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Transport Benevolent Fund - 2019
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June 01 2019
By Tim Deakin

Tim is Editor of routeone and has worked in both the coach and bus and haulage industries.

Go North West launches with Manchester depot

£11.2m deal for First’s Queens Road depot and 163 buses; service and fleet improvements are coming

Go North West has launched its own identity; promises fleet investment

Go North West (GNW), part of the Go-Ahead Group and formed to take over the former First Manchester depot in Cheetham Hill north of the city centre, commenced services on Sunday 2 June.

The new operation, with a fleet of 163 buses, is led by Interim Managing Director David Cutts. It will initially replicate the current service that was provided by First, but it is working on enhancements that will be announced in due course.

Additionally, Mr Cutts says that a fleet refurbishment and replacement plan has been established. GNW’s new grey-based livery has debuted on an Alexander Dennis Enviro400 that is part of the fleet transferred from First.

Passengers will benefit from an app allowing them to purchase tickets, and real-time information will soon be made available via the same portal. The Key, a group-wide smartcard, has been introduced as part of GNW’s ticketing offer.

The Queens Road depot in Cheetham Hill will house a new senior management team and an in-house customer service function. Go-Ahead says it will employ “local people with local knowledge” to allow it “to deliver a better service.”

Adds Mr Cutts: “GNW has committed to providing our passengers with a high-quality service and continuing the record bus passenger satisfaction score of 92% that Go-Ahead has delivered this year. I’d like to thank the GNW team who have worked on the transition process and the staff at Queens Road, who have been very welcoming.”

Go-Ahead purchased the Queens Road operation for £11.2m in February. Although GNW’s routes are concentrated on Manchester, its reach extends as far as Warrington in Cheshire. The garage building, which includes the adjacent Museum of Transport Greater Manchester, was opened in 1901 as the city’s first electric tram depot. It is Grade II listed. As part of preparations for the takeover, GNW refurbished the depot’s large external clock.

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Transport Benevolent Fund - 2019