EXTRA buses have been added to the guided busway after the reduced service has come under criticism by customers.

The Vantage bus service was launched by Transport for Greater Manchester and First Manchester in 2016, to better link residents from Leigh, Atherton, and Tyldesley into central Manchester along the guided busway.

After the service was cut back during the pandemic, it has not yet resumed to a full service and there is increasing concern that the service is not meeting the demand of current passengers. 

Expressing their frustration online, residents have spoken of being stranded at bus stops as packed buses drive past; often missing work or appointments as a result.

A petition calling to "drastically improve" the V1 and V2 bus service has now reached more than 1,700 signatures.

Leigh Journal: The Vantage bus service was launched on the guided busway in 2016The Vantage bus service was launched on the guided busway in 2016 (Image: First Manchester)

Following the controversy, Transport for Greater Manchester and First Manchester have stated that they have added extra buses to the timetable and will monitor the situation to alleviate any further issues.

A spokesperson for First Manchester said: “We are aware there has been pressure on bus capacity at certain times of the day and we continue to work closely with Transport for Greater Manchester to find ways of alleviating this.

"Two trips [have been] added in the morning from Ellenbrook and one in the afternoon peak travel period from Princess Street to provide more space for customers and we will monitor the situation carefully.

“Existing roadworks on this route, which are outside our control, [have also been] impacting journeys and disrupting punctuality and we are discussing how this might be resolved.

“We would like to thank our customers for their patience and understanding as we continue to agree actions with our partners to overcome these short-term difficulties.”

Leigh Journal: Cllr Debra WailesCllr Debra Wailes (Image: GMCA)

Working to try and improve the bus network for passengers, Atherton Councillor Debra Wailes said she is pleased that there have been "some improvements" to the service.

However, not content with the addition of two morning services, she added: "This is still not good enough, and with [the community's] support, we will continue to put pressure on First buses to provide a much better service for the community.

"This service needs to once again be there for everyone to access hospital appointments, friends, families, shops, work, and University.

"We will persevere."

To add your name to the Vantage bus petition, you can do so here.