EXTRA buses are being added to the guided busway to cope with the demand.

From this week there will be two extra Vantage services running at peak travel times.

A further five buses will be added to the guided busway – which connects Leigh, Atherton, Tyldesley with Salford and central Manchester – from early next year.

Lord Peter Smith, leader of Wigan Council, says the service expansion highlights the popularity of the guided busway, which has seen 900,000 passenger journeys since its launch in April.

“The continued success of the guided busway service is very pleasing to see and I welcome the announcement that the number of buses at peak times is going to be increased," he said.

“At Wigan Council we have been committed to this project for many years.

“Despite doubt and criticism from some quarters in the past, we maintained our full commitment and support and we are now delighted to see it is thriving and growing in popularity.

“It is crucial that demand from passengers is now satisfied by First Manchester and its commitment to add extra buses to the route is very welcome.

“This service is helping to open up new educational and employment opportunities for people in the east of the borough.

“It is one of the council’s key priorities to improve connectivity in the borough – and the guided busway is helping us to deliver on this.”

Ian Humphreys, head of commercial for bus operators First Manchester, said: "More than 900,000 customer journeys have been completed since Vantage launched in April, which is incredible.

“Vantage has become increasingly popular, which has resulted in a high demand for the service during certain times of the day, but we would like to reassure customers that we are reviewing the service every week to ensure there are more seats available during peak times.

“As a short term solution we have added extra journeys, in order to accommodate the increased number of customers.

“These journeys will be available during peak times and will use Vantage buses where possible, but some conventional buses will be used in some instances.”