Cross-city bus route to replace Salford QuaysLink

50It doesn’t seem too long ago that I took a trip down to Salford Quays to view the new shuttle bus service between Salford Crescent and MediaCityUK, just over a year ago. News has emerged that the route is to be withdrawn in September – but in its place comes Manchester’s first cross-city bus link for some years as Stagecoach extends its service 50 from Albert Square to Salford Crescent and onto the Quays on a commercial basis!

From 2nd September 2012, Stagecoach are extending service 50 from its current terminus at Albert Square up John Dalton Street as far as Salford Central. Most journeys will then operate along the Crescent to Salford Crescent station, then over the route of the QuaysLink service 9 via Pendleton Precinct Salford Shopping City to terminate near the Lowry and MediaCityUK. The frequency will be every 10 minutes on Monday to Saturday daytimes, with evening and Sunday daytime services up to every 15 minutes. This is an improvement over the current Saturday daytime frequency of every 15 minutes, and there will be earlier departures in the morning. Stagecoach will be using their standard double deckers, which offer more seats over the hybrid Optare Versas currently in use – and TfGM will be able to deploy the spare vehicles elsewhere in the county.

Some question marks still remain over fares: currently a single fare is £1 and a weekly ticket is available for £6. Will this continue under the new commercial arrangements? And currently Salford University ID card holders can travel for free, due to the part-funding by the university: again, we’re not sure whether this will continue. The residents of Salford may have more reason to celebrate however: they’ll now be able to buy Stagecoach season tickets to get into town (£12 per week) as opposed to First’s more expensive offering (£18 per week). Commuters to Salford from south of the city should also benefit from the new direct link – I know that I’ll be tempted to use the new service given the unreliability of the parallel rail services through East Didsbury this year.

There was always going to be a move towards cross-city bus routes given TfGM’s planning towards that end, but we have to admit that this took us by surprise. It would be interesting to know how much consultation there was between Stagecoach and TfGM with regards to the replacement of service 9: were TfGM handed a fait accompli? Either way, the aim of making this link a commercial proposition seems to have happened sooner rather than later, so surely TfGM won’t be too unhappy that they’ll be saving money on funding?

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21 Responses to Cross-city bus route to replace Salford QuaysLink

  1. Shaun says:

    I’m sure that TfGM will be happy that they will be able to save some money from not having to fund the daytime and Mon-Sat evening service. If the deals, such as the cheap day tickets and free travel for Salford uni students/staff, aren’t available then I’m sure there will be a few complaints.

    Can’t imagine First will be too happy having Stagecoach moving into their area with the 50 possibly taking some passengers away from services such as the 8, 36, 37. 67 or 100 between Pendleton and Manchester. Plus the increase of the 76 to every ten minutes may see some converters from First on the 180/184 route between Oldham and Hollins.

    Given First’s recent move of introducing cheap day/weekly tickets on the 17/18 route to take on JPT/Eurobus and just last month on the 135 (possibly competing with the Metrolink), I wouldn’t be surprised to see some move from First to see off Stagecoach, such as cheap tickets between Salford and Manchester or hopefully, First moving into the south of Manchester and running some services there or perhaps copy Stagecoach by extending some existing services across the city.

    Definitely one to watch in the coming weeks/months.

    • njlawley says:

      First have registered an extension to their service 18 from Shudehill to Manchester Royal Infirmary. This will start on 28 October, running at the existing 10 minutes daytime frequency (15 on Sundays) – the evening service is enhanced to run every 30 minutes.

  2. andy says:

    This will without doubt prompt a bus war ! The peaceful co-existance of recent years is about to bee shattered, interesting times ahead !

  3. andy says:

    This will without doubt prompt a bus war ! The peaceful co-existance of recent years is about to be shattered, interesting times ahead !

  4. oldham100 says:

    I believe that there will be special fares between Salford Cresent and Media City. However students will have to pay too. It will certainley be interesting to see how first respond. They dont have any inspectors left to manage the area so if anything they might introduce a special ticket for the route.But given the fact Stagecoach will have a dedicated inspector on the route the service is bound to be more reliable. Wonder how long before we see magics going past the uni?

  5. andy says:

    And how long before First extend routes like the 82/83 into South Manchester? the die is cast.

    • Paul Sidorczuk says:

      I am old enough to remember such north-south cross-city routes as the 62 from the Heaton Park area to Chorlton and the 80 from Moston to Chorlton (I used this one to access St Bede’s College, Whalley Range from North Manchester as a schoolboy from 1956, without the need for any changes).

      There were also services from North Manchester to the Sale area, but whilst my memory seems to think of the 112/113 as service numbers, but I may be wrong with those numbers. Can someone assist me here to clarify what these route numbers were.

      • D9000 says:

        Posted my reply in the wrong place. Sorry about that. But yes, you are right!

      • dggar says:

        There was the 95/96 from the Whitefield area to Parrs Wood along Kingsway,jointly operated by Manchester Corp and Salford Corp. and I also recall a service from Ashton to Manchester city centre being extended to wards Eccles via Hope Hospial(as it was called in those days) just before SELNEC was launched.

      • njlawley says:

        The 66 – this was extended eastwards to replace half of the 219 – alternate journeys would run as the 66 across town with 219 being retained for the “short” journeys terminating in Manchester

  6. D9000 says:

    112 and 113 absolutely correct, Paul. Moston Gardeners Arms to Sale Moor, replacing trolleybuses between Moston and the city. There were many cross city routes in MCTD days, most of which lasted until dereg.

  7. njlawley says:

    Some details on the 50 fares. Normal single fares will be charged, single fares being £1.60 between the university and Salford Quays. Special tickets will be available for this section of route at £2.50 day ticket or £8.00 weekly ticket. Salford University students will continue to be able to travel for free between the uni and the Quays on production of their university ID card.

  8. Paul Sidorczuk says:

    Good news for the Salford University students that free travel will be available (providing that they remember their university ID card) between the University and Salford Quays. There was some supposition that this would be discontinued when this route was first mooted,

  9. Shaun says:

    Timetable now on the TfGM website, as well as the CityConnect page on Stagecoach Manchester website.

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