Manchester’s free city centre Metroshuttle service will run on a new eco-fleet of low carbon, hybrid buses following a relaunch of the popular service, which last year carried over 2.5 million passengers.
As well as the new vehicles, Metroshuttle has also been given a fresh new look, which retains the existing three route colours of green, purple and orange, and includes a logo to reflect the vehicles’ green credentials.
Manchester Metroshuttle is provided free to all passengers and is funded under a partnership of Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Authority (GMITA), Manchester City Council, NCP Manchester Ltd and Allied London (Spinningfields).
The new Metroshuttle fleet, comprising 20 vehicles, was unveiled yesterday at Manchester Town Hall.
Councillor David Sandiford, Chair of the GMITA Bus Network and GMPTE Services Committee, said: “Over the years, Metroshuttle has become a highly valued feature of Manchester city centre and I am delighted we are not only continuing this free service but we are able to do so with new, green buses.
“Metroshuttle is very popular with an average 48,000 passenger trips every week as people use the service to get to work, college or university, go shopping or visit many of the city’s top tourist attractions.
“The future is certainly looking bright for Metroshuttle and I would encourage everyone to hop on board and enjoy the freedom of our great city.”
Originally introduced in 2002, Metroshuttle now operates three routes, which together provide passengers with a free bus service to all the main city centre areas.
Following a successful bid to the DfT’s Green Bus Fund last year, Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive (GMPTE) was awarded £1.14 million of funding to replace the current buses.
Councillor Sandiford added: “In addition to the environmental benefits of the new fleet, Metroshuttle passengers will be able to see a number of improvements in the service itself.
“The relaunched service will be operated by First in Manchester, under contract to GMPTE, to a new set of standards, with drivers having a greater focus on customer service, and the new buses will also operate more smoothly.”
The buses, which have been manufactured by Optare plc, will use up to 30 per cent less fuel and reduce emissions by an estimated 140 tonnes of carbon per year across the full service, when compared to the current fleet.
Each bus will feature the latest technology, combining automatic passenger counting, onboard information, CCTV and vehicle diagnostics into a single integrated system.