in Greater Manchester circles is a magic number. It conjures up images of the Belle Vue bus which, at one time, used to run every four minutes. Today, in this context, 53 is a tragic number as the present First Greater Manchester service is half hourly (or hourly on Sundays, evenings and Bank Holidays).
In a Stagecoach Manchester sense, 53 is a magic number. This time, it symbolises their investment in its double decker fleet, which has reached £122 million in the last decade. It has paid off. As well as acquisitions, its young fleet has seen a rise in patronage from 86 million journeys in 2011 to 111 million journeys today. It is fair to say that over 50% of Greater Manchester’s bus journeys were taken on Stagecoach Manchester routes.
Along with previous purchases of Enviro400 MMC buses, the 53 new arrivals will have WiFi and USB charging points. They will also have Euro 6 emission standard engines, to lessen the impact each vehicle has on the environment.
Contactless by 2017?
Stagecoach Manchester aims to steal a march on its rivals by accepting contactless cards on their buses. Therefore, cash fares could almost be a thing of the past. Paying for a Stagecoach Day Rover ticket with a contactless card could be preferable to fishing for pound coins.
This is in addition to Stagecoach’s recent innovations. For example, its real time information and live ticketing app.
With an investment of over £9 million in modern and efficient vehicles, the latest additions add to the high quality, modern service provided by Stagecoach Manchester. Stagecoach Manchester managing director, Elisabeth Tasker, said:
“Bus travel in Greater Manchester has transformed over the last decade. Our services offer a comfortable, clean and stress free form of transport for people across the region, while well over half of our buses are now fitted with complimentary Wi-Fi and many also offer USB charging points too so passengers can stay connected.
“We continue to lessen the impact public transport has on the environment both through noise pollution and our carbon footprint and the new vehicles represent our on-going commitment to making sure we are as environmentally friendly as possible, while remaining the most affordable mode of travel for both commuters and the wider public across Greater Manchester.”
A certain other Oldham-based operator should be watching events closely in Stockport. They’ve already got a decent mobile app, but the introduction of contactless cards could be a game changer. What a shame they weren’t around when one-person-operation was in its infancy.
An EM60 Presentation, 10 November 2016.