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Corporate Offer - Cycle Hub

Greater Manchester launches major public consultation on how buses should be run

Lee Howarth

Greater Manchester is launching a major public consultation to get a wide range of views on how the city-region’s bus services should be run.

People across the region and beyond are being invited to have their say on a proposed bus franchising scheme through the consultation, which runs from 12pm Monday 14 October to midnight Wednesday 8 January 2020.

A series of drop-in events are being held across Greater Manchester and people can find out more and give their views at gmconsult.org as well as by email or writing to a freepost address.

Currently, in Greater Manchester, individual bus companies decide the routes, timetables, fares and standards. There is no coordination between bus services and other forms of public transport, and bus services across Greater Manchester are inconsistent.

Reforming the bus market is a key part of ‘Our Network’, Greater Manchester’s ten-year plan for a world-class, integrated public transport network, that makes getting around the city-region easy, accessible and affordable.

The proposed bus franchising scheme was developed as part of a comprehensive assessment comparing it with other realistic options – including new partnerships with the bus companies or leaving bus services as they are now.

It found that the proposed franchising scheme would be the best way to meet Greater Manchester’s objectives and future vision for buses – which include a joined-up integrated bus and public transport network, simple fares and ticketing, an improved customer experience, and better value for money.

Bus franchising is currently in place in London and other global cities. If franchising was introduced, Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) would coordinate the bus network – including routes, timetables, fares and standards – and contract bus companies to run the services.

GMCA is the first city-region in the UK to launch a public consultation on a proposed bus franchising scheme. Deputy Mayor Sir Richard Leese said: “This is a pivotal stage in Greater Manchester’s ambitions to deliver a bus network that works better for passengers and our economy.

“We think that the proposed bus franchising scheme is the best way to deliver a joined-up public transport network with simple fares and ticketing and the improved customer experience that passengers in Greater Manchester deserve.

“We are leading the way as the first combined authority to make use of new legislation and ask people for their views on whether or not this scheme is the best way to improve their bus services.

“However, no decisions have been made yet, which is why we want to hear what people think. Anyone can take part in the consultation, there is no lower age limit. You don’t have to live in Greater Manchester or be a regular bus user. In fact, we would like to hear from people who don’t currently travel by bus.

“It’s important that everyone has their say now. It’s not just bus passengers who could stand to gain. Our assessment shows that, if introduced, bus franchising could have wide-ranging economic benefits over the long-term.

“So, whether you catch the bus or not, we want to hear from you.”

Since the assessment of a proposed franchising scheme for Greater Manchester was completed, the government has indicated that it will support Greater Manchester to “deliver a London-style bus system in the area” which could include revenue funding. If government funding becomes available, this could offset any local contribution – including any requirement from the council tax/Mayoral precept.

Following the public consultation, GMCA will publish a report giving its response. The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, would then decide whether to implement the proposed franchising scheme.

Responses can be made online at gmconsult.org (online survey or downloadable questionnaire).

Written responses and questionnaires (also in public buildings across Greater Manchester) can be emailed to gmbusconsultation@ipsos-mori.com or posted to “Freepost GM BUS CONSULTATION”.

Any questions can be made by email to gmbusconsultation@greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk or by phoning 0161 244 1100.

Trafford Park Metrolink Extension - NOTIFICATION OF A PERMANENT TRAFFIC REGULATION ORDER (TRO) FOR TRAFFORD WHARF ROAD

Lee Howarth

A message from TfGM:

Dear Sir/Madam

For the Trafford Park Line Metrolink extension, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) obtained powers within The Transport for Greater Manchester (Light Rapid Transit System) (Trafford Park Extension) Order 2016 to introduce a variety of traffic restrictions to assist the operation of the tram and to ensure safety and accessibility for users of the highway.

In this regard please click here to view a Notice of Intent for the BOROUGH OF TRAFFORD (PROHIBITION OF WAITING AND LOADING AND PROVISION OF PARKING) ORDER 2001 (AMENDMENT NO 204) ORDER 2018 – Ref TPL-TWAO-13. The effect of this Order will be to introduce, No Waiting and No Loading At Any Time restrictions on Trafford Wharf Road which will come into force on the 21st October 2019.

Please note that whilst the Notice includes lengths of no waiting restrictions on Elevator Road this is purely an administrative process to adjust the length of restriction, which gets shortened due to kerbline changes, in order that the termination points remain as existing. The effects of this Order can be seen on the attached plans.

TfGM will continue to engage with stakeholders along the route and will provide further information as we progress. In the meantime, if you have any queries regarding the powers under which these restrictions are being introduced or the Metrolink extensions in general, please do not hesitate to contact either me or a member of the Future Metrolink team on 0161 244 1555 (office hours) or email MetrolinkTPL@tfgm.com.

Yours faithfully,

Steve Burns
Metrolink Stakeholder and Communications Manager, Metrolink Projects
Transport for Greater Manchester

City centre commuters advised to plan ahead this Sunday

Lee Howarth

With tens of thousands of people set to march across the city centre this Sunday commuters are being urged to plan their journeys in advance.

With tens of thousands of people set to march across the city centre this Sunday commuters are being urged to plan their journeys in advance.

Protests will be taking place as the four-day Conservative Party Conference gets under way at Manchester Central, with road closures being put in place from 9am - meaning changes to some bus services and alternative routes for other road users.

This is the sixth Conservative Party Conference that Manchester has hosted since 2009, but it is anticipated to be one of the busiest.

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has been working alongside other agencies including, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) and Manchester City Council (MCC) to coordinate travel across the city and minimise inconvenience for commuters.

A number of roads will be closed by MCC, including, but not limited to, Oxford Road, Chepstow Street, Whitworth Street West, Liverpool Road and Deansgate. It is anticipated that roads will reopen around 5pm. A map has been developed to help people get around on the day.

While Metrolink services will be running on the day, the Deansgate-Castlefield stop will be closed between 1 and 6pm for boarding and alighting due to events taking place nearby. Services will still operate through the stop, however, passengers will need to use St Peter’s Square to get on and off trams.

In addition, ongoing improvement works at Cornbrook mean that there will be no access to the platform throughout the weekend.

Full details of Sunday’s travel advice, including maps, can be found on the TfGM website.

Stephen Rhodes, TfGM’s Customer Director, said “We’ve been working with our partners at Manchester City Council and GMP for a number of weeks now to ensure the travelling public face as little disruption as possible.

“The city centre is still very much open for business but given the number of people potentially involved in the various marches, there will inevitably be some disruption to transport, particularly for road users.

“Given the sheer number of people that we’re expecting, the situation relating to travel across the four days is likely to remain fluid, particularly on Sunday.

“We’ll have additional staff working to keep the city moving, however, anyone that is planning to come into the city centre on Sunday should check the TfGM website and follow us on Twitter to stay up-to-date with the very latest travel advice.”

Turning to Monday and Tuesday evenings, travel in and around the city centre is likely to be busier than usual. On Monday (30 September) Manchester United play Arsenal at Old Trafford and on Tuesday (1 October) Manchester City host Dinamo Zagreb at the Etihad.

Transport for Greater Manchester will be providing travel advice across the four days on tfgm.com and on Twitter @OfficialTfGM.

Stretford Cycleway open for business as part of a £42 million region-wide cycling investment programme

Lee Howarth

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Stretford Cycleway has now been completed, meaning people travelling on bikes in Trafford can enjoy safer journeys away from traffic in a segregated bike lane. The 3.2km cycleway, which runs up Stretford Road and Talbot Road includes segregated cycle lanes, improved crossings, new cycle markings, carriageway surfacing and bus stop and parking bay bypasses – providing more space and protection for people travelling by bike.

Cyclists in Trafford can look forward to safer journeys away from traffic following the opening of a new £1.34M Dutch-style segregated bike lane.  

The completion of Stretford Cycleway not only opens up the opportunity for safer cycling to people across the area, it also marks a £42m investment into cycling across Greater Manchester as a whole.

The 3.2km cycleway, which runs up Stretford Road and Talbot Road includes segregated cycle lanes, improved crossings, new cycle markings, carriageway surfacing and bus stop and parking bay bypasses - providing more space and protection for people travelling by bike.

Chris Boardman said, “This is another great example of new, safe cycling infrastructure being delivered in Greater Manchester to encourage and empower people to get out of their cars and feel more comfortable making every day journeys by bike or on foot.

“It marks a real step forward in terms of where we want to be, and more people on bikes will help to tackle both air pollution and congestion.

“But it is only the start, we will now be looking carefully at the junctions the scheme runs through to build on what has been delivered and ensure this route is integrated into the wider Bee Network, meeting our high standards and getting a full seal of approval.”

The final section of the scheme to be completed was the key West Point junction, where Talbot Road, Chester Road and Stretford Road all meet. This now has a dedicated cycle phase, with mini traffic lights that will boost safety by separating people on bikes from motor vehicles as they enter the junction travelling towards the city centre.

Cllr Stephen Adshead, Executive member for Environment, Air Quality and Climate Change at Trafford Council said: “It’s great to see this new cycleway up and running for the people of Trafford and further afield, helping them to include more active travel in their daily routines, whether that’s walking or cycling the school run, a quick trip to the shops or as part of their commute to work.

“We’re keen to keep momentum going and develop more infrastructure to encourage active travel for our residents and this is only the start.”

The segregation has been created using innovative ‘Wand Orcas’; a combination of vertical wands with reflective markings and horizontal modules made from recycled rubber to offer further protection of cyclists from other road traffic.

The Stretford Cycleway improvements were made possible by funding from national government’s CCAG (Cycle City Ambition Grant) fund. The funding was split into two phases, the first worth £20 million of investment over 49 schemes. The second phase, worth £22 million, has now reached completion, delivering a further seven projects across Greater Manchester boroughs.

Overall, the projects received £42 million of investment into new infrastructure, including a flagship cycling and walking corridor on Manchester’s Oxford Road and Wilmslow Road, plus new and improved cycle routes across the region, as well as five new cycle-friendly district centres. It has also involved ten schools which have benefiting from the Cycle Schools and Colleges project which included funding for secure bike parking. 

Some of the CCAG project highlights include:

Oxford Road and Wilmslow Cycleway - With cycle lanes from Fallowfield to Oxford Street physically separated from motor traffic by kerbing, this route is Greater Manchester’s longest ‘segregated’ cycleway.

This high quality infrastructure, part-funded by the CCAG fund has proved incredibly popular with GM’s student population, with the ‘totem pole’ cycle counters recording an impressive 5,000 two-way cycle journeys in one single day.

In its first year, over one million journeys were made on the cycleway, with those numbers set to be matched for 2019.   

Guide Bridge Ramp – A new ramp, from Guide Lane down to the towpath that runs alongside the canal, has created a safe access point to the waterside that is suitable for walkers, cyclists, boaters, wheelchair users and people walking with buggies. 

The canal is in a cutting and all of the existing access points were previously hard to find. This project has provided a gentle ramp right outside the door of the railway station. This connects the Ashton canal towpath route past the National Cycling Centre and on to Manchester city centre.

Port Salford Greenway – This 3.2km traffic-free shared cycle and pedestrian route links the Bridgewater Way in Worsley with Winton and Patricroft and provides a safe and pleasant way for local communities to reach local sports clubs, green spaces and schools.

Hopwood Hall Cycleway, Rochdale – This project to provide a high quality cycle link running between Stakehill Industrial Estate and M62 junction 19 is nearing completion. The 3km route includes 1km of cycle lane defenders at regular intervals along Hollin Lane, keeping cyclists separate from vehicles on much of the busy link from Middleton to the M62, junction 19 roundabout. A new toucan crossing has also been installed on Hollin Lane linking the segregated cycle lane to the off-road route through Hopwood Woods, passing by local schools.

Saddle Junction, Wigan - The new £2.1m scheme, now has a network of cycleways and crossing points, which are completely separated from six lanes of motor traffic. The new routes provide safer and more convenient cycling and walking facilities to and through Saddle junction, linking Marsh Green, Kitt Green and Newtown with Robin Park and Wigan town centre. A 0.6 mile cycleway along Robin Park Road, from Saddle junction to Hunter Road, is separated from the pedestrian footpath by a kerb and protects both walkers and cyclists from motor traffic. New pedestrian and cycle crossings have also been installed along the route.

The completion of these projects cements Greater Manchester’s commitment to improving the cycling and walking infrastructure across the city-region, making it easier and safer for people to get around actively.

To find out more about the future plans for cycling and walking in Greater Manchester, visit www.tfgm.com/bee.

First cycle scheme as part of Greater Manchester Mayor’s Bee Network project complete along the Bridgewater Canal

Lee Howarth

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The first scheme of Greater Manchester's Bee Network has opened along the Bridgewater Canal in Wigan

The first scheme of Greater Manchester’s Bee Network, a proposal for the largest joined up cycling and walking network in the UK, covering 1,800 miles has opened in Wigan.

Formerly known as the Muddy Mile, the scheme has consisted of improvements to the Bridgewater Canal Towpath in Astley and was opened by Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham and Cycling and Walking Commissioner, Chris Boardman.

The towpath itself has been completely resurfaced, better signage has been installed and access points have been improved. The route now becomes part of the Bridgewater Way which encourages people to walk and cycle on the canal and tow path from Wigan Pier through Leigh and across the Salford boundary to Worsley, Monton and Patricroft.

The project was funded jointly by Wigan Council, the Mayor’s Cycling and Walking Challenge Fund and the Bridgewater Canal Company.

Speaking about the work, Andy Burnham said: “Cycling and walking is part of Greater Manchester’s wider transport strategy, Our Network, my 10 year plan for an integrated, modern and accessible public transport system.  

“Excellent cycling and walking links across our local neighbourhoods are vital to this vision, allowing people to walk and cycle easily and safely for shorter journeys. To see this first piece of the Bee Network in place and ready for many journeys is heartening.” 

The opening event was celebrated at The Old Boathouse with afternoon tea and complemented by two guided rides and a walk led by the council’s sister organisation, Inspiring healthy lifestyles, which both used the new route.

Leader of the council, Councillor David Molyneux said: “It’s fantastic news that the first Bee Network scheme in Greater Manchester is complete in our borough. This is another example of how we’re leading the way and working effectively with organisations to deliver ambitious plans that will revolutionise travel.”

 “We have had a lot of very positive and welcoming feedback from residents and commuters alike who are already benefitting from this scheme, demonstrating the demand for such facilities. We’re working with TfGM to urge people of all abilities to walk more and get out on their bikes. Not only will this support health and wellbeing but improves air quality and will also reduce congestion.”

Greater Manchester’s Cycling and Walking Commissioner, Chris Boardman commented: “It’s very exciting to see the first official Bee Network scheme up and running, ready for residents to use.

“The Bee Network is all about making it easier for people to get about on foot or by bike and we’re very proud to have helped deliver a route that we know will be well used by thousands of people every year.”

So far, the Bee Network consists of 57 schemes, details of which can be found here.

New unit to help keep travelling public safe

Lee Howarth

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More than 60 police officers will make up a new and dedicated transport unit to help keep the travelling public safe.

More than 60 police officers will make up a new and dedicated transport unit to help keep the travelling public safe.

The team will replace 50 PCSOs as part of a new Transport Unit. Expected to launch in the winter, it will replace the current TravelSafe Unit. 

The team will provide a proactive policing presence across the region’s transport network and work as part of the broader TravelSafe Partnership (TSP) – which includes Transport for Greater Manchester and operators – to reduce crime and antisocial behaviour (ASB) and improve public confidence and road safety.

For the first time the unit will provide a response function to deal with ongoing crimes and incidents affecting public transport.

The changes are being partly-funded through an increase in local council tax, responding to residents’ calls for tougher policing on the transport network.

Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester, Bev Hughes, said: “When members of the public use the transport system they have an absolute right to expect that they will be safe. And people will not use public transport unless they feel safe and know they’ll be safe. That’s why we have taken action to strengthen even further the security of the system.

“This investment in the TravelSafe Unit will enable tougher enforcement across the transport network, stopping offenders in their tracks and keeping the public safe.

“Significantly, for the first-time the unit will have the capability to respond to crimes in action and help restore the transport network following disruption.

“I hope this new unit will reassure all those who use our roads and public transport systems that their safety and wellbeing is my absolute priority.

“I also want to thank the PCSOs who have done great work over the last two years. Now they can bring their skills and experience to the wider community, as we bolster neighbourhood policing across Greater Manchester.”

The TSP takes an intelligence-lead, problem-solving approach to tackling crime and ASB, including proactive operations and ‘target hardening’ measures.

The partnership also benefits from TfGM and Metrolink’s control rooms, which have an extensive range of CCTV cameras that are monitored 24/7.

CASE STUDY: Operation Infinity  

The TravelSafe-led ‘Operation Infinity’ ran between 13 and 26 August 2018 in response to ongoing complaints of criminal and antisocial behaviour on the Oldham and Rochdale Metrolink line.

Joint intelligence was used to deploy officers and staff across the line at specific times to deter and disrupt criminality. Officers were supported by partner resources, including GMP’s Mounted Unit and Oldham Council’s Youth Engagement Officers. It resulted in 13 arrests, 105 intelligence submissions and 153 young people being spoken to. Metrolink staff also issued over 2,600 revenue enforcement tickets.

The long-term impact of the operation has seen crime and antisocial behaviour on the line fall significantly. The four months prior to the operation (May - August) saw 170 recorded incidents, compared to just 97 incidents during the four months after the operation (September - December). This has continued into 2019, with 136 incidents recorded from January to April compared to 176 in the same period in 2018, a 23% drop.