Whilst Spring hasn’t been much fun on the cost front – with both Stagecoach and Arriva raising fares to deal with the price of fuel, but First holding tight after their January revisions – good news on the environmental front as more hybrid buses enter service in Greater Manchester and funding to purchase more is announced.
Coming on stream this month are a further batch of double-deckers for Stagecoach, with the routes benefitting this time being service 197 (Manchester to Stockport via Levenshulme, Burnage and Heaton Moor) and service 219 (Manchester to Ashton-under-Lyne via Ashton Old Road, with some extensions to/from Stalybridge). Slightly unexpected choices, but the latter has a certain symmetry given that it was home to electric trolleybuses in the post-war period.
TfGM is also receiving hybrid single deckers, which it then provides to bus operators for specific contracted routes – in similar fashion to how First operate the Metroshuttle and Maytree operate the Salford QuaysLink. There are full-length
Yellow Green School Buses as well as Versas and Solos for public services. Current routes to benefit include the 27 (Manchester to Swinton) and 380 (Stockport to Greave), whilst certain other routes see operation in the evenings or on Sundays. Some further routes will be converted next week in Tameside, Bury and Bolton.
Meanwhile, another tranche of funding has been announced by DfT: Green Bus Fund round 3, with several batches of vehicles that will benefit operators in Greater Manchester:
- Stagecoach Manchester: 40 vehicles (£3,165,685)
- Transport for Greater Manchester: 11 vehicles (£1,001,602)
- Arriva Manchester: 11 vehicles (£569,085)
- Network Warrington: 6 vehicles (£523,200)
Of these, the 40 hybrid buses for Stagecoach Manchester will be for the busy 192 route along the A6, presumably further Enviro 400H double-deckers, bringing the number of hybrids in that fleet to 90. Arriva Manchester will receive 11 Volvo double-deckers for service 10 to Eccles along with further vehicles for other depots in the north west. Network Warrington’s 6 Optare Versa single-deckers may appear on service 5 to Altrincham, though this is subject to change.