Mar 22, 2013 13:59 GMT
First Bus cuts main fares and invests in free onboard wi-fi
First Bus has today reaffirmed its commitment to growing bus passengers in Greater Manchester.
Speaking at a TfGM committee meeting Dave Alexander, Regional Managing Director for First Bus in the North of England, revealed a series of forthcoming improvements including reductions in bus fares of up to 28%.
From Monday 8th April the following fares will apply on all First buses in Greater Manchester:
· Manchester FirstDay reduced to £4 (from £4.50) – a saving of 50p (11%)
· Manchester FirstWeek reduced to £13 (from £18) – a saving of £5 (28%)
· Child Weekly Ticket reduced to £6.50 (from £7) – a saving of 50p (7%)
In addition First has revealed an investment package worth almost £10m that will see:
£0.5m invested in the provision of free Wifi on all First buses in Greater Manchester
£1.0m to equip all buses in Greater Manchester with GPS technology that will provide customers with real time bus running information, and improve the punctuality of bus timetables.
£9m in around 50 brand new single decker buses that will complement the £20m investment in 2012 of 100 new double deckers.
The changes follow a strategic review by First that places passenger growth in Greater Manchester firmly at the top of the agenda, and come on the back of successful fares reduction initiatives already seen in Oldham and within the M60. Over the last 12 months First has invested much resource into improving the reliability of its services with the number of late running buses reduced by over 20%.
The introduction of GPS and Wifi, in late 2013, will complement a £53m investment through TfGM’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund programme, a key part of which will improve infrastructure in Greater Manchester to allow, for example, traffic lights to change as late-running buses approach. Detailed sharing of data, in the longer run, will allow congestion to be reduced and punctuality to be improved.
Customers with smart phones will know when the bus is coming before they’ve even left their homes.
Consultation with TfGM and councillors across the region has revealed Value for Money as the biggest barrier to bus usage, and by reducing fares, improving reliability and creating a better passenger experience, First is tackling this head on.
Simon Pearson, Commercial Director for First in Greater Manchester, said: “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.”
Councillor Andrew Fender, Chair of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee, said: “We’ve been working very closely with First to drive forward these improvements, which will be key to getting more people back on buses, so I’m delighted that they have listened to passengers and are now taking this across-the-board approach to improving services.
“Today’s announcement is a real commitment to value for money fares, high quality, reliable bus services and better, real-time information.
“The move to significantly lower fares brings a level of consistency to bus fares in Greater Manchester. So regardless of where you live you’ll pay a similar price, which is excellent news and means better choices for everyone when it comes to using local buses.”
First runs 672 buses across Greater Manchester serving customers in Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford and Tameside and employs almost 2,000 local people in the community.
Issued by First Bus on 22 March 2013.