Greater Manchester bus passengers will benefit from a £43million boost to improve services across the city.
The Cross City Bus Package was given the go ahead by Local Transport Minister Norman Baker yesterday and will see the speed and reliability of services in Middleton, Parrs Wood and Salford expand.
The scheme will increase accessibility from areas along the A580 and A664 corridors to the city centre and the Oxford Road employment growth centre, and minimise the carbon impact of transport into the city centre.
Mr Baker said: “These improved bus corridors are important to drive growth in both Greater Manchester and the wider North West region. This scheme addresses in particular the problems of the Oxford Road Corridor, which has the highest demand for bus travel in the conurbation and yet is one of the lowest performing in terms of reliability and punctuality.
“The package will improve the attractiveness and accessibility of public transport, greatly improving people’s ability to access existing and new employment opportunities within the corridors from the north and west of the city.”
Plans include provisions of bus priority measures along the three proposed corridors, a new bus terminus at the Central Manchester Hospitals site, and a section of Oxford Road being reserved for buses, taxis and cycles only, with general traffic moved to alternative routes some of which will also benefit from complementary traffic management measures.
Councillor Andrew Fender, Chair of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee, said: “[The improvements] will introduce a much higher level of quality to our bus network and will improve access for hundreds of thousands of people to key employment, education, health and leisure destinations in Greater Manchester.”
Work will start on the first phase, with the full scheme due to be completed by 2015. Existing bus services will be able to make use of the improvements as they come on stream, with the new cross city services being introduced once the improvements are completed.