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First Manchester is one of the bus companies serving Greater Manchestermarker, a metropolitan county in North West England. It forms part of FirstGroup, a company operating transport services across the British Isles and in North America. The company operates within the area covered by the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive, a public body responsible for helping to co-ordinate public transport services in the Greater Manchester area.

History

Before bus deregulation in 1986, buses in the Greater Manchester area were publicly funded and went under the name of Greater Manchester Transport. In 1986, with de-regulation, Greater Manchester Transport became known as GM Buses, which were effectively owned by the metropolitan borough and city councils of Greater Manchester, but were at arms' length from the local town halls. During the mid-1990s GM Buses was divided into two compaines: GMN (GM Buses (North)) and GMS (GM South Buses). British Bus looked set to acquire GM North, but eventually both were bought out by their management and employees. Within a year, however, GM South Buses were bought by the Stagecoach Group and rebranded as Stagecoach Manchester.

When GM Buses North were eventually bought by First the whole GMN fleet was rebranded as Greater Manchester. This was just a trade name as legal name of the company remained GMBuses North however in 1998 the company was renamed First Manchester Ltd and likewise the trading name also changed to First Manchester.

After a period of experimentation with the livery, a lighter shade of orange was adopted and all other colours were dropped, leaving a fleet of plain light orange buses.

First Manchester soon ended up managing two other First subsidiaries: First Potteries and its sister First Pennine. That even included many GM Standard Atlanteans making their way to those two fleets.

However, First Manchester became unpopular with both its passengers and the local PTE . Reliability plummeted, buses were often dirty and very few new buses came into the fleet. This partly fuelled the PTEs' calls for re-regulation in their areas .

Eventually the First Pennine and Manchester subsidiaries were merged, adding a number of routes in the Tameside area to First Manchester. A new management team was put in place and First Manchester was relieved of its responsibility for the Potteries subsidiary.

Several years on and many of the old orange fleet have been replaced by new vehicles in the white, magenta and blue livery featured on most other First Bus fleets.

The fleet over the previous years has been of interest and initially consisted on First's takeover of Dodge S56, Mercedes-Benz 709D and 811D and Iveco 59.12 minibuses, Dennis Dart, Volvo B6 and a solitary Volvo B6LE midibus, Leyland National, Leyland National 2, Leyland Lynx and Volvo B10B single-deck vehicles and Leyland Fleetline, Leyland Atlantean, Leyland Olympian, MCW Metrobus and Volvo Citybus double-deck vehicles. Most of the double-deckers were to the standard GMPTE body design with Northern Counties coachwork.

Over the course of the early years the fleet had new vehicles introduced in the form of further Dennis Darts, Volvo B6-50s, Volvo B6LEs and new types consisting of the Mercedes-Benz Citaro O530, Optare Solo, Volvo B6BLE, Volvo B10L, Volvo B10BLE, Volvo B7L, Volvo B10LA and Scania L94UA. The policy was to swing away from buying any more new double-deck vehicles at this stage however second-hand vehicles came mainly from other FirstGroup subsidiaries or via takeovers, these consisted of further Mercedes-Benz minibuses; Volvo B10B, Scania L113CRL and L94UB, Volvo B10L, Volvo B10BLE and Mercedes-Benz O405 single-deckers; MCW Metrobus MKII, Leyland Olympian, Leyland Olympian tri-axle, Volvo Olympian, Volvo Citybus, Dennis Dominator, and Scania N112DRB and N113DRB double-deckers. Many of these vehicles have subsequently moved away including all Volvo B10Ls, most Scania L94UBs, all Volvo Citybuses, all Leyland Olympians and tri-Axle Leyland Olympians, all Dennis Dominators, all Scania double-deckers, some Volvo B10BLEs (some of these even came back again), all Volvo B7Ls (most of which had been purchased for use during the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games and were never used in normal service) and all Mercedes-Benz minibuses. Withdrawals of Mercedes-Benz 0405s recently commenced as have withdrawals of Volvo B10Bs. All non-low-floor Dennis Dart and Volvo B6 midis have also been withdrawn and scrapped.

In 2005 a start was made on renewing the fleet. Phase 1 involved the purchase of 256 Wright Eclipse Urban bodied Volvo B7RLE saloons and 18 Scania CN94UA OmniCity articulated buses. These were delivered throughout 2005 and 2006. In 2007 a fleet of 36 Volvo B9TLs with Wright Eclipse Gemini bodywork followed. These were the first new double-deckers for some years. In 2008 a new Phase commenced of replacing Volvo B7RLEs bought in 2005 and 2006 along with about 100 older saloons with 210 Volvo B9TLs with Wright Eclipse Gemini bodywork over a two year period of 2008 and 2009 to be followed by 5 Wright Gemini hybrid integral deckers and then a commitment of investment for the five years after that of around 40-80 buses per year.

Over the years several fleets have been taken over; these have included Timeline Travel (Leigh) (North GM Area Bus Operations), Pioneer (Rochdale) (Bus Operations), Coachmasters (Rochdale) (Bus Operations) as well as the transfer of First PMT's Dukinfield fleet to First Manchester control.

Various depots have been closed over the past 12 years including Atherton (1998), Bolton Crook Street (2004) (replaced by a new depot at Weston Street), Knowsley (2008), Rochdale (2004) and Trafford Park (2005) sites at Lowton, Bolton and Manchester Piccadilly have also been used temporarily for either acquired fleet (Lowton/Bolton) in 1998 or for the Commonwealth Games in 2002 (Manchester Piccadilly).

Depots

  • Bolton depot: Weston Street
Types operated from Bolton

30000s: Volvo B9TL, Volvo Olympian, Dennis Arrow (loaned from Wigan/Ince depots)

40000s: Dennis Dart SLF

60000s: Volvo B10B, Volvo B7RLE

  • Bury depot: Rochdale Road
Types operated from Bury

10000s: Scania OmniCity CN94UA artics, plus one Scania L94UA/Wright

30000s: Volvo Olympians

60000s: Mercedes-Benz Citaro, Volvo B7RLE, Scania L94UB

  • Tameside depot: Rothesay Garage, Broadway, Dukinfield
Types operated from Dukinfield

30000s: Dennis Arrow, Volvo Olympian

40000s: Dennis Dart, Dennis Dart SLF, Optare Solo

50000s: one Optare Solo (50280)

60000s: Iveco Vehixel Scolabus

  • Manchester depot: Queens Road, Cheetham
Types operated from Manchester Depot

30000s: Volvo B9TL

40000s: Volvo B6LE, Volvo B6BLE, Optare Solo

50000s: Optare Solo

60000s: Volvo B10B, Volvo B10BLE, Volvo B7RLE, Mercedes-Benz 0405

  • Oldham depot & HQ: Wallshaw Street
Types operated from Oldham Depot

30000s: Volvo B9TL, Volvo Olympian

40000s: Dennis Dart SLF, Optare Solo

60000s: Volvo B7RLE, Mercedes-Benz 0405

  • Wigan depot: Pottery Road
Types operated from Wigan Depot

30000s: Dennis Arrow, Volvo B9TL

40000s: Dennis Dart SLF, Optare Excel

60000s: Optare Excel, Volvo B10B, Volvo B10BLE, Volvo B7RLE

  • Ince School Unit depot: Seaman Way
Types operated from Ince Depot

30000s: Dennis Arrow, Volvo Olympian

60000s: Volvo B10B, Volvo B10BLE (day to day loan from Wigan) and Iveco Vehixel Scolabus

Fleet

First Manchester's fleet consists of around 860 active vehicles. Over half are of Volvo manufacture.

Fleet Numbering System

As with all FirstGroup Fleets a 5 digit Numbering System is used which groups types of vehicle to fleetnumbers, these are:-

10000 Bendybuses

20000 Coaches (None currently Operated)

30000 Double-Deck Buses

40000 Midibuses

50000 Minibuses

60000 Single-Deck Saloon Vehicles and Single-Deck Yellow Schoolbuses

80000 Ancillary Vehicles not based on buses

90000 Ancillary Vehicles that have never been operational buses

The series are not always applied consistently, for example First Manchester's longer Optare Solos are numbered in the 50000 series (nominally for minibuses), whilst the shorter ones are numbered in the 40000 series (midibuses).

Articulated buses

First Manchester pioneered the use of low-floor articulated buses in the United Kingdom with the delivery in 1998 and 1999 of fifteen Volvo B10LAs with Wright Fusion bodywork. These were initially used on service 135 between Manchester and Bury, these then transferred to Bolton and have been used on the 8 Bolton - Manchester and more recently on the 582 Bolton - Atherton - Leigh services. Their introduction on the 582 was somewhat controversial, with users claiming that the reliability and frequency of the service had suffered. In April 2009 these Volvo artics were placed into storage, with the possibility of them being cascaded within First Group.

In 2005, eighteen new Scania OmniCity articulated buses arrived to take over operation of the 135. A single Scania L94UA / Wright Solar Fusion bendybus is also owned and was again initially used at Bury but has been used since on services 8 and 582 from Bolton. It is now reallocated back to Bury.

Double-deck buses

Double-deckers were once the mainstay of urban bus services in Manchester. After a period out of favour, they are now becoming popular again, to the extent that the Wright Eclipse Gemini is now the most numerous vehicle type in the fleet. The first 36 were delivered in 2007. These are mainly used on services 17, 32 and X34. Two hundred and ten of a similar type have been ordered for delivery in 2008/2009 of which commenced delivery in September 2008 with the first being used on services 8, 36, 37, 81, 81A, 82, 83, 180,184 and 409 from Bolton and Oldham Depots. For 2009 First Manchester also have on order 5 Wright Gemini integral Hybrid Double-deck buses.

A small fleet of Volvo Olympians is maintained at Bolton, Bury, Ince and Oldham Depots along with a fleet of Dennis Arrows which are primarily for the schools fleet at Dukinfield and Ince depots although Wigan also has some and regularly loans additional Arrows from the Ince schools unit for normal operation.

Single-deck buses

The Volvo B7RLE/Wright Eclipse delivered in 2005/06 still form the majority single-deck type, although about 40% of the original 256 have already been cascaded to other FirstGroup fleets. Other low floor types present in significant numbers include Volvo B10BLE/Wright Renowns and Mercedes-Benz Citaros. Step entrance types include Mercedes-Benz O405 with Optare Prisma bodywork and Volvo B10B with Wright Endurance bodywork although withdrawals of both types have commenced.

Also operated are a fleet of Vehixel bodied, Iveco Scolabuses that are operated from Dukinfield and Ince Depots on behalf of GMPTE who also own these vehicles.

Midibuses

These are primarily Dennis Dart SLFs with Plaxton Pointer or Wright Crusader bodies, also operated are 23 Optare Excel integral buses from Wigan depot and a fleet of Volvo B6LE and B6BLE low-floor midibuses with Wright Crusader and Crusader 2 bodies from Manchester depot.

Minibuses

A small fleet of minibuses is operated on MetroShuttle Contracts and one or two other routes based on Manchester, Oldham and Dukinfield depots. The entire minibus fleet consists of Optare Solo integral models.

Ancillary Vehicles

The support fleet is quite a varied one and consists mostly of Volvo B10B driver training buses with bodies by Alexander (Strider model) or Wright (Endurance). Aside from training vehicles it also includes five recovery lorries: three Volvo FL6, a Leyland T45 and an ERF. A large fleet of vans and pick-ups are operated, these are usually Vauxhall Combos or Corsas (smaller vans) or Ford Transits (bigger vans and pick-ups). Also owned are various fork lift trucks, and garage floor cleaning equipment known as 'Floor Scrubbers'.

Services

First Manchester mainly run services in central Manchestermarker and the northern area of Greater Manchester including Oldhammarker, Rochdalemarker, Burymarker, Boltonmarker, Wiganmarker, Tameside and Salfordmarker. However, some services do run outside of these areas. These services are the 22 (Bolton – Stockportmarker) which is shared with Stagecoach, the 24 (Bacupmarker - Manchester), the 53 (Cheetham Hill - Pendleton), 100 (Warringtonmarker / Hollins Greenmarker - Manchester), and the 184 (Huddersfieldmarker - Manchester), which is shared with First's Huddersfield depot.

First also operate school services in Merseyside, serving the St Helens area.

List of routes

This is a summary of First Manchester services. Any service with a coloured line runs every ten minutes or better.

No. From To Via Notes
1 Manchester Piccadilly stationmarker Manchester Piccadilly station Deansgatemarker Metroshuttle Orange
2 Manchester Victoria stationmarker Manchester Victoria station Shudehill Interchangemarker, Oxford Roadmarker, Deansgate Metroshuttle Green
3 Manchester Piccadilly station Manchester Piccadilly station Salford Central stationmarker Metroshuttle Purple
6
7
Rochdalemarker Kirkholt Circulars
8 Boltonmarker Manchestermarker Shudehill Farnworthmarker, Kearsleymarker, Pendleburymarker, Pendletonmarker Green Line
10 Brookhouse Manchester Shudehill Ecclesmarker, Salford Royal Hospitalmarker, Pendleton, Broughtonmarker One Early Morning service
12 Leighmarker Manchester Piccadilly Athertonmarker, Tyldesleymarker, Little Hultonmarker, Walkdenmarker, Swintonmarker
17 Rochdale Manchester Shudehill Castletonmarker, Middletonmarker, Harpurheymarker Red Line
17A Rochdale Manchester Shudehill Castleton, Stake Hill Industrial Estate, Middleton, Harpurhey Red Line
19 Clifton Junction Trafford Parkmarker Swinton, Eccles
22 Stockportmarker Bolton Burnagemarker, Chorltonmarker, Stretfordmarker, Urmstonmarker, Davyhulmemarker, Trafford Centremarker, Eccles, Montonmarker, Swinton, Pendlebury, Kearsley, Farnworth Jointly run with Stagecoach Manchester and Stagecoach North West
24 Bacup (peak times) Manchester Piccadilly Royton, Chaddertonmarker, New Moston, Newton Heathmarker
Rochdale
26 Leigh Manchester Shudehill Astleymarker, Boothstownmarker, Worsleymarker, Swinton, Pendleton
27 Swinton Manchester Shudehill Salford Royal Hospital, Weastemarker, Pendleton, Broughton
32 Wiganmarker Manchester Piccadilly Hindleymarker , Castle Hill, Atherton, Tyldesley, Mosley Commonmarker, Pendleton
33 Wigan (Evenings/Sundays) Manchester Piccadilly Eccles, Weaste
Worsley
36 Bolton Manchester Piccadilly Little Hulton, Walkden, Swinton, Pendleton Cyan Line
37 Bolton Manchester Piccadilly Farnworth, Walkden, Swinton, Pendleton Rose Pink Line
38
39
Ashton-under-Lynemarker Hazelhurst Hurst Cross Circulars
39

night bus
Leigh Manchester Piccadilly Atherton, Tyldesley, Little Hulton, Walkden, Swinton Nightbus
41 Ashton-under-Lyne Dukinfieldmarker
51A Cheetham The Trafford Centre Cheetham Hillmarker, Broughton, Pendleton
52 Pendleton Failsworthmarker Broughton, Cheetham Hill, North Manchester General Hospitalmarker, Newton Heath
53 Cheetham Hill Pendleton North Manchester General Hospital, Harpurhey, City of Manchester Stadiummarker, Gortonmarker, Rusholmemarker, University of Manchestermarker, Old Traffordmarker
54 Cheetham The Trafford Centre City of Manchester Stadium, Belle Vuemarker, Rusholme, Old Trafford
56 Rochdale North Manchester General Hospital Milnrowmarker, Newheymarker, Shawmarker, Oldham, Chadderton, Mills Hill, Middleton, Higher Blackley Sky Blue Line.
57 Oldhammarker The Trafford Centre Chadderton, Mills Hill, Middleton, Rhodes
58 Rochdale Bury Milnrow, Newhey, Shaw, Oldham, Chadderton, Mills Hill, Middleton, Heywood Sky Blue Line
59 Rushcroft Manchester Piccadilly Shaw, Oldham, Chadderton, Mills Hill, Middleton, Rhodes, Cheetham Hill Sky Blue Line
63 Brookhouse Manchester Piccadilly Eccles, Weaste
64 Oldham Manchester Shudehill Royton, Mills Hill, Boarshaw, Middleton, Rhodes, Blackleymarker, Harpurhey
67 Cadisheadmarker Manchester Shudehill Irlammarker, Peel Greenmarker, Eccles, Salford Royal Hospital, Pendleton Lime Green Line
67L Irlam Irlam Overground Link
68 Bolton The Trafford Centre Farnworth, Little Hulton, Walkden, Worsley, Eccles
79 Oldham Mostonmarker Wernethmarker, Coalshaw Green, Broadgate
81 Derkermarker (both directions) Manchester Piccadilly Oldham, Werneth, Coalshaw Green, Moston, Harpurhey Claret Line
Waterheadmarker (to Manchester only)
81A Manchester Piccadilly Waterhead Harpurhey, Moston, Coalshaw Green, Werneth, Oldham Claret Line
82 Uppermill Manchester Piccadilly Delph, Waterhead, Oldham, Werneth, Hollinwoodmarker, Failsworth, Newton Heath Orange Line
83 Sholvermarker Manchester Piccadilly Moorsidemarker, Oldham, Werneth, Hollinwood, Failsworth, Newton Heath Orange Line
88 Manchester Piccadilly Manchester Shudehill Monsall, Moston, White Moss, North Manchester General Hospital, Cheetham Hill Circular. Olive Line
89 Manchester Shudehill Manchester Piccadilly Cheetham Hill, North Manchester General Hospital, White Moss, Moston, Monsall Circular. Olive Line
93 Burymarker Manchester Shudehill Unsworthmarker, Whitefieldmarker, Hillock, Besses o' th' Barnmarker, Prestwichmarker, Kersalmarker
98 Bury Manchester Shudehill Ainsworthmarker, Radcliffe, Whitefield, Prestwich, Broughton
100 Warringtonmarker Manchester Shudehill Hollins Greenmarker, Irlam, The Trafford Centre, Eccles, Pendleton unmissable Trafford Centre Link.
110 Trafford Centre Manchester Shudehill Eccles, Salford Royal Hospital, Pendleton, Broughton
122 Langleymarker Manchester Shudehill Middleton, Harpurhey
123 Manchester Shudehill Middleton Cheetham, Collyhurst, Harpurhey, Middleton, Langley
124 Middleton Manchester Shudehill Langley, Middleton, Harpurhey, Collyhurst, Cheetham
132 Wigan The Trafford Centre Hindley, Atherton, Tyldesley
135 Bury Manchester Piccadilly Whitefield, Heaton Parkmarker, Cheetham Hill Articulated bus. Yellow Line
137 Bury Manchester Shudehill Hollins, Unsworth, Besses o' th' Barn, Heaton Park, Broughton
138 Bury Manchester Shudehill Pilsworthmarker, Hollins, Unsworth, Besses o' th' Barn, Heaton Park, Broughton
149 Holts Estate (Evenings/Sundays) Manchester Piccadilly Coppicemarker, Coalshaw Green, Hollinwood, Moston, North Manchester General Hospital, Cheetham Hill
Oldham
163 Bury Manchester Piccadilly Heap Bridge, Darnhillmarker, Heywoodmarker, Langley, Middleton, Harpurhey Turquoise Line
164 Heywood Manchester Shudehill Hollin, Middleton, Rhodes, Blackley, Harpurhey
165 Heaton Park Manchester Shudehill Blackley, Harpurhey
167 Nordenmarker Manchester Piccadilly Bamford, Heywood, Rhodes, Cheetham Hill.
180 Greenfieldmarker Manchester Piccadilly Grottonmarker, Lees, Oldham, Garden Suburb, Hollinwood, Failsworth, Newton Heath Purple Line
181
182
Rochdale Manchester Piccadilly Rochdale railway stationmarker (181), Milnrow, Shaw, Royton, Royal Oldham Hospital (182), Chadderton, New Moston, Newton Heath
183 Oldham Limeside Chamber Road, Heron Street
184 Huddersfieldmarker Manchester Piccadilly Slaithwaitemarker, Marsdenmarker, Digglemarker, Uppermillmarker, Grotton, Lees, Oldham, Failsworth Jointly run with First Calderdale & Huddersfield. Purple Line
180
184
Saddleworthmarker Manchester Piccadilly Grotton, Lees, Oldham, Garden Suburb, Hollinwood, Failsworth, Newton Heath Purple Line
217 Droylsdenmarker Manchester Shudehill Claytonmarker, Sportcity
220 Dukinfieldmarker Manchester Piccadilly Audenshawmarker, Openshawmarker
221 Dukinfield Manchester Piccadilly Audenshaw, Openshaw
231 Ashton-under-Lyne Manchester Piccadilly Tameside Hospital, Littlemoss, Droylsden, Clayton
300 Bolton The Trafford Centre M61 motorway, M60 motorwaymarker
331 Ashton-under-Lyne Ashton-under-Lyne Smallshaw, Hurst Cross Circular
332 Ashton-under-Lyne Ashton-under-Lyne Hurst Cross, Hartshead, Smallshaw Circular.
333 Ashton-under-Lyne Ashton-under-Lyne Hurst Cross, Smallshaw Circular
337 Ashton-under-Lyne Ashton-under-Lyne Crowhill, Ashton Moss Circular.
338 Ashton-under-Lyne Ashton-under-Lyne Waterloo Crowhill, Ashton Moss Circular.
343 Oldham Hydemarker Lees, Grotton, Mossleymarker, Stalybridge
344 Oldham Hyde Waterhead, Lees, Grotton, Mossley, Stalybridge
345 Ashton-under-Lyne Dentonmarker Dukinfield, Audenshaw
346 Ashton-under-Lyne Hyde Dukinfield, Newtonmarker Jointly run with Stagecoach Manchester
348 Ashton-under-Lyne Carrbrookmarker Stalybridge, Copleymarker Yellow Line
350 Oldham Ashton-under-Lyne Delphmarker, Uppermill, Greenfield, Hey Farm, Mossley, Tameside General Hospital Brown Line
353
354
Uppermill Ashton-under-Lyne Greenfield (354), Grasscroftmarker (353), Mossley, Stalybridge
387 Hyde Ashton-under-Lyne Godleymarker, Hattersleymarker, Mottrammarker, Stalybridge, Ridge Hill, Tameside General Hospital
389 Gee Cross Ashton-under-Lyne Hyde, Newton, Dukinfield, Stalybridge, Ridge Hill Jointly run with Stagecoach Manchester.
393 Ashton-under-Lyne Ashton-under-Lyne Hurst Cross, Hartshead, Smallshaw Circular.
408 Buckstones Stalybridge High Cromptonmarker, Royton, Oldham, Abbeyhills, Hurst Cross
409 Rochdale Ashton-under-Lyne Thornhammarker, Royton, Oldham, Hathershawmarker Mauve Line
415 Holts Estate Middleton Lees, Greenacresmarker, Oldham, Butler Green, Foxdenton, Alkringtonmarker
419 Middleton Ashton-under-Lyne Mills Hill, Firwood Park, Chadderton Park, Chadderton, Werneth, Hathershaw
425 Holts Estate Fitton Hill Abbeyhills, Alt, Glodwickmarker, Oldham Lime Green Line
428 Oldham Buckstones Royton, Thornham, High Crompton, Shaw Circular.
438 Rochdale Lane Head Spotland Bridge, Daniel Fold
451 Rochdale Peppermint Bridge Milnrow, Bentgate, Newhey
452 Rochdale Littleboroughmarker Milnrow, Hollingworth Lakemarker
454 Rochdale Stansfield Smallbridgemarker, Littleborough, Shore
455 Rochdale Stansfield Smallbridge, Smithy Bridgemarker, Hollingworth Lake, Littleborough, Shore
457 Rochdale Stansfield Smallbridge, Littleborough
469 Rochdale Tottingtonmarker Bamford, Jericho, Bury Rose Pink Line
471 Rochdale Bolton Sudden, Heywood, Bury, Breightmet Lilac Line
472 Bury Bury Walmersleymarker, Ramsbottommarker, Holcombe Brookmarker Circular. Lime Green Line
474 Bury Bury Holcombe Brook, Ramsbottom, Walmersley Circular. Lime Green Line
501 Moss Bank Way Farnworth Bolton, Royal Bolton Hospital, Hollins Yellow Line
507 Bolton Harwoodmarker Tonge Moor Red Line
510 Bury Bolton Walshawmarker, Ainsworth, Withins
519 Johnson Fold Bolton Chorley Old Road Indigo Line
524 Bury Bolton Radcliffe, Little Lever, Moses Gatemarker Purple Line
533 Egertonmarker Bolton Bromley Crossmarker, Tonge Moor
536 Bradley Fold Bolton Breightmet, Leverhulme Park
540 Wigan Bolton Hindley, Castle Hill, Daisy Hill, Westhoughtonmarker, Deanemarker Orange Line
561 Bolton Bolton Withins, Breightmet Circular
562 Bolton Bolton Breightmet, Withins Circular
571 Bolton Bolton Great Levermarker Circular
572 Bolton Bolton Great Lever Circular
573 Bolton Weston Street (First Depot)
575 Horwichmarker Bolton Lostockmarker, Heatonmarker Turquoise Line
582 Leigh Bolton Atherton, Over Hulton, Daubhill Claret Line
593 Leigh Wigan Tamar, Hindley Green, Castle Hill, Hindley, Belle Green
597 Leigh Leigh Sports Villagemarker Pennington
598 Leigh Wigan Tamar, Hindley Green, Hindley, Belle Green Blue Line
600 Leigh Wigan Lowtonmarker, Golbornemarker, Ashton-in-Makerfieldmarker, Marus Bridge Nightbus service runs Wigan-Ashton-Wigan circular via Marus Bridge and Platt Bridgemarker Green Line
601 Leigh Wigan Lowton, Golborne, Ashton-in-Makerfield, Marus Bridge
610 Wigan Hawkley Hall Worsley Mesnes Circular.
621 Wigan Wigan Pembertonmarker, Norley Hall, Kitt Green Circular. Red Line
625 Wigan Wigan Beech Hill Circular.
626 Wigan Wigan Beech Hill Circular.
628 Wigan Wigan Kitt Green, Norley Hall, Pemberton Circular. Red Line
629

night bus
Wigan Castle Hill Platt Bridge, Hindley Nightbus
631 Wigan Wigan Marus Bridge, Highfield Grange, Pemberton Circular
632 Wigan Wigan Pemberton, Highfield Grange, Marus Bridge Circular
635

night bus
Wigan Wigan Shevingtonmarker, Shevington Vale, Standishmarker Nightbus Circular
658 Higher Folds Wigan Leigh, Tamar, Bickershawmarker, Platt Bridge Mauve Line
695

night bus
Wigan Uphollandmarker Orrellmarker Nightbus
719 Rochdale Hopwood Hall College Castleton
X34 Leigh Manchester Piccadilly Astley, Pendleton Limited Stop.
X35 Stubbinsmarker Manchester Piccadilly (terminates) M66 motorway, Heaton Park Limited Stop.
Manchester Stevenson Square (Commences from)
X82 Milnrow Manchester Piccadilly Newhey, Shaw, Buckstones, Royton, New Moston Limited Stop.
X84 Carrcote Manchester Piccadilly (terminates) Delph, Uppermill, Grotton, Lees, Hollinwood, Failsworth Limited Stop.
Manchester Sackville Street (Commences from)


Metroshuttle

First Manchester runs the three Metroshuttle services that operate around Manchester city centre. These services are free for passengers.

Overground

First Manchester brand their frequent services as an 'Overground'. Based on the London Underground network where each frequent service is given a recognisable colour, each Overground service also has its own colour line. The concept is now a prominent fixture throughout all First bus companies in the UK.

Usually, the colours are allocated randomly. However, the 180/184 was allocated the Purple line when the services was made into an Overground route in 2004 and the 184 was extended to Huddersfield replacing service 365. The extension also saw the 184 service incorporated into the Huddersfield Overground with services 348, 350 and 352 (which was later re-numbered 181, 182, 183 and 185 to fit in with the 184) already branded as the Purple line (as had the 365 previously).

Due to ongoing fleet modernisation most Overground services are currently unbranded. with only the 8, 17, 36,37, and 135 having significant route branding two or three vehicles are branded for service 82/83 and 180/184.

From the 30th of August service 100 Warrington The Trafford Centre - Manchester Shudehill becomes a Overground Service, given pink/purple and Called The Trafford Centre Link.

From the 25 October, services 98 and 123/124 were removed from the Overground network, due to their frequencies being reduced to operate every 15 minutes, rather than the standard 10 minute or better frequency for Overground services in Greater Manchester.

The services that form the Overground network in Greater Manchester are:

Number Branding From To Via Notes
8 Green Bolton Manchester Shudehill Farnworth, Kearsley, Pendlebury, Pendleton
17 Red Rochdale Manchester Shudehill Castleton, Middleton, Harpurhey
36 Cyan Bolton Manchester Piccadilly Little Hulton, Walkden, Swinton, Pendleton
37 Rose Bolton Manchester Piccadilly Farnworth, Walkden, Swinton, Pendleton
56
58
59

Sky Blue Rochdale (56/58) North Manchester General Hospital (56) Milnrow (56/58), Shaw, Oldham, Chadderton, Middleton, Cheetham Hill (59)
Bury (58)
Rushcroft (59) Manchester 'Piccadilly (59)
67 Lime Green Cadishead Manchester Shudehill Irlam, Peel Green, Eccles, Pendleton
81
81A
Claret Manchester Piccadilly Derker (81) Harpurhey, Moston, Oldham Service 81A runs to Waterhead. Journeys from Derker or Waterhead runs as service 81.
Waterhead (81/81A)
82
83
Orange Sholver (83) Manchester Piccadilly Oldham, Hollinwood, Failsworth, Newton Heath Some 82 journeys run to/from Waterhead or Uppermill
88
89
Olive Manchester Piccadilly Manchester Shudehill Miles Platting, White Moss, North Manchester General Hospital, Cheetham Hill Circulars. Service 89 runs in opposite direction
100 Unmissable Warrington (hourly) Manchester Shudehill Eccles, Salford Royal Hospital, Salford Shopping City
The Trafford Centre
135 Yellow Bury Manchester Piccadilly Whitefield, Heaton Park, Cheetham Hill
163 Turquoise Bury Manchester Piccadilly Darn Hill, Heywood, Langley, Middleton, Harpurhey
180
184
Purple Huddersfield (184 hourly) Manchester Piccadilly Diggle (184), Uppermill (184), Greenfield (180), Grotton, Lees, Oldham, Hollinwood
Saddleworth
348 Yellow Ashton-under-Lyne Carrbrook Stalybridge
350 Brown Oldham (some) Ashton-under-Lyne Delph (some), Uppermill (some), Greenfield (some), Hey Farm, Mossley, Tameside General Hospital
409 Mauve Rochdale Ashton-under-Lyne Thornham, Royton, Oldham, Hathershaw
425 Lime Green Holts Estate Fitton Hill Abbeyhills, Glodwick, Oldham Circular route around Fitton Hill
469 Rose Rochdale (some) Tottington Bamford (some), Jericho, Bury
471 Lilac Rochdale Bolton Sudden, Heywood, Bury, Breightmet
472
474
Lime Green Bury Bury Walmerlsey, Ramsbottom, Holcombe Brook Circulars. Service 474 runs opposite direction
501 Yellow Moss Bank Way Farnworth Bolton, Royal Bolton Hospital
507 Red Bolton Harwood Tonge Moor, Bradshaw
519 Indigo Bolton Johnson Fold Bolton Old Road
524 Purple Bolton Bury Moses Gate, Little Lever, Radcliffe
540 Orange Bolton Wigan Deane, Westhoughton, Daisy Hill, Castle Hill, Hindley
575 Turquoise Bolton Horwich Old Lord's Estate Heaton, Lostock
582 Claret Bolton Leigh Daubhill, Over Hulton, Atherton
598 Blue Wigan Leigh Hindley, Hindley Green, Tamar
600
601
Green Wigan Leigh Marus Bridge, Ashton-in-Makerfield, Golborne, Lowton
621
628
Red Wigan Kitt Green Circulars
658 Mauve Wigan Higher Folds Platt Bridge, Bickershaw, Leigh


Overground Link

In Spring 2006, First Manchester re-routed its 67 service between Cadishead and Manchester to run direct along Liverpool Road during the day. This was designed to speed up the service running between Eccles and Cadishead. As a result, buses were withdrawn from running via Merlin Road and surrounding areas in Irlam. To help passengers, First introduced OvergroundLink, which is described by First as a feeder service.

The 67L service, which uses a small bus or vehicles with low floor access for wheelchairs and pushchairs, runs a clockwise circular service from the White Lion pub on Liverpool Road, running via Cutnook Lane, Merlin Road, Morillon Road and Silver Street, returning to the White Lion, where the service connects with the 67. The service takes 5 minutes to complete its route and runs Mondays to Saturdays with a frequency of every 10 minutes from 0640 (0800 on Saturdays) until 1900.

This service was the first one introduced by First and still runs today. Other attempts were not so successful. Another 67L service was introduced in July 2006 to serve the Brookhouse estate. The service was designed so that passenger could board or alight the bus at any point along the route in Brookhouse, also known as 'Hail and Ride' before alighting the service at the Unicorn pub in Peel Green to connect with the 67. This service was withdrawn in January 2007. The main reason for the service not succeeding is probably down to the fact that the estate is served by the 10, which is run by First, and the M10, which is run by Arriva. Both services run services from Brookhouse to Manchester without the need to changing buses.

Another OvergroundLink service was introduced in July 2006 and withdrawn in January 2007 was the 98L. This was designed to link up with the 98 service running between Bury and Manchester on Bury New Road at the junction with Butterstile Lane. The 98L would operate around the Carr Clough area using Hail and Ride. Like the 67L Brookhouse service, the 98L was probably withdrawn because another service already links Carr Clough and Manchester, the 93 which runs between Bury and Manchester.

In April 2007, First introduced the 598L, which was introduced when First replaced its 593 daytime service with a new Overground route, the 598. However, while the 593 ran via Castle Hill and Belle Green, the 598 runs direct between Hindley Green and Wigan. Castle Hill was still served by the 540, whose frequency increased from every 30 minutes to every 10 minutes and the 32 was re-routed to serve Castle Hill.

Belle Green is served by the 598L, starting at Ince Bar, running down Manchester Road before serving Belle Green like the 593 did when travelling to Wigan. The service starts at 0700 (0830 on Saturdays) and runs every 10 minutes until 1830. This is an increase on the frequency compared to the old 593 service, which ran every 15 minutes.

Although passengers would have to change services to travel to Wigan or Leigh, they would only need to buy one ticket. This is called a 'Through ticket'. The passenger would board the 598L, state their destination, be it on the 32, 540 or 598 and would be able to use the ticket on the next service. If the passenger just wants to use the 598L, they can pay a 50p fare. This may have been introduced so that potential passengers don't use the new 593 service introduced between Wigan and Belle Green, which is run by South Lancs Travel, running a half-hour service from Wigan Bus Station plus an additional journeys at 0933 (Not Saturdays), 1033, 1133, 1233 and 1333 (Not Saturdays) from King Street West.

In May 2007, First introduced another 67L service in Irlam. Starting at the White Lion, the service runs via Fiddlers Lane, Mond Road, Princes Avenue, Addison Road and Liverpool Road to the White Lion. The service was re-routed at the end of July 2007 to run via Boundary Road instead of Princes Avenue and Addison Road. This route was withdrawn at the end of August 2007. Another 67L route was introduced on the 2nd September 2007 running via Liverpool Road, Vicarage Road, School Lane, Parkston Road, Cutnook Lane and Silver Street.

Nightbus

First Manchester offer several night bus services in Manchester and Wigan every Friday and Saturday night to help people get home from a night out. The routes are mainly the same as the normal routes with some exceptions. The 39 and 629 services were normal daytime services until they were withdrawn. The 600 normally runs from Wigan to Leigh while the night bus runs a circular service to Ashton-in-Makerfield before returning to Wigan via Platt Bridge. The 631 & 632, which normally run circular services from Wigan to Highfield Grange are re-routed to serve Pemberton and Hawkley Hall. The 635, normally runs from Wigan to Shevington Vale, while night bus service runs a circular service to Shevington, Shevington Moor and Standish. The other exception is the 695 service, which is not based on any First route.

The services run every 30 minutes or every hour from midnight to 3am. The fare system on the night bus services are different to the normal fares offered by First, as there is only a flat fare offered. For passengers travelling from Wigan, the price is £2.00 while in Manchester, it is £3.00. A FirstNight ticket is priced at £4.00 for passengers who uses the Nightbus in both directions.

Easter services

First Manchester operate to a different timetable during the Easter weekend with Sunday services used on most services. The following usually apply to First Manchester services during the Easter holidays:
  • Good Friday: A Sunday service on all services apart from:
    • 100 - Will operate to the Public Holidays timetable
    • 180/184 - An hourly service between Greenfield/Uppermill and Manchester with daytime journeys on service 184 continuing to Huddersfield (based on Saturday service). This is due to buses in Huddersfield running to a Saturday service.
    • 528/589/590 (Run by First Calderdale & Huddersfield) - Saturday services.
  • Easter Saturday - Normal Saturday service.
  • Easter Sunday - Normal Sunday service.
  • Easter Monday - Sunday service apart from service 100, which runs to Public Holidays timetable.


Summer services

Due to a reduction of traffic on the roads of Greater Manchester during the summer holidays, First Manchester changed some of the timetables on busier services. The period that the summer timetables are introduced coincide with the school summer holidays, starting in mid-July and ending in late-August/early-September. Usually, buses are retimed to run to similar times to the off peak timetable, while some service introduce additional journeys, as buses that would be used for school services are made available.

See also



References

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