Game 1, Semi Finals: X43 v. V1  

For our first semi final, two bus routes noted for their luxurious nature will clash for a place in The 2018 World Cup of Greater Manchester Bus Routes Final.

Which Way Now? 

For nearly two decades, Blazefield Holdings – and their successors Transdev – changed the route’s fortunes for the better. After taking over the Burnley and Pendle operation from Stagecoach North West, its ragbag fleet was replaced by new low floor vehicles. The Witch Way – as per their branding – restored the X43 to its prime position. As an express route with a better class of buses than the norm.

Since then, its Skipton link was restored, albeit due to Pennine Motor Services’ demise and the company taking on their former 215 route. In terms of luxury, it can give the train from Manchester Victoria a run for its money. Especially with plush seats, free WiFi and a better frequency of buses being a trade-off for slower journey times.

Home Advantage

The X43 may have the bragging rights over the V1 in terms of scenery, but the V1’s frequency is just as good. Coupled with the V2 for Atherton, a bus every 7/8 minutes in the daytime from Tyldesley to Manchester MRI via the city centre.

With the V1 (and its sister route), the guided busway between Mosley Common and Leigh make for a superb ride. It may have had its detractors in the past, but would the same detractors have moaned in the Manchester Evening News if there were Pacer units instead of sleek Enviro400MMC buses? Or another night of cancelled trains?

Full Time Score:

X43 [Skipton] 1 – 1 V1 [Manchester]

After Extra Time, V1 [Manchester] won 4 – 3 on penalties.

A close run, but the Vantage V1 service has booked its place into the World Cup of Greater Manchester Bus Routes final. The X43 goes into the Third Place Play-Off.

S.V., 10 July 2018.

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