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Mildly exciting public transport news

New park and ride scheme from Sale, better bus travel, and Oldham and Rochdale swap trains for trams

Published on October 7th 2009.

Mildly exciting public transport news

You wait ages for some public transport news, then three items arrive all at once. A new park and ride scheme has opened in Sale, GMPTE has launched a consultation about improvements to three major bus routes, and the heavy rail Oldham Loop Line closed on 3 October ready for conversion into a Metrolink route.

The only real way to make public transport seamless and convenient is to introduce an affordable, easy-to-understand, flexible ticket that covers all the transport providers in the city.

First off, the new park and ride scheme for South Manchester. This opened on Monday 28 September and promises to offer people a 'superior parking destination' at the Q-Park Waterside car park opposite the Sale Metrolink stop. Tickets cost £6 and include all-day parking and a return Metrolink journey to the city centre.

The car park, which is easy to get to from the M60, is expected to be popular with commuters who want to avoid city centre car park charges, and football fans who can take the tram to Old Trafford.

Any measures that reduce car use in the city centre are to be welcomed and the £6 price tag seems reasonable. Our concern is whether the trams will have room to accommodate the new influx of passengers from the 440 car park spaces. Confidential hasn't had the joy of travelling on the Altrincham line recently – let us know whether overcrowding during peak periods is a problem.

Next up, the buses. GMPTE want your comments on their improvement package for three major routes: Boothstown to Manchester via the A580 East Lancashire Road and A6 Broad Street/Crescent/Chapel Street; Middleton Bus Station to Manchester via the A664 Manchester New Road and Rochdale Road; and East Didsbury to Manchester via Wilmslow Road and Oxford Road/Street.

A key aim of the proposals is to provide seamless bus links across the city centre so that people will not have to change services or pay more than one fare. Although these ad-hoc improvements are much needed, Confidential maintains that the only real way to make public transport seamless and convenient is to introduce an affordable, easy-to-understand, flexible ticket that covers all the transport providers in the city. We'll be requesting a progress update on this in the next few weeks.

The proposals also aim to cut journey times and improve reliability – two bus service bugbears that everyone would like to see addressed.

Councillor Richard Knowles, Chair of GMITA’s Capital Projects Committee, said: “The scheme includes bus lanes, bus gating and junction improvements, as well as pedestrian and cycle measures. It will also involve making some sections of city centre highway bus only, alongside complementary measures to ensure that traffic flows smoothly.”

To see the proposals and get involved in the consultations go to www.gmpte.com/haveyoursay or call 0800 917 8808 (Monday-Friday, 9am to 5pm).

Finally, the train-to-tram conversion in Oldham and Rochdale. The 12 mile Oldham Loop Line, which had been serving passengers for over 140 years, has closed ahead of conversion to a new Metrolink line that will run into Manchester city centre. The 15-stop line will run as far as Central Park by 2011, then to Oldham Mumps by autumn 2011, and finally to Rochdale by spring 2012. Services will run every six minutes from Shaw and Crompton and every 12 minutes from Rochdale.

As part of the conversion, the Smedley Viaduct will be reborn, and several other historic structures will be restored.

In the meantime, passengers have access to a range of alternative bus services. Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Authority promises to monitor the situation to ensure that the standard of service is acceptable.

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5 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Tram Rip OffOctober 7th 2009.

I remember the Bury to Manchester train. It cost pennies to go from Crumpsall to Manchester Victoria. Then they closed it down for a few years and we got to trams and a tripled fare to boot. I wish that we didn't have the tram on our line, as it's just been a rouse to rip us off. The train was slightly worse, but a LOT cheaper. Weighing it all up, the train option was the better deal.

Nigel BarlowOctober 7th 2009.

I very much doubt whether Northern Rail are involved in any coordination in Greater Manchester over the closure of the Oldham Loop line.It really sums up their attitude to an integrated transport policy that they fail to put extra carriages on trains.I for one am glad that we no longer have to put up with their shoddy services and shoddy trains on the victoria to Oldham line and wish Metrolink could take over all their services

AnonymousOctober 7th 2009.

I get the train to Mcr on the part of the Oldham Loop line not closed. We've got more people getting on at my stop but no extra carriages on the trains. In fact, carriages have been taken off the trains! So we have more passengers with less carriages - makes sense, doesn't it!

scoteeeOctober 7th 2009.

6 quid seems horrendously expensive to me. I have just moved to Sale, I work in the city centre my partner in Salford,It's £3.50 all day to park 5 minutes walk from picc.It would cost us both far too much on a daily basis.I'll keep driving in to salfoird then on to the city carpark i'm afraid. Unless of course the scheme can offer a reasonable monthly ticket?or is that just wishful thinking?

M30October 7th 2009.

I fail to understand how it's going to take two years to convert an existing rail line to a Metrolink line. Even when it's finished, the journey time is going to increase by around 20 minutes anyway.

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