THE number of people using the guided busway from Leigh to Manchester is increasing.

Some 2.1 million passengers used the public transport in its first year of operation and it is on course to better that figure when the busway's second birthday comes around in April.

In a Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) Committee Capital Projects and Policy Sub Committee meeting in Manchester it was revealed that the number of people travelling on the guided busway to the city centre each week has passed the 50,000 mark since the route changed in April, with Oxford Road being reopened.

In the first 12 months just over 40,000 people were using the V1 and V2 buses.

TfGM's head of project groups Alex Cropper said: “Since this route change patronage on the service has remained strong, with around 50,000 passengers per week utilising the service.

“In its first full year the busway carried in excess of 2.1 million passengers, a significantly higher level than had been originally envisaged.

“Based on the first four months patronage in 2017-18, it is expected that this figure will be surpassed.

“Overall journey times of 50 minutes between Leigh and the regional centre continue to be consistently achieved or bettered.

"This compares favourably with those that could be achieved regularly prior to the introduction of the guideway and the priority infrastructure on the A580.”

He added that eight buses an hour now run to Manchester during the day.

The guided busway's success has prompted the consideration of further park and ride provisions, to run alongside Leigh’s East Bond Street and Tyldesley’s Astley Street.

Parking facilities for around 30 to 40 extra cars at the Astley Street stop are set to be unveiled this autumn.