The mayor and council bosses have submitted new plans to Westminster to help make bus travel cheaper for thousands of people in Greater Manchester.
The £1 billion bid for cheaper fares sees a long-term goal to overhaul bus travel in the region take another step forward after the mayor confirmed plans to bring buses back into public control.
The five-year plan, due to be discussed by leaders on Friday morning, features new £1.50 ‘hopper’ fares, 70 new 10-minute service routes, 2,000 more accessible bus stops and more evening and Sunday services – not to mention redesigned and rebuilt transport interchanges.
This would mean be there would be 70 new bus routes, with regular ten-minute services making it much easier to just turn up and go – rather than having to hang around in the bus station for half an hour (or longer) waiting for your next ride.
The bid also promises to include 20 new outes with ‘24 hour services’ and ‘three or four’ express bus routes for places not served by the Metrolink, although it is not clear as to where specifically these will be.
Whilst there is currently no list of where these high-frequency services would run, there is a map to gie some indication – showing them spreading throughout the region.
Andy Burnham has previously made a lot of noise about bringing a London-style travel network to Manchester. These new plans are the first step in that direction.
By simplifying the range of different bus fairs across Greater Manchester into flat £1.50 rates that can be used to hop on and off services, daily fares for travellers across the region will be reduced by around 25%.
Plans to make travel cheaper and simple across the ten boroughs also include ‘attractively priced one day and one-week travelcards’ as well as the new £1.50 ‘hopper’ fares.
But of course, improvement costs money – hence why the mayor and council bosses have submitted their bid to the government’s ‘Bus Services Improvement Plan’ fund.
According to the calculations made in the report, a rising subsidy of between £10m and £60m (by 2030) would be required from central government in order to keep fares at these cheap levels for passengers – notwithstanding dropping passenger levels caused by Covid.
Whilst suggesting a range of different bus corridors, for the fastest routes inspiration has been drawn from the Leigh Guided Busway.
Plans would involve the segregation of large swathes of highway, and come as part of a longer-term solution.
In the short term, the authority also wants to upgrade eight current key routes – notably Salford Crescent to Media City, Wigan to Bolton, Rochdale-Oldham-Ashton, Bury Rochdale and Ashton-Stockport -adding more accessible bus stops, as well as more signs, gates and signal priorities.
Routes between Altrincham to Carrington and Sale West to Broadheath are also included in the upgrade plans.
There is also plans to make the majority of the bus fleet electric, with two-thirds of buses in the plans would be electric, whilst the rest would be remodelled existing vehicles in the network.
Council bosses will discuss the plans on Friday 29, October.
Feature image – Commons Wikimedia
Sir David Jason set for TV return in Only Fools and Horses documentary Christmas special
In a surprise bit of festive news, the only and only Sir David Jason is returning for an Only Fools and Horses Christmas special this December. Lovely jubbly!
The best-loved and most-watched British comedy of all time will be back on our screens in documentary form this festive season, with Del Boy himself David Jason revisiting the iconic comedy character after 20 years he last played him on screen.
While the legendary sitcom was broadcast on BBC back in the day, the highly-anticipated Only Fools doc will be airing on Channel 5 right before Christmas as a special one-off programme.
Looking back on the show’s incredible run on UK screens over seven series and the several ‘Christmas Cracker’ specials, specifically, the latest Only Fools and Horses documentary will see Jason and a number of other guests appearing to chat about the legendary show.
While it’s still unclear how many of the original cast will be appearing, Jason’s on-screen wife Tessa Peake-Jones (Raquel) is confirmed to be appearing along with other special guests including newscaster Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Bendiorm‘s Sherrie Hewson.
Sadly, a full theatrical reunion just isn’t on the cards following the deaths of Roger Lloyd Pack (Trigger), Kenneth MacDonald (Mike the Landlord) and Buster Merryfield (Uncle Albert) in the 30 years since the show ended its run.
Only Fools writer John Sullivan also sadly passed away aged 64 in 2011 and fellow co-star Nicholas Lyndhurst, a.k.a. Rodney Trotter, told Metro: “We can’t. John is no longer with us. John was the driving force of the show and we have also lost quite a few cast members now.
“I don’t think I could do it without them and I certainly couldn’t do it without John. At the risk of depressing everyone, I think the last two times I’ve seen David has been at funerals.”
Simply entitled, ‘The Story Of Only Fools And Horses At Christmas’, the 90-minute special is yet to have its broadcast date fully confirmed but you best keep your eyes peeled on the TV guide — we’ll let you know as soon we do.
Jason, 81, has only just recovered from hip surgery earlier this year, so it’ll be nice to see his familiar grin back on our screens.
Right, we’re off to binge a whole series on UK Gold.
Habas restaurant in Manchester announces shock closure – with huge closing-down discount
Habas, the Middle Eastern restaurant launched by the team behind El Gato Negro, has announced its shock closure.
The subterranean restaurant will be going out with a bang though, promising one last knees-up with a big discount.
Habas will be doing 25% off its entire food and drink menu this New Year’s Eve so that fans of the eatery can raise a glass to the Manchester restaurant.
They’re also hoping that Mancs will raise a glass to new beginnings, teasing a brand new concept.
Habas is located at Brown Street in Manchester city centre and has been serving up its Middle Eastern menu since 2021.
It comes from Mills Hill Developments Limited, the company also responsible for El Gato Negro and Canto, fronted by celebrated chef Simon Shaw.
Habas has stressed that its closure ‘is not forever’ as it announces details of its New Year’s Eve closing down party.
You can ring in the new year with a selection of mezze dishes, sharing platters and small plates, feasting on chicken tagine and traditional tzatziki, all 25% off on Sunday 31 December.
Drinks, too, like the cranberry elderflower martini, blackberry ginger smash and clementine daquiri will be with 25% off.
Simon Shaw, Chef Parton at Mills Hill Developments Limited, said: “As of January 2024, we have made the decision to close the doors of Habas Bar & Restaurant, however we are thrilled to announce that our Brown Street venue has an exciting new concept on the way.
“Throughout December, Habas, will continue serving up the city’s best middle-eastern cuisine, so make sure you pop in and see us. AND on New Year’s Eve, Habas, will be hosting an unforgettable celebration with 25% off food and drinks. We want to rejoice with all of our customers, with one final hurrah!
“We would like to thank all of our guests and reassure Habas fans that this is not the end of Habas Bar & Restaurant forever, simply a farewell from Brown Street for now.
“We look forward to welcoming you to our new exciting concept in Q1 of 2024.”