Round and round Manchester by bus

24 March 2011

Spent the day with Julie Warburton, our bus passenger manager for the North West, testing out various bus services in Manchester. We followed a circular route planned by David Beer, a member of our development team. Pretty good, by and large. All buses well used. Bought day pass – £4.50 for unlimited travel on all bus operators in and around Manchester – seems like really good value for money especially as most one operator only day tickets seemed to be priced around £3.50. I suppose most people simply do not make many journeys using different operators, but stick to one bus, train or tram – especially when the free city centre bus has just got so much better. Used the opportunity to try out our bus passenger satisfaction questionnaire which seems to work okay – easy and relatively quick to fill in.

  • X43, Transdev from Chorlton Street to Higher Broughton. Few minutes late. Modern bus, leather seats, clean, attractive graphics
  • 52, First to Pendleton Shopping City Salford. Bang on time, but old bus dirty inside, driver scruffy and uncommunicative. Rust on inside!
  • 100, First to Trafford Centre. Better, but only just. Driver more chirpy, but bus dirty inside.
  • 18, Arriva to Sale Moor. Clean, tidy bus which was one minute late
  • 41, Finglands to West Didsbury. Older bus but well kept and on time
  • 43, Stagecoach back to Piccadilly Gardens. Brand new electric/diesel bus – very smart – but got snarled up in Oxford Road’s road-works.

So, overall impressions were okay. Information at stops was alright, but some more route maps would be useful and there was no real-time information. Bus interchanges not bad – Trafford Centre and others. Good reminder of different markets bus serve: heaving student services up Oxford Road, longer distance travel to outer Manchester and circular route around. Also a good reminder of what vital social role buses plays – lots of these areas don’t look too well off.

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