Go-Ahead buys First Manchester bus depot; soon to rebrand as Go North West

First Manchester

The Go-Ahead Group has announced that it has agreed terms with FirstGroup to buy Manchester’s Queen’s Road bus depot.

The sale, which is worth a reported £12m, is due to complete in the next few months, and will take Go-Ahead into Manchester, Britain’s second-largest urban area, for the first time. The deal includes the Queen’s Road bus depot, its routes and contracts, as well as 163 buses.

Confirming the sale, Go-Ahead says it is looking forward to working in partnership with Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) to deliver operational excellence, innovation and a focus on customer service.

Go-Ahead is the largest bus operator in London and runs seven other regional bus companies in Britain, plus overseas bus services in Ireland and Singapore. Go-Ahead’s regional bus services have a customer satisfaction score of 91%, the highest in the industry, according to an independent study by Transport Focus.

While the initial focus will be on ensuring a smooth transition to maintain services from day one of the new operation, Go-Ahead will invest in the people, vehicles and systems to improve the local bus services to customers. Buses from Queen’s Road predominantly serve destinations in the centre, North Manchester and Salford.

David Brown, Chief Executive of Go-Ahead, said: “We look forward to contributing to Manchester’s community and transport. Buses are an essential public service that help passengers get to work, access education and healthcare, for leisure and visits to relatives. We aim to deliver a comfortable, reliable service while investing to improve air quality.

“As a business that prides itself on looking after our colleagues, we hope to reinvigorate the Queen’s Road depot. We also look forward to engaging in open conversations with TfGM, stakeholders and customers in the Manchester area to better understand how we can create a sustainable and thriving service.”

The Queen’s Road depot will operate as Go North West, while a local brand will be chosen in collaboration with customers and stakeholders.

What do you think about the sale to Go-Ahead? Let us know in the comments below, and follow us on Twitter – @transportdsn.


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3 Responses

  1. I don’t anticipate a better bus service for customers. I anticipate price hikes, changes to rules regarding dogs on buses, including previous First Manchester 50p fare for them (if allowed to carry them at all) and inability to use concessionary plus disabled passes before 9.30am. Watch this space. I predict this to be another opportunity to rip off customers.

    1. The 9:30AM restriction is nationwide and nothing to do with any bus operator. Why do people carry dogs on buses? Never understood it (Assistance Dogs excepted). Same as bicycles on local trains . Modern society is just lazy. WALK your dog. RIDE your bicycle.

  2. I live in north east and go ahead group operate in tyne and wear and east durham areas fares are much cheaper than stagecoach and always take my dog on bus never been charged as for using concessionary passes before 9:30,weekdays this is a local authority rule nothing to do with bus company you will be surprised how good goahead is.

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