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Corporate Offer - Cycle Hub

Park and Ride set for huge boost across Greater Manchester

Lee Howarth


Following the launch of Our Network – the Mayor’s ambitious 10-year vision for an integrated-transport system in Greater Manchester – TfGM has confirmed 1,000 new park and ride spaces are on their way.

Last week Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, pledged to boost park and ride (P&R) provision across the region by the end of 2020 to help deliver a modern, integrated and accessible public transport system.

Work is now being carried out to assess potential P&R expansions, as well as the development of completely new sites, with locations in Radcliffe, Whitefield, Withington on existing Metrolink lines and adjacent to the new Trafford Park Line, currently under review.

Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “Many people have to use their cars for part of their journey before they switch to public transport and park and ride sites are critical in helping people switch to trams, trains and buses.

“I’m regularly asked about whether or not new park and ride sites are on the way and I’m pleased to say that there are a number of locations that are currently being developed to provide park and ride facilities. Work is ongoing but we are looking at 1,000 extra spaces being delivered to ensure people can access public transport as easily as possible.

“Alongside the introduction of contactless payment on Metrolink, Our Pass, new cycling and walking measures and work that is under way to improve the way our bus network operates, we are taking steps towards an integrated transport system for Greater Manchester.

“But to ensure we unlock our potential and make journeys easier Greater Manchester needs more investment into its transport networks and the powers to manage it effectively and I will continue to press government until it becomes a reality.”

Work to deliver on the Mayor’s 10-year vision for our public transport network is already seeing major strides made:

• the launch of a Contactless payment system on Metrolink is due imminently
• the new Our Pass scheme will see 16-18 year olds receive free travel and a wealth of other benefits
• a new bike hire scheme that includes electric bikes is set to launch in 2020
• confirmation that an assessment into the future of the city-region’s bus market has now been completed and has recommended franchising as its preferred option.

Expanding Greater Manchester’s P&R offering is central to the region’s growing public transport network as they make access to trams, trains and buses easier and more accessible, which in turn, helps to reduce congestion and improve air quality.

Work to assess the sites in more detail, including the number of spaces at each location, is taking place now alongside local councils and more details will be released later this year.

New traffic tech could see the back of late running buses

Lee Howarth

A recent trial carried out by Transport for Greater Manchester could see improved bus punctuality on some of the region’s busiest routes.

The four-week long pilot used the latest traffic signalling technology to help late running buses make-up time on one of Greater Manchester’s busiest bus corridors, the A6 Stockport Road. The scheme monitored both benefits to buses and general traffic, as well as the impact on pedestrian wait times.

SCOOT (Split Cycle Offset Optimisation Technique), technology was used, which analyses real-time traffic data to optimise and co-ordinate traffic signal timings. The system was used to prioritise the journeys of Greater Manchester’s busiest bus service, the 192, at 14 sets of traffic lights along the busy route between Stockport and Manchester, by the ‘lateness’ of each given bus.

By using transmitters found on most modern buses, the SCOOT system would quickly identify the vehicle to extend the green time as it approached lights – effectively enabling late running services to pass through the junction without the need to stop and wait.

Results showed that of all messages received by the signals throughout the week, 11.8% resulted in priority being granted to buses running behind schedule, providing an average saving of 31 seconds per junction. Across an average commuter’s journey, these savings could add up to a considerable reduction in journey time.

Across weekday morning and evening peaks, respectively, 8.2% and 12.9% of messages resulted in priority being granted, with 11.5% over the weekend.

Punctuality and reliability are always cited by current or potential bus passengers as a key consideration when they are deciding whether to travel by bus or not. Delays to services are often caused by congestion across the region’s road network.

It’s estimated that congestion costs Greater Manchester’s economy around £1.3 billion each year in lost time and productivity, not to mention the health and wellbeing impacts it has on the region’s 2.8 million residents.

Alison Chew, Head of Bus Services at TfGM, said: “The A6 bus priority trial was extremely positive and could see us permanently extend the use of this technology across more of the region’s busiest routes.

“Tackling congestion and improving air quality are two priorities for us at the minute and clearly measures that improve the reliability of public transport is one way of encouraging more people to leave the car at home.

“Buses carry around 200 million passengers per year, representing 75% of all public transport trips in Greater Manchester. When you also consider that around three quarters of all journeys made by cars and vans in the morning peak only carry one person, and that a bus can carry in excess of 70 passengers, it’s clear that buses represent a more efficient use of road space.

“While it’s early days, the results that we’ve seen from this initial pilot suggest that if bus priority schemes were increased, services would be more punctual, encouraging more users to use buses and helping to contribute to reduced congestion across the region. Therefore benefitting not only bus users but other road users and pedestrians as well.”

Passengers set to benefit from new contactless payments on Metrolink

Lee Howarth


Metrolink passengers across Greater Manchester are set to benefit from a new and easy-to-use contactless payment system – transforming the way people pay for public transport.

Launching on Monday 15 July, it will see Greater Manchester joining a small band of leading global city-regions including New York, Rio and Singapore, which are currently also introducing the technology.

It also marks one of the first tangible steps towards Our Network – the Mayor’s ten-year plan to create an integrated, modern and accessible public transport system.

Metrolink customers can already use their contactless bank card to buy a ticket at a ticket machine, and this will remain an option. What the new ‘intelligent’ contactless system will do is cut out the need to buy a ticket or download the app – with passengers simply required to touch-in and touch-out at tram stops, with the system working out their fare, up to a daily cap.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, said: “On Monday we opened applications for Our Pass and today I’m pleased to be able to announce that contactless will launch on Metrolink on 15 July.

“These initiatives are the first of many on our journey towards the integrated, London-style transport system we want to see here.

“Contactless payments on Metrolink in particular will be a major boost for many people, including commuters and the millions of visitors we get every single year.

“It is something people visiting London will already be familiar with and will make travel by tram easier, and improve access to jobs, leisure, skills and education opportunities across Greater Manchester.”

TfGM has been working closely with leading global payments provider Visa to introduce the new system. Recent research conducted by Visa highlighted that complex payment options acted as a barrier to travel and was also the cause of many complaints. The research also revealed public transport use could increase by as much as 27% if payment was easier.

Nick Mackie, Visa Global Head of Urban Mobility, said: “The future of our cities is intertwined with – and reliant on – a public transportation system that is easy for residents and visitors to use while also being cost effective to operate.”

“Our partnership with Manchester uses the power and ease of contactless payments to improve the experience of living, working and travelling around the city.”

TfGM’s launch of contactless ticketing on Metrolink represents the first aggregated Pay As You Go implementation on light rail outside of London, following the Contactless Transit Framework developed by UK Finance, and features in their latest Contactless Transit Report.

Eric Leenders, Managing Director, Personal Finance UK Finance, said: “Digital payments are transforming the way we pay for goods and services in the UK, and transport is no exception.

“Research by UK Finance shows 69 per cent of adults in the UK are now using contactless payments, as consumers choose to opt for the speed and convenience of paying with their contactless cards.

“We are delighted to see TfGM’s launch of contactless ticketing on Metrolink, following several years of work between the finance and transport industries.”

The new system will mean customers can simply touch-in at the start of a journey and touch-out at the end using a contactless bank card or another contactless-enabled payment device, such as a phone or watch. The system will then automatically work out the total daily fare for a customer’s journeys and the price will be capped – to ensure they are paying no more than the relevant adult daily 1-day travelcard price.

Day-capping is especially beneficial to those who are less frequent travellers on Metrolink and who buy adult day and single tickets – which totalled more than 11.5m in 2018.

Greater Manchester’s Bee Network increases to 1,800 miles as £134m of new cycling and walking schemes announced

Lee Howarth

One year on from the launch of its proposals for the UK’s largest cycling and walking network, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has today published an updated Bee Network map which has seen the total length of the network increase by 77% - from almost 1,000 miles to more than 1,800 miles. The total number of new and upgraded crossings has also increased from 2,000 to 2,400.

The changes to the Bee Network map have taken into account feedback from local authorities and the 4,000 public comments received when it was first published in June last year.

TfGM also today announced that a total of 15 new Bee Network cycling and walking schemes with a total value of £134m will be considered by Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) this week.

If approved, this would take the number of endorsed schemes so far to 57 and will deliver 469 new and upgraded crossings and junctions as well as 127 miles of new cycling and walking routes, to be known as Beeways. This includes 20 miles of Busy Beeways, Dutch-style cycle lanes that are protected from motor traffic.

The latest schemes would bring the total value of proposed cycling and walking related-projects across Greater Manchester to around £339 million. Around £160 million of this funding is from the Mayor’s Challenge Fund with £120 million coming from local contributions. A further £74 million funding will now be sought to fully cover the cost of all of the schemes plus associated programme costs.

Schemes being proposed include a huge £32 million cycling and walking programme for Wigan, including a segregated cycling route along the A49 plus the transformation of several neighbourhoods to make them more people-friendly for on foot and by bike travel. A continuous east-west walking and cycling route in the north and east Manchester city centre fringe serving Ancoats, New Islington and the Green quarter is also proposed. A complete overhaul of the cycling and walking environment is also planned for Salford as well as a major active neighbourhood project in Urmston, where the movement of people is prioritised over the movement of cars.

TfGM has also today published an update on its plans for a GM bike hire scheme, confirming an ambition to launch the first phase in Spring 2020.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “A Greater Manchester-wide bike hire scheme will be an integral part of our transport network. If we can get tens of thousands of people doing their first and last mile on a bike or on foot, we’ll be well on our way to creating a more integrated, sustainable and varied transport offer.

“The 15 schemes being proposed today are an exciting next step towards building the Bee Network. When complete it will be the largest joined-up walking and cycling network in the country. We’re embarking on an active travel revolution in Greater Manchester and I’m looking forward to the first Bee Network schemes opening later this year.”

Greater Manchester’s Cycling and Walking Commissioner, Chris Boardman, said: “I couldn’t have imagined when I took up this role two years ago that we’d get to a point where we’re already oversubscribed funding-wise because we have so many high quality schemes being proposed. What a fantastic problem to have. We can crack on with the development and build of a lot of these schemes - and in the meantime we’re going to scale up our campaign to secure further funding and will shortly publish a delivery plan. A true alternative to the car is something that Greater Manchester residents clearly want – that’s why I’m so pleased to announce that our planned network is now longer and more comprehensive than before.”

The 15 new proposed projects being funded as part of the Mayor’s Challenge Fund are:

1. Bolton Town Centre Phase 1 (East) - £4.1 million

This project will improve the on foot and by bike experience across a large part of the town centre, including creating seven new crossings, upgrading two junctions, creating two-way cycle tracks on one-way streets, upgrading two subways and delivering more cycle parking.
The scheme is expected to cost in the region of £4.1 million with £3.5 million coming from the Mayor’s Challenge Fund and £0.6 million in local contributions.

2. Bury Fishpool - £3.6 million

This project will deliver a series of junction improvements, new routes and infrastructure enhancements to connect communities and improve safety in the Fishpool area of Bury.
The scheme is expected to cost in the region of £3.6 million with £3.4 million coming from the Mayor’s Challenge Fund and £0.2 million in local contributions.

3. Manchester Northern and Eastern Gateway - £13.2 million

Connecting the neighbourhoods of Ancoats, New Islington, New Cross, New Town, Redbank and the Green Quarter, this scheme will create a high quality, continuous east-west walking and cycling route in the north and east city centre fringe.

The scheme is expected to cost in the region of £13.2 million with £4.2 million coming from the Mayor’s Challenge Fund and £9 million in local contributions.

__Salford __
4. Salford City Centre Package - £28.2 million

This scheme will remove the barriers to cycling and walking in Salford’s city centre, delivering a complete, high-quality walking and cycling network across the entire area, linked to public transport.

The scheme is expected to cost in the region of £28.2 million with £23.1 million coming from the Mayor’s Challenge Fund and £5.1 million in local contributions.

  1. Salford RHS Links - £2 million

This scheme will significantly improve the on foot and by bike experience in the area, improving access to the new RHS Bridgewater Garden, Parr Fold Park, Worsley College and Walkden Train Station.
The scheme is expected to cost in the region of £2 million with £1.3 million coming from the Mayor’s Challenge Fund and £0.7 million in local contributions.

__Stockport __
6. Stockport Heaton Norris Bridge - £6.8 million


A new cycling and walking bridge will replace the existing narrow, unattractive pedestrian bridge over the M60 on a key route linking Heaton Norris with Stockport town centre. This scheme also includes a new path within Heaton Norris park, a signalised junction upgrade and one parallel crossing.

The scheme is expected to cost in the region of £6.8 million with £5.8 million coming from the Mayor’s Challenge Fund and £1 million in local contributions.

  1. Stockport Hempshaw Lane – £1.2 million

This scheme will provide new crossings as well as delivering a new walking and cycling route through St. Thomas’ Recreation Ground.

The scheme is expected to cost in the region of £1.2 million with £0.7 million coming from the Mayor’s Challenge Fund and £0.5 million in local contributions.

8. Tameside Ashton West Retail Centre Link Bridge - £1.2 million

A new 60 metre cycling and walking bridge will be delivered by this scheme linking existing facilities to the north and south of Manchester Road and Ashton Metrolink. Ramped access will be provided to a wide shared bridge area suitable for all users.

The scheme is expected to cost in the region of £1.2 million with the total cost coming from the Mayor’s Challenge Fund.

  1. Tameside Ashton Streetscape Scheme – £6.1 million

High quality walking and cycling routes will be delivered across and along the A6043 Wellington Road / Albion Way corridor, forming part of Phase 3 of the Vision Tameside public realm works.
The scheme is expected to cost in the region of £6.1 million with £3.5 million coming from the Mayor’s Challenge Fund and £2.6 million in local contributions.

  1. Tameside Ashton South - £1.2 million


This scheme will establish cycle routes into and through the town centre and enhance the environment for pedestrians. The scheme will consider the use of contraflow cycle lanes and potentially reversing sections of one-way streets to deter motor vehicles rat running. The scheme will also reduce speed limits, remove unnecessary street furniture and provide additional cycle parking within the town centre.

The scheme is expected to cost in the region of £1.2 million with the total cost coming from the Mayor’s Challenge Fund.

Transport for Greater Manchester
11. GM Safety Camera Digitisation and Upgrade - £9.2 million

The project will reduce road danger by improving red traffic light and speed limit compliance through the replacement of existing safety camera housings and identifying new prioritised locations. The latest technology will assist in improving red-light; spot speed; and average speed compliance rates. This is a Safer Roads Greater Manchester (SRGM) partnership initiative between TfGM, GMP; and GM Local Authorities. The newly prioritised locations will be identified in co-ordination with Bee Network schemes and delivery Partners.

The scheme is expected to cost in the region of £9.2 million with match funding of £400k from SRGM and the remainder from the Mayor’s Challenge Fund.

  1. TfGM Active Neighbourhoods Support - £3.2 million

This scheme involves the development and delivery of 10 active neighbourhoods across Greater Manchester – where the movement of people is prioritised over the movement of motor traffic. The schemes will be delivered by a bespoke team of specialists in close collaboration with the community from the outset. The locations for the active neighbourhoods will identified over the coming weeks.

The scheme is expected to cost in the region of £3.2 million with £2.8 million coming from the Mayor’s Challenge Fund and £0.4 million in local contributions.

13. Sale – Sale Moor – Sale Water Park - £10.4 million


A safe, high-quality and attractive walking and cycling route will be delivered, linking Sale town centre, the district of Sale Moor and Sale Water Park, connecting with Chorlton, Manchester.

The scheme is expected to cost in the region of £10.4 million with £8.4 million coming from the Mayor’s Challenge Fund and £2.0 million in local contributions.

  1. Trafford Urmston Area Active Neighbourhood - £11.5 million

This major active neighbourhood scheme will significantly improve the walking and cycling environment in the Urmston area. Interventions will be community and stakeholder driven and it is expected that they will include segregated cycle routes, new and upgraded crossings, improved signage, parklets, school street treatments and collision reduction measures.

The scheme is expected to cost in the region of £11.5 million with £11.4 million coming from the Mayor’s Challenge Fund and £0.1 million in local contributions.

15. Wigan Standish to Ashton - £32.2 million


This scheme will deliver high quality, attractive alternatives to the car along Wigan’s A49 corridor, including segregated cycle lanes and improved crossings. The project will deliver 13 miles of traffic free routes, including almost six miles of resurfaced off-road routes, four miles of refurbished canal towpath, three miles of completely new path on a disused railway line, including Whelley viaduct. Three sets of steps will be replaced with ramps to open up the ‘3 bridges’ link over the canal, river and railway. Around 13 protected junctions on A-roads, three miles of segregated cycle lanes and 13 miles of routes on quiet roads will also be delivered as well as neighbourhood cycle parking and parklets.

The scheme is expected to cost in the region of £32.2 million with £22.2 million coming from the Mayor’s Challenge Fund and £10 million in local contributions.

The £160 million that the Mayor of Greater Manchester has allocated to the Mayor’s Cycling and Walking Challenge Fund has been made possible thanks to national government’s Transforming Cities Fund.

The Transforming Cities Fund aims to improve productivity and spread prosperity through investment in public and sustainable transport in some of the largest English city regions and was first announced on 20 November 2017 by the Prime Minister.

Just the ticket! Pupils take action on air pollution

Lee Howarth


Thousands of school children across Greater Manchester are taking action to improve air quality at their school gates for Clean Air Day (Thursday 20 June).

Pupils from across the city region are taking to the streets outside their schools to tackle cars parked with their engines running, a large contributor to air pollution. ‘Mini PCSOs’ are patrolling their school zones, presenting fake ‘penalty notices’ to drivers, encouraging them to turn off their engine when they stop. They are also giving them information about how dirty air is affecting all of us and what small changes we can make to reduce it.

Louise Warburton, Bolton Youth Council representative on the Greater Manchester Youth Combined Authority, said: “Across Greater Manchester, dirty air is affecting our health and young people are one of the more vulnerable groups. Today’s activity with more than 80 schools across the region is a chance to spread the message that, if we all make small changes, we can reduce air pollution and clean up Greater Manchester’s dirty air.”

Greater Manchester’s Cycling and Walking Commissioner, Chris Boardman, added: “There’s nothing like the sight of children patrolling their streets to improve air quality to make parents and carers switch off their engines or – better still – make their journey to school without a car.
“It’s fantastic to see young people taking matters into their own hands and it’s been great to visit some schools today to hear about the difference it’s made.”

Clean Air Week (17-23 June 2019) is running across the whole of Greater Manchester, with a range of events taking place to share information and top tips of how we can all play a part in reducing pollution in the air we breathe.

Electric bike and vehicle roadshows are being held across the region, while artist Michael Pinsky’s Pollution Pods are on display at MediaCityUK, where visitors can safely experience the air quality of five different global cities, starting with the clean air of a Norwegian fjord, through to smog and pollution found in London, New Delhi, Beijing and Sao Paolo.

Greater Manchester’s 10 local councils are developing a Clean Air Plan to tackle the major risk that air pollution poses to our health. The proposals include introducing a Clean Air Zone across the whole of Greater Manchester, alongside major government funding to clean up the region’s most-polluting vehicles.

Residents and businesses currently have the chance to give their views on the proposals by responding to a survey on the website. The survey closes at midnight on Sunday 30 June 2019.

Pollution Pods land in Greater Manchester for Clean Air Week 2019

Lee Howarth


An internationally acclaimed artwork – allowing people to safely experience air pollution and smog from different cities around the world – is set to appear in Greater Manchester to mark the region’s first ever Clean Air Week.

Following stints in London and Vancouver, Michael Pinsky’s immersive Pollution Pods will be appearing in MediaCityUK from Monday 17 until Sunday 23 June.

The installation, brought to you by the Cape Farewell Foundation, will be open for free to the public throughout Clean Air Week, and uses harmless, specially created conditions to simulate the air quality in cities around the world.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “Air pollution is a major public health risk and we have to take urgent steps to tackle the issue in Greater Manchester.

“It’s also vital that we raise awareness of the health impacts of poor air quality. These Pollution Pods provide a really innovative and interesting way of allowing people to safely experience poor air quality for themselves and I would urge anyone who can make it to come along and find out more.

“I’d also encourage people to let us know their thoughts about Greater Manchester’s proposals for tackling poor air quality. A survey is open now online and closes on Sunday 30 June.”

Anyone who does visit the Pollution Pods will pass through a series of climatically controlled domes comparing five contrasting global environments, starting with the truly clean air of Tautra in Norway, through to smog and pollution found in London, New Dehli, Beijing and Sao Paolo, which between them suffer from some of the lowest air quality in the world.

As part of the MRC Festival on Thursday 20 June a team of air quality scientists from Kings College in London will be on site working with Manchester schools to better inform our youngsters what causes pollution and how we all need to be part of the solution – walking to school, bicycling, using clean public transport.

Clean Air Week itself aims to increase awareness of dirty air, which contributes to the equivalent of 1,200 deaths in Greater Manchester each year, as well as the simple changes we can all take to make our region’s air cleaner. This year the focus is on encouraging people to try walking and cycling for more of their short journeys.

Artist Michael Pinsky said: “Art should get people thinking and the Pollution Pods do just that. By taking people through a range of different cities and regions and exposing them to the simulated poor air quality their residents have to live with every day, we hope to raise awareness of this serious issue.

“What we do in the Pollution Pods is completely safe and harmless, but the same cannot be said for the areas we are recreating. Air pollution can seriously affect people’s health and wellbeing so we really need to be thinking about what can be done to tackle this issue.

“There is so much we can do to improve air quality in our cities and I hope the installation inspires people young and old to think about the difference they could make.”

The pods, which are completely free to enter, will be appearing in the Piazza at MediaCityUK and will be open to the public between 10am and 7pm every day from Monday 17 June to Sunday 23 June. They will also be hosting a number of schools from across Greater Manchester on Thursday 20 June – which is national Clean Air Day.

Clean Air Week will see a range of activities take place, from schools events to community roadshows giving people the chance to test drive a range of electric vehicles or get advice on how to do more of their everyday trips on foot or by bike. Every year, around 200 million journeys of one kilometre or less across Greater Manchester are made in a car.

There will also be a meeting of Cycling and Walking Commissioners from across the UK who will be discussing what asks can be made of Government to encourage active travel and help tackle air pollution and congestion.

In order to tackle the major risk that air pollution poses to our health, the 10 local councils in Greater Manchester are developing a Clean Air Plan.

The proposals include a Clean Air Zone across the whole of Greater Manchester, alongside major government funding to clean up the region’s most-polluting vehicles.

The proposals are open to the public to share their opinions on, by responding to a survey until Sunday 30 June 2019.

For more information on the proposals, and to complete the survey, visit