This post was written in 2010 – for all the latest bus timetables, please visit the Trafford Centre website
Until Peel Holdings have put a finance package together to fund a Metrolink line to the Trafford Centre, the only public transport option is to catch the bus, be it the Metrolink shuttle bus from Stretford or one of the many bus routes that now serve the giant out-of-town shopping centre. Two improved offerings from the city centre were introduced last year, and with timetables set to change this week it seems like a good time to have a look at how the services have fared over the past ten months.
First Manchester increased the frequency of their service 100 at the end of August 2009, running every 10 minutes on Monday to Saturday daytimes via Salford Crescent, Pendleton and Eccles. They also introduced route branding to the single deck buses operating the service, with a pink and purple “unmissable” theme. The service is cut back to run every 12 minutes from this week, but this is still a better frequency than operated before August 2009, when the frequency was every 15 minutes. Between Manchester and Eccles there is a combined 6 minute frequency with service 67, which continues to Irlam and Cadishead. Two journeys an hour on service 100 continue to Irlam with one of those continuing to Warrington via Cadishead.
Was it increased competition that led to Stagecoach Manchester launching their express service X50 in late October 2009 or just a co-incidence? Either way, this limited stop version of the operator’s 250 route runs every 30 minutes throughout the week and offers the quickest route between the city centre and the Trafford Centre. The service is operated by route branded double deckers and appears to be doing well – it helps take some of the load off the 250, which is often full and standing by the time it reaches the university and Hulme, especially when there’s a match on at Old Trafford.
|Service||Mon to Fri||Sat||Sun|
|100||12 mins||30 mins||12 mins||30 mins||10–20 mins||30 mins|
|110||20 mins||–||20 mins||–||–||–|
|250||15 mins||15–30 mins||10 mins||15–30 mins||15 mins||30–45 mins|
|X50||30 mins||30 mins||30 mins||30 mins||30 mins||30 mins|
On weekdays the 100 still offers the most frequent service despite the new timetable. On Saturdays however, it is the 250 which operates more departures and with bigger vehicles – no doubt because of the tourist potential to the Theatre of Dreams. Despite the better facilities at Shudehill, and its location near to the Arndale, Printworks, Northern Quarter and the Wheel of Manchester, it seems that Piccadilly Gardens still remains the most “prestigious” terminus in the city centre.