TfGM launches revamped free city centre service

News stories are free to read. Click here for full access to all the features, articles and archive from only £2.99.
Three electric Optare Versas will be used on the service, in addition to 10 hybrids

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) launched a revised free city centre bus service on Sunday, replacing the existing Manchester Metroshuttle service.

Known simply as ‘Free bus,’ it will be operated by First Manchester, who were awarded the three-year contract following a competitive procurement process.

The new service will maintain the existing 10 minute Metroshuttle frequency, but will run later (up to 2200hrs Monday to Saturday) and feature an extended route to Salford Central station during the morning and afternoon rush hours.

Each vehicle will feature a notable fact about Manchester as part of its livery, and all buses have audio-visual passenger information screens fitted.

The existing Metroshuttle fleet, comprising three electric and 17 diesel-electric hybrid vehicles, requires seven fewer operational vehicles as a result of the changes; the remaining seven buses are to be refurbished and introduced into the regional bus network.

Free bus will replace the existing city centre Metroshuttle service, which has been operated by First Manchester since 2010.

Adrian Worsfold, Operations Director at First Manchester, said: “We’re pleased to have been chosen to be the preferred operator for this service.

“We welcome the changes being made, including the extended hours, which will enable more people to enjoy the city later into the evenings, and look forward to welcoming everyone on board.”