FirstGroup to Quit Greater Manchester Bus Operations

Got a spare £20m? First Greater Manchester are selling its bus operations to rival operators in the conurbation

First Greater Manchester is set to quit Greater Manchester, as the transport conglomerate reviews its operations across the UK. The fourth largest part of the FirstGroup bus empire has recorded sharp losses in the last year. Its Greater Manchester bus operations made a £5.7 million loss making it their worst performing constituent of the Aberdeen-based company.

Continue reading “FirstGroup to Quit Greater Manchester Bus Operations”

First Greater Manchester Goes Contactless

New Ticketer machines ushers in start of contactless travel on First Greater Manchester routes

In line with other FirstGroup subsidiaries across the UK, contactless payments will be available on First Greater Manchester bus routes. From the first weekend in September, all First buses will be able to accept contactless credit and debit cards as a payment option.

Continue reading “First Greater Manchester Goes Contactless”

The Case for Stalybridge: Andy Burnham’s Vision for Six Forgotten Towns

Stalybridge as one of six ‘forgotten towns’ in Mayor of Greater Manchester’s revitalisation plan

The polycentric nature of Greater Manchester and each of its boroughs can be a blessing and curse. It is a blessing in the sense where each of the ten boroughs have a character of their own. For example, with my borough [Tameside], the virtually unbroken urban sprawl of Manchester ends in the western part of Stalybridge, Dukinfield, and Hyde. East of the said places, suburbia meets the Pennine foothills alongside charming small towns and villages (Mossley, Broadbottom, Mottram, and Hollingworth in our case). Continue reading “The Case for Stalybridge: Andy Burnham’s Vision for Six Forgotten Towns”

First Greater Manchester’s Digital Fare Freeze

Fares held for smartphone users but on-bus prices rise

First Greater Manchester Alexander Dennis ALX400, YJ51 RCX, Ashton-under-Lyne bus station

First, the bad news. Bus fares are going up again on First Greater Manchester’s routes. To soften the blow, passengers from the 02 January 2017 can pay last year’s fares if they download a smartphone app. Which is good if you have a Windows Phone, iOS, or Android device. Continue reading “First Greater Manchester’s Digital Fare Freeze”

FirstGroup to Close Dukinfield and Bury Depots

Operations could be shared with Oldham and Queens Road depots

First Greater Manchester Alexander Dennis ALX400, YJ51 RCX, Ashton-under-Lyne bus station

On this blog and in Passenger Transport magazine, it was announced in late June that FirstGroup were going to close one Greater Manchester depot. East of the M60 suggested that Dukinfield, Bury, and (to some extent) Oldham garages would have been in the firing line.
Continue reading “FirstGroup to Close Dukinfield and Bury Depots”

First Retreat: Could a Greater Manchester Depot Closure Be Next?

Second half slump in 2015 – 16 revenue growth could see First Greater Manchester down to five depots

Taking ad-Vantage of the sunshine in Leigh, Lancashire.
The Modern Face of First Greater Manchester: the last word in comfort lies in First Greater Manchester’s operations on the Leigh Guided Busway, under contract to Transport for Greater Manchester. Though results from the new scheme have yet to be unveiled, the company has seen a drop in growth for its 2015-16 third and fourth quarter figures.

Exceptionally wet weather, congestion and the rise of online shopping have been blamed for FirstGroup’s recent drop in revenue. As stated in Passenger Transport magazine, the last three months have had a grave effect on its figures. So much so that FirstGroup is considering the idea of closing a depot in Greater Manchester. Continue reading “First Retreat: Could a Greater Manchester Depot Closure Be Next?”

The Road Least Travelled: The 535 to Winter Hill

Our look at a largely overlooked Bolton bus route

UK Coachways T806 RFG
Seen pulling in to Bolton Moor Lane Bus Station is T806 RFG, an East Lancashire bodied Dennis Trident. Photograph by Ian Roberts (Creative Commons License – Attribution Non-Commercial)

Winter Hill. It is a place that conjures up images of local radio and television. It is the de facto County Top of Granadaland where Granada’s pictures could be picked up as far as North Wales and part of Staffordshire. It is also great for exploring Rivington Pike and Lever Park. Continue reading “The Road Least Travelled: The 535 to Winter Hill”

Trams-Lancs Express: The Next Generation Metrolink Project?

Calls for new circular line backed by MPs and councillors

Metrolink Circle Line diagram
A good idea? One wonders. I know for sure that Walkden Interchange should actually be Swinton Interchange, but the map is for diagrammatic purposes (So Ner!).

The Metrolink: the bane or joy of its 30 million or so passengers, is as much a Manchester icon as The Haçienda, Coronation Street, and Alan Turing. Its use of former BR lines and on-street sections is for many a suitable alternative to the car or the bus. Much of the system up to Phase 3B is complete. At this moment, a route to the Trafford Centre and a Stockport extension is next to follow. Continue reading “Trams-Lancs Express: The Next Generation Metrolink Project?”

Green Triangle Joins the Rotala Club

Lancashire operator joins bus owning group

South Lancs Travel, Optare Tempo, T100 SLT
Seen at Moor Lane Bus Station, Bolton, South Lancs Travel Optare Tempo loading at Stand B on the 574 service to Middlebrook. Photograph by Danny’s Bus Photos (Creative Commons License, Some Rights Reserved)


Another chapter in the history of South Lancs Travel was written today as Green Triangle Buses changed ownership for the second time in three years. Continue reading “Green Triangle Joins the Rotala Club”

Are We Not Men? No, We Could Be DevoManc Pretty Soon

More powers for Greater Manchester and elected mayor announced

Could an historic agreement between the ten Metropolitan Borough Councils and HM Government bring devolution back to Greater Manchester? Announced by George Osborne today, “Devo Manc” is set to give our conurbation a directly elected mayor and control over its buses. There will also be powers to oversee planning, housing and policing.

Also trumpeted in his announcement will be control over business growth and health and social care budgets. Further powers will also be devolved to the GMCA. They hope for full devolution of all of its allocated public spending. Continue reading “Are We Not Men? No, We Could Be DevoManc Pretty Soon”