53’s a Magic Number: Stagecoach Manchester’s New Enviro400 MMCs

53 new double deckers part of latest fleet update

A selection of Enviro400 MMC buses making up the number 53.
A selection of Enviro400 MMC buses making up the number 53. Image courtesy of a Tangerine PR photographer who doesn’t mind heights.

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.

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3 thoughts on “53’s a Magic Number: Stagecoach Manchester’s New Enviro400 MMCs

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  1. Sorry for the “test”, I couldn’t post recently. I wouldn’t go overboard with this story; The increase in patronage could be largely due to the acquisition of First Wigan, Bluebird and Jpt ops. It certainly can’t be across the original network or else they wouldn’t have cut so many services, especially in Stockport. As for Real Time info, I certainly can’t get it to work, and when it did briefly (many months ago), it was useless because as soon as a bus failed to reach your stop on time, it disappeared!
    Incidentally, if you examine the details of routes where these buses are supposed to be deployed, you might notice an anomoly. All 53 buses have been in service for a couple of months, but apart from odd journeys, they don’t run on the 250/X50 – so if those services are going to get the new buses regularly, where will they come from? They require over a dozen buses for those routes, and there aren’t any more on order for Stagecoach Manchester

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  2. Going back to my point about RTI; I tested it this morning on a journey I know always runs very late – and because of this, I rarely go out on Sundays. I was at least able to get the full line of route showing, and it initially said 1 min late at my stop – it then changed to 3 mins, but still disappeared completely before arriving at the stop. Further down the line, it conceded 2 more minutes would be lost, but I don’t know it claims the ultimate arrival time (In Stockport) was as estimated, because it disappeared before that time. Most significantly, though, it didn’t concede any time lost on the stretch in between, which is absolutely impossible to achieve (legally). FTR, on the 3 occasions I used this bus last year, it arrived in Stockport 11, 16 & 19 mins late – resulting in me missing my (hourly) connection twice.

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