Quality Bus Corridors in Manchester
A Quality Bus Corridor (QBC) is an important strategic route that is improved to increase bus use. This is achieved by introducing improvements that make buses more reliable and passenger waiting facilities more efficient and comfortable. Improvements on QBC routes also make conditions better for pedestrians and cyclists.
Since 1999/2000, £88m has been invested in QBC routes in Greater Manchester and the network now covers over 172 miles of bus routes throughout the County. The programme was developed in partnership with local authorities and bus operators, with Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority provided programme governance and Transport for Greater Manchester providing programme and project management services.
QBCs have delivered a significant number of improvements including:
Over 20 miles of bus lanes;
30 new traffic signal junctions;
245 junction improvements;
162 junctions included within the GM Urban Traffic Control system;
1600 parking and loading spaces;
210 traffic management schemes;
14 miles of cycle lanes
125 new signalised pedestrian crossings;
Over 120 new pedestrian phases at traffic signal junctions; and
60 un-controlled pedestrian crossing places, such as refuge islands.
The type of investment has ranged from low-cost passenger facility upgrades to £1.5m+ improvement schemes in District Centres such as Cheetham Hill, Didsbury and Chorlton. Also, nearly 1900 bus stops have been improved to enhance the comfort and convenience of bus passengers and improve accessibility for disabled users and parents with pushchairs.
Operators have also invested heavily in QBC corridors, replacing old buses with modern low-emission vehicles and enhancing their driver training programmes. Operators have invested upwards of £55 million to improve their core QBC services.
QBC investment has been an undoubted success, with punctuality improvements across the network, reductions in bus journey times and improved competitiveness with the private car. Highway improvements have also reduced accident levels by 19% overall.
These improvements have encouraged an 18.6% patronage increase, equating to nearly 8 million extra journeys made by bus.
We now need to move forward in difficult financial times to protect the benefits that have been gained and build-on the positive results obtained through the QBC programme. Transport for Greater Manchester are currently working with our partners to identify what improvements might be included within the next GM Local Transport Plan to maintain passenger numbers and continue to growthe customer base.