The Olympics are here at last! Well, some of the football at least: Old Trafford football ground is playing host to both men’s and women’s football matches, with a range of transport links in place. As well as the Metrolink trams (closest stops: Old Trafford or Exchange Quay) there are free shuttle buses from Piccadilly and Victoria railway stations. Meanwhile, three Park & Ride sites are available for pre-booking: sites at Salford Reds stadium, the Trafford Centre and Sport City – scene of the Commonwealth Games ten years ago this month.
A huge number of buses are required to operate various routes to venues in London. Both Stagecoach and FirstGroup are amongst operators providing vehicles to the capital, but with seemingly different strategies. First has been stockpiling 200 brand new double-deckers for the Games, which will then enter service around the country afterwards – rumours that almost half of these could be earmarked for Greater Manchester, which will be a welcome fillip.
Stagecoach will be sending pre-used vehicles from all over the country (along with drivers) down to London. How can they manage this? There are more spare buses during August due to the school holidays, but even so there will be reshuffling of fleets. Manchester has sent a batch of standard double deckers down south, but in return has received slightly older double deckers on loan from Newcastle, who in turn have received buses from Scotland! And so the merry-go-round continues, with N-reg vehicles being pressed back into service on the South Coast. Manchester also has some older low-floor double deckers surplus from London, such as this one which has been appearing on my local 169 route regularly of late.
Incidentally, if you remember the Commonwealth Games, check this video out for Park & Ride nostalgia.