Figures from First Manchester have revealed patronage on its Vantage guided busway continues to grow, with 45,000 people a week now on board. Since starting in April, the service has carried over 940,000 people in total. A Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) survey suggested fewer cars are on the road thanks to the service, with a fifth of passengers switching from cars to the new bus service. Almost all passengers surveyed by TfGM said they would recommend the new service to friends and relatives. While 20% of passengers said they had stopped using their cars for the same journey and had actively switched to the bus since April. Over half said they had access to a car either as a driver or passenger but still chose the bus. In terms of traffic, the switch from driving to using the busway means 460,000 fewer cars on the roads over a year as they are not making those trips, according to the study. The survey was carried out four months after the busway opened to passengers and saw around 4,000 people give feedback.
Other standout results of the survey include 98% saying they were satisfied overall with the new services, whilst 95% of passengers are satisfied with the length of time their journey takes. A previous, comparable, survey of bus passengers in 2014 saw this figure at 72%. 94% of passengers appreciate the reliability of services on the route, a 29% improvement on 2014; whilst 93% of passengers were satisfied with the availability of seating or space to stand, also better than 2014. The survey shows that 97% of those who took part would recommend the guided busway to a friend or family member, which again shows a marked increase on 2014’s figure of 77%.
TfGM’s Bus Priority Programme Manager, Anthony Murden, said, ‘The benefits we wanted to see are already being realised. We planned from the beginning for it to become a valued asset for the communities it serves and for it to challenge the preference and need to travel by car. MD for First Manchester, Teresa Broxton, said, ‘We are delighted to be working in partnership with TfGM to provide the first guided busway service in the North West. Our aim is to continue to develop this premium service so that even more people choose Vantage as their preferred transport solution.’