#AYearOfBuses 34: Leigh – Manchester
We’re heading to Manchester for day 34 on #AYearOfBuses to check in on an interesting battle between regular and guided buses.
The 34 and X34 is a long-standing route connecting Manchester with Salford and Leigh, in the borough of Wigan. Over the years, it’s been run by a number of operators, including both First and Stagecoach.
It dominated the market for years – Leigh having no railway station for commuters heading into Manchester – until the opening of Greater Manchester’s first guided busway in 2016. Since then, the Vantage services running along the dedicated busway (which fatefully, runs along the old railway line), have gradually eroded the X34’s customer base.
In order to compete, Stagecoach introduced a fleet of branded Alexander Dennis Enviro400 MMCs to the route, featuring this rather interesting style of branding.
Unfortunately, it hasn’t paid off. After so many years, the X34 has been put to the sword, with only the slower, round-the-houses journeys on the 34 remaining.