Fares cuts and investment for Manchester
In addition First Manchester s investing £9million in 50 new single-deck buses, £1million to fit its entire fleet of almost 700 buses with GPS to provide real-time information, and £500,000 to provide free wi-fi across its fleet.
The introduction of GPS and wi-fi later this year complement a £53million investment through Transport for Greater Manchester’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund programme, a key part of which will improve infrastructure including bus priority at traffic lights. First says that sharing of data will reduce congestion and improve punctuality.
Simon Pearson, the company’s commercial director, says: “First is absolutely committed to Greater Manchester and this package of improvements is part of a long-term plan to get passengers back on the bus. At a time when some of the poorest households are spending over a quarter of their disposable income on buying and running a car, these improvements will give car drivers a real reason to reappraise the bus as a viable alternative.”
Passenger Focus chief executive Anthony Smith notes: “Passengers will strongly welcome lower and simpler fares, new buses, real-time running information and free wi-fi – these moves should all help make the bus a better choice in Manchester. We look forward to seeing news of similar investments elsewhere.”