BUS operator First Greater Manchester has unveiled its new service to run on the Leigh-Salford-Manchester guided busway.

Branded 'Vantage' to reflect the premium quality of the unique Busway service, the first of 20 new, high quality, low emission hybrid buses are now ready to go.

Customers will be able to benefit from e-leather seating as well as free Wi-Fi, on-board 'next stop' audio and visual announcements and USB charging points.

Upstairs they can also relax in style with deluxe coach-back seating and table areas.

In preparation for the launch of the new busway scheme, First Greater Manchester has also unveiled a recruitment programme, anticipated to benefit dozens, for individuals to serve customers on the new service.

The training package will include a full week's instruction on driving in the guided busway, vehicle familiarisation and additional coaching in customer service.

Matt Rawlinson, business manager at First in Greater Manchester, which anticipates dozens of new driving jobs being created, said: “We’re very excited to be unveiling the new Vantage brand for the premium Busway service.

"Vantage will be an outstanding customer experience at the same great value fares as we have across our network.

"Our team are looking forward to providing fast and reliable connections to the communities along the whole route.

"The busway scheme means more jobs for local people and we're now actively recruiting customer-focussed individuals for this exciting opportunity.

"Together with our transport partners we're looking forward to serving customers on the busway, who I'm sure will be delighted with the whole experience, including the stunning new buses."

The buses will operate on the 14-mile route linking communities in Leigh, Atherton, Tyldesley and Salford to Manchester.

Busway services will be able to run free from congestion on a 4.5-mile guided section linking Leigh and Ellenbrook.

Regular services will run from both Leigh and Atherton, which will combine to offer a higher frequency in each direction between Tyldesley and Manchester during the day six days a week, with a less frequent service on Sundays.

There will also be three free to use park and ride sites to serve the busway, providing more than 400 spaces in Leigh, in Astley Street in Tyldesley and on the A580 East Lancashire Road near to the M60/61 junction.

n For more information on First Greater Manchester’s recruitment programme go to firstgroupcareers.com.