Star date: 27th July 2012


The pink, hugely subsidised MediaCityUK bus, which trundles from The Crescent to Salford Quays every ten minutes, is to be privatised in September with the route taken over by Stagecoach.

The bus service will now be an extension of the number 50, which starts in East Didsbury. No timetable or fares have been made public yet.

Full story here…

The MediaCityUK bus, launched last year with huge public subsidies by a partnership of Salford Council, Transport for Greater Manchester and the University of Salford (see here and see here), is to be privatised in September with the service handed over to Stagecoach as an extension of its number 50 route from East Didsbury.

The pink bus - with on board videos, £220,000 funding from Salford Council and everything but trolly dollies - was aimed at BBC workers and students, linking Salford Crescent station with Salford Quays, via Salford Princinct and Langworthy. In its first year it carried over 475,000 people and has proved so popular that Stagecoach now wants a piece of the action.

From September 1st the public subsidies will stop and the route will become integrated into the double decker number 50 bus service from East Didsbury, crossing Manchester and, in Salford, following the same route as the Media City bus.

Currently the Media City bus runs every ten minutes during the week and the fare is £1.60 return (80p cons). Stagecoach hasn't yet made public the frequency of the new service or the fares.

"It's great to see that this service has proved to be so popular in such a short space of time that it has now been replaced by a commercial service" says Councillor Roger Jones, Salford's Assistant Mayor for Transport and Vice Chair of the Transport for Greater Manchester.

"It was designed to meet a very specific need – to improve links to and around the employment, education and leisure centres at MediaCityUK in Salford, including Salford Shopping City, and it's clear from passenger numbers that we've been meeting that need well" he adds "So I'm pleased that we've been able to kick-start this service and that it can now live on as a commercial service, without the need for considerable public financial support from TfGM, Salford City Council or Salford University."

Details of the new number 50 route to MediaCityUK will be available shortly at www.tfgm.com and at www.stagecoachbus.com/manchester/.

Salford Quays Traveller wrote
at 18:12:27 on 05 January 2014
I currently travel from Swinton to Salford Quays what an expensive late nightmare! My first connection is frequent but overcrowded, my second is once an hour via the shopping precinct(where you feel quite unsafe)! I've lived in Swinton all my life why can't I get to work in Salford quays on one bus or a tram they seem to not think a tram in Swinton would not pay, who is planning this stuff!
Martin Q wrote
at 09:40:19 on 24 September 2012
Dodgy reporting really here. The service has not been "privatised" in the generally understood meaning of the term. It was a subsidised service because no company was providing the service commercially. Stagecoach decided (unilaterally) to extend its existing route 50 over these roads, so the need to provide a commercial service was eliminated, and the responsible thing to do is to save the money by ending the subsidy during those times. The operator of route 9 was perfectly entitled and free to continue to run the route without most of the subsidy (if I have understood bus regulation law correctly) but chose not to. There was still TfGM subsidy available for Sunday evenings - presumably Stagecoach did not plan to run a service at that time otherwise - and it makes sense for the subsidy to be for a continuation of the same route 50 on Sunday evenings rather than running a subsidised route 9 at those times only. As far as I can see this is all standard procedure for running commercial and subsidised bus services in the deregulated bus market and if we have a problem with that then it boils down to Thatcher's deregulation and not to anything unusual being done by Salford Council!
Paul M wrote
at 13:51:54 on 03 September 2012
I got a 43 then a 50 this morning, brilliant. No complaints from me at all. I'm all for it :o) PLUS, it gives people a way to get into Manchester without having to pay the extortionate prices set by First! £1.80ish vs £2.50ish.
A.P. wrote
at 18:06:33 on 24 August 2012
I want to know when this useless , inept council are going to end the monopoly enjoyed by First Bus in this Deadcity , or are we expected to put up with being ripped off forever ?
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 15:49:54 on 24 August 2012
A change is coming Brian, there is a growing movement to renationalise the railways & as long as these companies keep ripping us off even the British public will wake up & see that something needs to be done. The problem is that the politicians are too scared of upsetting their paymasters & doing something, anything to represent those that vote for them. It may take a while, but I honestly believe that the tide will turn & huge mess that was created by Thatcher & added to by Blair & now the conmen will be cleared up. Maybe not by a totally socialist model, but at least one in which certain spheres are kept out of private hands.
Brian F Kirkham wrote
at 19:06:13 on 23 August 2012
I don't disagree with you there, Nachtslepper, but unless there's a definite sea change in attitudes re-nationalisation of local bus routes by those in charge of running the network - it ain't gonna happen. I'm just reminded when I was younger of this brave new world offered by deregulation - More efficient bus routes , More Buses and less congestion...all it brought in were two Scottish firms desperate to push into each others territory, (First took the north and ventured into stockport / Altrincham and vice versa for stagecoach) and taking over smaller firms in the network - common denominator in all this ? PROFIT! Not made by running efficient services, More by raising fares on passengers - I know fuel costs money, but is there ever a fare cut when prices for fuel plummet? - No, they stay the same. As for Stagecoaches foray into LRT (Metrolink), this has been another mess - with more interest in coining in on opportunities with lines to BBC/Mediacity and the Airport than getting what they have working effectively.
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 14:22:05 on 23 August 2012
There is only one solution, renationalise public transport.
Brian F Kirkham wrote
at 05:28:19 on 23 August 2012
Can we agree on one thing at least ?- with the Scottish Mafiosa at First and Stagecoach owning the bulk of routes in Greater Manchester, Prices are only going to rise. It's a closed shop setting their own prices, with First in the North and Stagecoach in the South. Why aren't Maytree allowed to keep the service to Mediacity ? Answer - Stagecoach want the Cash Cow. I'm sure if anyone set up a public bus firm in the area - they'd soon be squeezed out.
Andrew wrote
at 15:06:47 on 22 August 2012
So there's a slightly better service but at what cost? Just seen the fares Stagecoach will be charging and they are going up: £1.20, Crescent - Precinct (20% increase) £1.60, Crescent - MediaCity (60% increase) £1.60, Precinct - MediaCity (60% increase) £2.50, Day Ticket (56% increase) The ONLY saving is that Stagecoach's Dayrider at £3.90 is cheaper than the Firstday ticket which is £4.50. Of course this is only if you wish to travel to South Manchester.
Rem. wrote
at 19:55:25 on 16 August 2012
Fine comments , Irwell Running Through Me. In full agreement . Well , lindley ? Has mayor funky chicken shut you up ? So much for democracy .
A.P. wrote
at 19:53:21 on 16 August 2012
Well said , Mike Moulding . This monopoly of First Bus , and the excessive fares , must end .
Paul M wrote
at 12:49:29 on 16 August 2012
There should be an option to be able to block people, specifically "Irwell Running Through Me" (I have an idea who this is, yes yes, Mr Hestletine was mighty impressed!).
Oldham100 wrote
at 05:42:31 on 07 August 2012
This route will run every ten minutes throughout the day and every 8 minutes during peak times. The buses will be reliable and at the most will cost £12 for a weekly ticket which will allow travel on any Stagecoach or magic bus for 7 days. A dedicated inspector will be working the route and should be approached with any comments or suggestions.
Irwell Running Through Me wrote
at 14:33:50 on 01 August 2012
Hands up who expected a response from Cllr Lindley? At a time in modern history when, globally, people have never felt more let down or ignored by those who we pay to serve us, he seem to have learned nothing. I do not believe he has not checked this page for a response to his post. I do not believe he has been too busy to check it at lunchtime or on his phone while commuting. When you post something on a forum like this you do so because you fully intend to follow the thread. So, why has he not responded? Simple, because he either a) does not think this voting age tax payer worthy, or b) he doesn't think it matters because it is only the Salford Star. Unfortunately I happen to be privy to certain information. That being that this publication receives at a minimum 20,000 unique 'hits' per month. That is is an awful lot of voters Cllr, who all see that you do not feel we are worthy of an honest and forthright answer. Perhaps you did not like my tone? Well, you know what sir? It doesn't matter. I am your employer. I couldn't give a monkeys what you think. If I do not like my employers tone I swallow it. Because he is my employer. Is any of this going in? So, you may take this as a first written warning. If you should continue to wilfully refuse a reasonable request from a senior officer, then we shall issue you with a second written warning. If your behaviour does not improve we shall begin writing to your office. After that we shall consider terminating your employment at the next available opportunity. Please do not treat us like idiots, unworthy of your response. I see that your first comment was made after 9am, during office hours if I am not mistaken? So, please respond explaining exactly how you would return monies to the tax payer, or how else it would be spent. This is not a request, mr. This is an order from your boss. Now get to it. (And do it on your lunch. Don't waste public money playing around online during office hours!)
Brian F Kirkham wrote
at 14:32:15 on 01 August 2012
Does Anyone know how much the new operator is actually paying to TFGM and / or the council to take over this service? And If its just being taken over - are council tax payers actually going to see some return on the monies paid to set up the service?
Michael Moulding wrote
at 09:09:58 on 01 August 2012
In response to Councillor Lindley's remarks. I accept that the service above is a subsidised privatised service already. However, my point remains that public transport in our city should be controlled by our Council and publicly managed. This may mean subsidised services to ensure costs of the provider are met. However, this service clearly highlights that bus services do make profit without the need for subisdies and therefore having such services in our control not only means public transport designed to meet the specific needs in our city, but well-managed profit-making services can bring much needed revenue to our Council. Everyone in Salford must accept that First has a monopoly of services apart from a few exceptions which has resulted in extortionate fares for fee paying customers, which has resulted in First having profits of hundreds of millions in Greater Manchester alone. Withdraw all subsidies and bring public transport back into public ownership in Salford. Michael Moulding, Deputy Leader Community Action Party
Paul M wrote
at 14:53:58 on 31 July 2012
People ask why it was subsidised; partly so UoS staff can travel between sites. Obviously I am one of those staff. A party of us used the bus on Friday; it was full of both staff and local residents. Rammed full, literally. As to why this has to start in East Didsbury; it has to start somewhere! That's like complaining that the train from Warrington to Widnes ends up in Ely/Cambridge! Paul M, not-in-any-way-representing-UoS-in-an-official-capacity
Irwell Running Through Me wrote
at 20:24:37 on 29 July 2012
To Cllr Iain Lindley, who wrote: "...money we can now hand back to the taxpayer or spend on something else." Can you give us an example of how this money will be handed back to the tax payer? Or are you just talking the usual, pseudo political clap trap? When has anything ever been handed back to the taxpayer of Salford, or anywhere else for that matter. I think what we assume you mean is that it can be spent on something else like councillors expense accounts don't you? Would you like to respond or just not bother, because unlike Life in Salford, this publication is actually replete with a Salfordian readership, who who zero real means of two way communication with those who work their way into local government. Here is your chance to tell us how much the average tax payer will see come off their council tax bill.
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 15:57:53 on 27 July 2012
If this service is already being run by a private company then why is it subsidised with public money? The people get shafted again. Piss ups & breweries come to mind.
J wrote
at 15:06:48 on 27 July 2012
This was never a sustainable option, particularly as the free Salford Uni bus goes to the Quays and it is easier for commuters who use the rail network to get off at Manchester Piccadilly and get the tram to the Quays. The free bus was a useless entity to its target market because other/better options are available.
Cllr Iain Lindley wrote
at 15:04:59 on 27 July 2012
The service has not been privatised. It is *already* run by a private company, albeit with a massive subsidy provided by the taxpayer. There is no profit for the taxpayer, Michael Moulding has clearly no understanding of how the financial arrangement works. If the current service makes a profit, that profit goes to the private operator (which I believe is Maytree Travel). Bus companies are reluctant to take on new routes in case they flop miserably. I'm loathe to agree with Councillor Jones on anything, but he's absolutely right that this is good news. Residents get the same service (perhaps even a better service) and there is no longer any bill for the taxpayer - money we can now hand back to the taxpayer or spend on something else.
Brian F Kirkham wrote
at 12:09:14 on 27 July 2012
Are you being serious, Star, That you never saw this coming? The Quays Link service was always a prime candidate for selling off..Just look at the funders behind it - in one way or the other they were public funded - whether it be the council or the Uni. Just to let everybody know - there were two routes from Salford to Swinton (three if you went via Pendleton) there was the 25 (to Bolton) and the 72 (Bolton also, but went a little further) Now, both serviced Ordsall and Weaste and the schools therein but then deregulation came in, routes changed and fares inevitably went up as prices for fuel went up. When stagecoach took over these routes - they cut the service from every 1/2 hr to add 15/20 minutes, and before the introduction of the Eccles line, had a monopoly on the school run , Down to the fact that most of the schoolkids were being centralised in an area of weaste/pendleton...certain Labour members should reflect on that. Now we've got the metro through the quays, those in the know seem to think problem solved - but till there's a link to all parts of this city (and not just to the parts that matter) we're going to continue to have a problem with public transport in this area.
A second thought... wrote
at 12:09:09 on 27 July 2012
I read the new route will be coming from East Didsbury - is that where the majority of Mediacity:UKs lot will be decending on the quays from perchance? So much for local opportunity.
Paul M wrote
at 12:07:51 on 27 July 2012
Wow, yet another anti-UoS, anti-MC post in the Salford Star. Way to alienate the prime income generators & job creators!
Nicola wrote
at 10:42:54 on 27 July 2012
The reason it is so popular as there is NO other transport that links Salford to Salford Quays! It has ALWAYS been difficult to get down to the Quays and I live in Swinton! I really hope they don't start charging stupid amount of money now they have see the £ signs in their eyes about taking over the bus route.
Michael Moulding wrote
at 10:42:43 on 27 July 2012
The Community Action Party have two policies in relation to public transport by bus in Salford. 1) Salford should have full control of its own public transport. 2) All services should be in public ownership. WE hear yearly claptrap from Roger Jones who has been a disaster for public transport in Salford. He presided over the Congestion Charge debacle and we have in Salford a near monopoly of services by First, whose workers union are Unite, who funded Ian Stewarts campaign for Salford Mayor. So while Salford endures the incompetence of this bus group, the extortionate rip off of their fares on fee paying customers, they make hunderds of millions at our expense. WE subsidise services to the tune of hundreds of thousands but as soon as they make a profit the services are privatised ? When Council's are short of cash, you tell me the logic in this decision ? Michael Moulding, Deputy Leader, Community Action Party
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