Bookmark this! City Navigator is a beautifully simple way to plan your next public transport journey in Manchester

FutureEverything recently held an innovation challenge around local public transport data in Greater Manchester.

Of the apps we’ve tried from it so far, City Navigator is our favourite. It uses data from OpenStreetMap, TfGM, Manchester City Council, and CitySDK. It works in desktop and mobile Web browsers alike.

The ‘Find nearest services’ option allows you seek out nearby restaurants, bars, parks, libraries, recycling points and more and then see a plan for the next available public transport journey displayed on a map.

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The ‘Browse map’ option, meanwhile, lets you set any start and end point and see the quickest way of getting there. As far as we can see, only Metrolink and buses are currently supported, which is enough for most journeys in Greater Manchester.

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You can click on any interchange point to find out more about your transfer.

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Whether you want to get from Norden to Northenden, Oldham to Oldfield Brow or make any other journey, this is a fun and genuinely useful tool. It’s a little rough around the edges in places but it’s lightyears ahead of TfGM’s own journey planner in terms of ease-of-use, at least when it comes to journeys that you want to take right away.

Excellent stuff! We’ll dig into other apps built using open public transport data soon.

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Maytree replacements start to arrive

TfGM has announced that replacement operators for most Maytree Travel services have now been found. As most services they operated were contracted rather than commercial, this must have made life a little simpler as existing timetables will be used. The only fully commercial service (the 680 between Leigh and Shakerley) has not been replaced, but one routes has also been shortened where alternative services operate. Anyhow, time for some tables. Continue reading

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Recap: all going on at the Salford Hub

Salford Crescent looking north April Fool!

No, it’s not an April Fool: the new footbridge at Salford Crescent really did come into use on Monday 1st April 2013

Forget the Northern Hub: it’s specifically Salford which appears to be the centre of activity on our railways right now. Continue reading

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Maytree Travel bus services suspended

Maytree suspensionA quick trip to Bolton Bus Station after work this evening confirmed the reports that started to appear this afternoon: Maytree Travel, which has over 80 staff and operates around 40 contracted bus services in the Bolton, Bury and Wigan areas, had suspended all bus services at 2pm – with no guarantee of a resumption of services into next week. Is this the end for the fast-growing independent? Continue reading

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High Speed 2 preferred option to Manchester revealed

HS2 terminal at Manchester PiccadillyWe’ve been somewhat ambivalent to High Speed 2 here at Manchester Transport blog. Construction on the northern sections to Manchester and Leeds isn’t planned until the latter half of the 2020’s, so it could be 2033 before the project is complete – assuming political support is still forthcoming. At least now we have something more concrete to look at, as on Monday the government released details of its initial preferred route options. Whilst not yet set in stone, and still a decade away from the first sod being turned, what do the plans have in store for Manchester? Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Trains | 10 Comments

Then two come along at once…

A blue bus for Bluebird of MiddletonHot on the heels of the Wigan depot transfer, Stagecoach today announced their plan to purchase local independent Bluebird of Middleton for £2 million. Along with the leased depot site, the acquisition will include around 40 vehicles and 80 members of staff: if the Office of Fair Trading give their approval, then the takeover could be completed early next year. Continue reading

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Stagecoach to acquire First routes in Wigan

Wigan Corporation busWigan has always been out on a limb from the rest of Greater Manchester county: indeed, its municipal bus service was never part of SELNEC PTE and only joined as part of GMPTE in 1974. After deregulation and sundering, the depot found itself as part of GM Buses North, now known as First Greater Manchester. Today it was announced that Stagecoach are purchasing the Wigan depot from FirstGroup, along with 120 vehicles and staff. The transaction may be completed as early as December. Continue reading

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The revival of cross-city bus services in Manchester

Just weeks after Stagecoach Manchester brought the first cross-city bus route in years to Manchester when it extended the 50 to Salford Quays, First Manchester is set to catch the bug by extending one of its own services beyond the city centre.

From the 28th of October, the 18 (Manchester – Langley) will be extended beyond Shudehill Interchange to Manchester Royal Infirmary via Piccadilly Gardens and Oxford Road.

Continue reading

Posted in Buses | 9 Comments

A tale of two X41s (and a 41X)

X41 X41 41XWhen SELNEC PTE took over the combined bus operations of the Greater Manchester municipals in 1969, there were no fewer than seven routes numbered “1” – in Salford, Bolton, Bury, Leigh, Rochdale, Ashton and Oldham. Many services were renumbered into three-digit route numbers that were (for the most part) unique within the county and remain with us today. How unfortunate therefore that recent service changes have left us with two X41s – and a 41X to boot! Continue reading

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West coast rail bid hits legal buffers

Virgin and FirstGroup trains outside Piccadilly stationIn a surprise move, the Government last night pulled the plug on the competition to run the West Coast Main Line franchise from December 2012. As you no doubt read elsewhere, the winning bidders were FirstGroup, who offered to pay £5.5 billion over the 14 year life of the franchise, £700 million more than incumbent Virgin. How did we get here and what happens now? Continue reading

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