Greater Manchester is set for its first park-and-ride bus scheme – which will be funded commercially by Stagecoach.
Sir Brian Souter originally presented the scheme in 2005 at a meeting attended by a range of stakeholders which included politicians, transport experts, resident groups, business leaders and representatives from other key organisations.
The plan would see a free 455-space car park for commuters built on a plot of wasteland at the junction of Buxton Road and Macclesfield Road in Hazel Grove, Stockport. Drivers would then pay standard fares for buses running on a stretch of the heavily-congested A6. The plans are due to be submitted to Stockport Council next month.
It is thought the £3m scheme will cut more than 6,000 car journeys every month and slash exhaust emission levels. Motorists would be able to park at the site, then catch the 192 Stagecoach bus service to stops in Stockport and central Manchester. Toilets, a waiting area and a refreshment block are included in the plan, which has been backed by Hazel Grove MP Andrew Stunell.
Manchester-based transport consultants SCP have been working on the plans with Stagecoach, which will finance the scheme. Transport for Greater Manchester and Stockport Council have also been consulted.
The plans coincide with the purchase of 40 new Alexander Dennis Enviro400 Hybrids which are due to run along the 192 service line from 2013. They have cost more than £12m.
Lee Kendall, principal transport planner at SCP, said the bus parkand- ride plan was a first for Greater Manchester and one of the first nationally to be entirely privatelyfunded.
Stagecoach Managing Director Chris Bowles told CBW: “Stagecoach is an innovative company and leads the way in public transport growth around the country. We believe the key to reducing congestion and reducing our carbon footprint is to make public transport more attractive and accessible, and there are few better places to demonstrate this than at Hazel Grove.”
MP Mr Stunell said: “I very much welcome the plans for a park-andride scheme in Hazel Grove and I’m pleased these long-standing proposals are moving forward.”