The Media City bus, launched only last year with big public subsidies to ferry students and workers from The Crescent to Media City, via Salford Precinct, is, from today, no more.
The service has been taken over by Stagecoach, which has extended its number 50 double decker route, Connect 50, from East Didsbury to Media City, via the same stops. At the time this was revealed, Assistant Mayor for Transport, Roger Jones, announced that he was "pleased" with the decision (click here for full story) but since then Salford Star readers have commented that the route faces price rises of up to 60%. One commenter, Andrew, calculated the following rises…
Crescent - Precinct £1.20 (single), a 20% increase
Crescent – Media City £1.60, a 60% increase.
Precinct - MediaCity £1.60, a 60% increase
Day Ticket £2.50, a 56% increase.
The only saving, he stated, is that Stagecoach's Dayrider, at £3.90, is cheaper than the Firstday ticket which is £4.50 which only counts if you want to travel to South Manchester.
University of Salford students continue to get free travel on the route. With the only positive seemingly that the bus service starts earlier in the morning and runs later at night than the previous Media City bus, we asked Councillor Jones for his thoughts on the fact that Salford people might now find themselves priced out of using the bus…
"Yes I understand their concern" he stated "but they must bear a number of points in mind…
1. In Greater Manchester, Stagecoach have the lowest fares compared to the other big two bus operators - First and Arriva. Also Stagecoach are the best performing of the big three operators.
2. Because First operate 75% of Salford bus services I would like to encourage Stagecoach to operate more bus services so that we have proper competition.
3. The previous service was operated on a huge public subsidy which could not continue beyond two years - the whole aim of this subsidy was to make sure that an operator was encouraged to step in and run it on a commercial basis. I am very pleased that this has happened.
4. I am not sure on a national or regional basis what we can do about high bus fares. The Government and local authorities are cutting subsidy to the bus operators and this results in either cuts in bus services (those that are not profitable) or higher fares."
Seems that Salford people have got higher fares…
For further details of Connect 50 with links to the full list of ticket prices and timetable, click here
Bus graphic by Jamie Reid