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April 12, 2023

Manchester’s free bus service undergoes a revamp

Manchester city centre's free bus service is set to undergo significant changes starting from mid-April, including the addition of new destinations to its shuttle route.

By City Monitor Staff

Manchester city centre’s free bus service was initially introduced to connect visitor and retail attractions with transport hubs and rail stations, and will be funded by Manchester City Council and Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) after the end of the existing contract. The revised service will feature two new routes and new timetables, replacing the previous three route services, to better reflect the current demand.

Manchester free bus
Manchester’s free bus service will see new destinations added. (Photo courtesy of TfGM)

Starting on 16 April, the two new routes for Manchester buses will be operational from 7am to 7.30pm from Monday to Saturday and from 10am to 6.30pm on Sundays and bank holidays. The new Manchester bus routes will allow passengers to travel from Piccadilly to new destinations such as HOME and Deansgate Locks while still maintaining links to Deansgate and Victoria rail stations, Spinningfields, Chinatown, and the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI).

[Read more: How Manchester is planning to get to net zero by 2038]

TfGM’s director of bus, Stephen Rhodes, emphasised the importance of the free bus service to Manchester’s transport network, noting that the service has been operating as Metroshuttle for over two decades. Rhodes stated that by delivering these changes, the partnership between TfGM and Manchester City Council can continue to deliver the free bus service for years to come.

manchester free bus route
Route 1 and 2 of the service. (Image courtesy of TfGM)

The revised Manchester bus service will operate every ten minutes during peak hours, and the two new routes will follow a clockwise loop from Piccadilly rail station to Deansgate rail station via MOSI, Spinningfields, and Chinatown back to Piccadilly for the first route. The second route will follow a clockwise loop from Piccadilly rail station to Chinatown, King Street, St Marys Gate, Victoria rail station, and Shudehill, then back to Piccadilly.

Manchester’s free bus early diversions

On Sunday, 16 April, free bus 1 will be affected by diversions due to the Manchester Marathon, with the route being diverted away from Deansgate Locks, MOSI, and Gartside Street. While free bus 2 will run as normal, some delays may occur due to displaced traffic. Neil Fairlamb, strategic director of neighbourhoods for Manchester City Council, expressed his gratitude towards TfGM for providing the free bus service, which he describes as a vital asset for many residents.

“The free bus services around Manchester are a vital asset for many of our residents, one which we are glad to continue funding alongside our partners at TfGM,” he said in a release. “We know that public transport is the better, more environmentally friendly way to travel and we hope that for many more years to come people will take advantage of this shuttle service.”

[Read more: Will going electric save UK buses?]

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