Go online to see public transport plan unveiled

Independent Councillor Norman Bradbury
Independent Councillor Norman Bradbury

A NEW website has gone live detailing the plans for a controversial new public transport scheme in Leigh.

The Leigh guided busway is a £78m scheme being implemented by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) aimed at improving the bus route between Leigh and Manchester.

The 21 kilometre route – due to be operational by 2014 – will follow much of the route of the former railway between Leigh/Salford/ Manchester will provide a “fast, efficient and reliable” public transport linking the town with the city via Tyldesley and Ellenbrook Newearth Road close to the East Lancs Road. TfGM also say it will It will boost employment as well as access to, education and healthcare while, say supporters, bring opportunities for investment into the area.

Alongside the guided section will be a dedicated path for walkers, cyclists and horseriders to use, and park and ride facilities will be available at Leigh, Tyldesley and Worsley.

TfGM say that they will now be working closely with Wigan Council, Salford City Council, and Manchester City Council during the implementation of the scheme, and will consult with the local community on the exact position of the route and stops.

According to the new website the scheme will see a 7km stretch of the busway route be guided from Leigh to Ellenbrook on which only specifically adapted buses will be able to travel, allowing them to avoid busy traffic.

However, not everybody believes the scheme will work or is good value for money. Coun Norman Bradbury, an Independent member of TfGM, said: “You have to ask £78m for what? Five miles of Guided Busway and a bus lane which only two years ago had an estimated cost of £56.2m.

”At the time I predicted it would cost nearer £80m, and we’re not far away from that now. The decision to go ahead with this project is political, has no backing from the people of Leigh, and makes no sense to professionals in the transport industry.

“The busway will improve journey times from Leigh to Manchester by 12 minutes, but with a limited number of stops it will be less accessible to commuters.”

The website can be viewed at www.tfgm.com/busway