‘Bee Bikes’ fitted with tap-in technology will be rolled out across Greater Manchester from November 2021.
A local cycle hire system – where e-bikes can be booked and accessed via an app – is being introduced later this year, as plans for the city-region’s Bee Network push ahead.
1,500 bikes will appear at 200 docking stations across Manchester, Trafford and Salford during the first phase of the roll-out, before being introduced across further boroughs.
Transport Commissioner Chris Boardman said that over 100,000 local households will live within a 5-minute walk of a Bee Bike docking station.
Beryl has been selected by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) as the delivery partner to design, deliver and operate the cycle hire scheme.
Demand for cycling is on the rise in Greater Manchester with trips up 20% on the long-term average, according to TfGM. Research also showed that just 16% of people living in flats have access to a bike.
A Clean Air Plan has been announced this week – which aims to launch a “green revolution” across all ten boroughs backed by over £120 million in funding.
Money will be used to help local businesses upgrade to cleaner vehicles that meet the compliance requirements of an upcoming Clean Air Zone – which will stretch right across the region.
Under new plans, vehicles including vans, buses, coaches, taxis, private-hire vehicles and lorries will need to meet emission standards or risk a charge. HGVs, buses and coaches must pay £60 a day to drive within the zone. Vans will have to pay £10 and taxis and private hire vehicles and must fork out £7.50. Failure to do so may result in a £120 fine.
Charges for larger vehicles travelling through the Clean Air Zone may be enforced by next May, whilst car drivers will be affected from May 2023.
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “The fact is that air pollution is not a problem that is going to go away on its own.
He added: “Our Clean Air Zone is only one piece of the jigsaw. We’re also fully integrating our public transport system – the Bee Network – and building the UK’s largest cycling and walking network.
“Our cycle hire will be one of the largest docked systems outside London and I cannot wait to use the new bikes myself as a way to get from A to B.
“We’re making huge strides towards our plans to build back greener and be carbon neutral by 2038.”
Transport Commissioner Boardman added: “Today is a major milestone for the city-region – not only do we have a solid plan to make vehicles on our roads cleaner, we’ll soon be bringing cycle hire to our streets – providing a healthy, convenient, non-polluting transport option for tens of thousands of people.
“Together with our plans for hundreds of miles of cycling and walking routes by 2024, we are building a truly world-leading sustainable transport system.”
Featured image: TfGM
Government refuses to deny reports HS2 may not run from Manchester to central London
The UK government is refusing to deny recent reports that HS2 may not run from Manchester directly through to central London.
The Sun reported this week that HS2 is currently in “shambles” and that rising inflation and construction costs could mean that trains may terminate in the suburbs of west London instead of London Euston, as has always been planned – with the paper saying transport bosses were considering pushing back the service’s Euston terminus to 2038, or even scrapping it all together.
The paper reported that trains would be instead stopping at a new hub at Old Oak Common in west London’s suburbs, which is about 8km (five miles) away from Euston.
Passengers would then have to finish their journeys into central London by using the Elizabeth Line.
On top of all of this, the paper also reported that anywhere between a two to five-year delay to the entire project is also being considered by the government, however ministers are refusing to confirm or deny any of the reports.
A statement provided by a Department for Transport (DfT) spokesperson reads: “The Government remains committed to delivering HS2 to Manchester, as confirmed in the autumn statement, and as well as supporting tens of thousands of jobs, the project will connect regions across the UK, improve capacity on our railways and provide a greener option of travel.”
HS2, which has the full name High Speed 2, was originally intended to connect London with Birmingham, Manchester, and Leeds.
The leg to Leeds has since been scrapped in November 2021, but work on the first phase of the project between London and Birmingham is now well under way, with a part of the line due to open by 2033, despite the fact the project has faced delays and mounting concerns over the exact route, and its potential environmental impact.
While a budget of £55.7 billion for the whole of HS2 was set in 2015, this was made before the Leeds leg was cancelled, and the estimated cost of HS2 was therefore set between £72 billion and £98 billion at 2019 prices.
A report published last October found it was unlikely that the £40.3 billion target for the first section of the line would be met.
A senior figure at the DfT warned last week that ” tough decisions” could lie ahead for the scheme.
Featured Image – HS2 (via gov.uk)
This hidden Manchester pasta and dumplings restaurant has just made the Michelin Guide
Michelin has just added some new additions to its guide, and one of our favourite Manchester restaurants has finally made the cut.
Loved by locals for its continental pasta and dumplings, gorgeous European wine list and sake collection, The Sparrows in the Green Quarter is something of a hidden gem – tucked in a disused railway arch on Red Bank.
It received rave reviews from local and national critics alike when it first opened in 2019 in a tiny space with room for just 12 covers. Since then, it’s relocated to a bigger home and its following has grown significantly.
After spending years wowing foodies in the know, the restaurant has made it onto the radar of Michelin’s inspectors at last – and we have to say, the accolade is well deserved indeed.
Front of house is headed up by Polish-born Kasia Hitchcock with her chef partner Franco Concli at the helm in the kitchen. Plates celebrate Franco’s Tyrolean heritage, with their signature dish spätzle, a rustic fresh egg pasta from which the restaurant takes its name, sitting front and centre.
Traditionally made by scraping dough from the wooden board straight into a pot of boiling water, these irregular-shaped delights translate from Swabian-German to mean “little sparrows.”
Served in multiples ways, they can be enjoyed either savoury or sweet – mixed with braised onions into a creamy gruyere and Emmental cheese sauce, as is traditional, or transformed into a pudding with a touch of cinnamon, brown sugar and butter.
Joining the now seventeen Manchester restaurants to be featured in the prestigious guide, its description reads as follows: “Nestled under the railway arches in Manchester’s Green Quarter is a restaurant whose name is (almost) the English translation of the word ‘spätzle’ – which gives some clue as to the style of food on offer here.
“The dumplings and assorted pasta dishes are all made in-house and include excellent pierogi. The focus on Eastern Europe carries through to the wine list, which has a leaning towards Polish wines.”