Greater Manchester Transport Timeline

Deregulation: 1986 onwards

1986 Greater Manchester Buses Limited is formed to take over the operational aspects of Greater Manchester Transport in preparation for Deregulation (27 February).

1986 Greater Manchester Transport (GMT) closes bus garages at Weaste (January), Leigh (February) and Hindley (March).

1986 An unlimited travel bus pass for 16 to 19 year olds is introduced (January).

1986 Greater Manchester Council is abolished (31 March). Responsibility for public transport passes to Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority (1 April).

1986 GMT introduces Express bus branding (25 May).

1986 GMT closes Birchfields Road, Frederick Road and Northenden garages (25 October).

1986 The 1985 Transport Act brings about the deregulation of bus services in Greater Manchester. Greater Manchester Transport no longer directly runs bus services with effect from 26 October.

1986 GM Buses introduces Little Gem minibus services (October).

1986 Many new bus operators come onto the scene, whilst other long established names expand their operations into Greater Manchester. Ribble and Crosville both establish a greater presence in the area, and even East Midland of Chesterfield starts to run local services.

1986 Victoria Bus Station closes.

A well-lit Stockport Bus Station

1987 Bolton’s new bus and rail interchange becomes fully operational and Wigan’s new bus station is opened.

1987 Salford Crescent railway station opens.

1987 The Bee Line Buzz Company starts operating minibuses (26 January).

1987 The new Bolton Moor Lane Bus Station is officially opened (15 April).

1987 GM Buses launches its Busabout pre-paid tickets, valid for 7 and 14 days (October).

1988 The Windsor link – a new rail line between Salford Crescent and Deansgate to connect the rail services from the northwest with the southern half of the county - becomes operational.

1988 The Metrolink project is officially launched.

1988 GM Buses launches orange and white ‘People on the Move’ livery (26 July).

1988 The Bee Line Buzz Company is sold to Ribble.

1989 Lever Street Bus Station opens.

1989 Construction of Metrolink begins.

1989 GM Buses introduces electronic ticket machines (Wayfarer) for the first time (4 June).

1989 Stagecoach buys Ribble.

Trams once again rumble down Market Street, Manchester!

1990 Holders of all rail tickets to, from and across Manchester city centre are entitled to free travel on Centreline bus services.

1990 GM Buses starts to use an in-house desk top publishing system (DTP) to produce artwork for publicity for the first time.

1990 CCTV is installed for the first time on buses in Altrincham by GM Buses (September).

1991 A Day Ranger one day off-peak countywide rail ticket is introduced.

1991 A new pre-paid ticket scheme (TravelCards) is developed jointly by GMPTE and the bus operators.

1991 Junior Buscard – a bus ticket for children between the ages of 5 and 15 years, giving unlimited bus travel throughout Greater Manchester – is introduced.

1991 GM Buses closes Altrincham, Rochdale, Swinton and Tameside garages (November)

1992 Smoking is banned on all GM Buses vehicles (1 January).

1992 Leigh Bus Station officially opens.

1992 Her Majesty the Queen officially opens Metrolink on 17 July.

1992 All local rail passengers making journeys in Greater Manchester to Manchester city centre are able to travel free on Metrolink in the city zone.

1992 The forced split of GM Buses is announced by Government, using powers from the Transport Act 1985 (November).

1992 New radio and telephone system introduced by GM Buses. It is possible to contact a bus radio from an internal telephone for the first time.

1992 GM Buses launches its range of pre-paid SuperGem Saver Cards and daysaver tickets to try and win passengers.

1993 The pilot for the new Travelshop service is introduced at Leigh bus station.

1993 The new rail link to Manchester Airport is opened.

1993 Annual “Saver TravelCard” tickets are launched.

1993 The Railways Act 1993 which leads to rail franchising, re-organisation and privatisation.

1993 Greater Manchester Buses Limited split into two separate companies ready for disposal - both become operational, still in public sector ownership: Greater Manchester Buses North Limited and Greater Manchester Buses South Limited (13 December).

1994 The two GM Buses companies are sold to two ‘Employee Buy Out Teams’ (31 March).

1994 OneCard smartcard is trialled in Bolton, which allows non-cash payment of fares (March).

1994 GM Buses North launches Day Return Fares (1 May).

1994 GM Buses South introduces its buy on the bus ‘Network 7’ weekly tickets.

1994 Ashton-under-Lyne’s new bus station and Travelshop are opened.

1994 Metrolink carries 12 million passengers. 20% of those journeys had previously been made by car.

1995 GM Buses North launches its buy on the bus ‘Big Orange Weekly’ tickets (1 May).

1996 System 1 Travelcards is launched, as the new name for Saver TravelCards (February).

1996 GM Buses South is bought by Stagecoach (February) and GM Buses North by FirstBus (March). GM Buses South becomes Stagecoach Manchester and GM Buses North is rebranded as “Greater Manchester”.

1996 Stagecoach Manchester rebrands its Network 7 weekly ticket as Megarider and launches Magic Bus services.

1996 Manchester city centre is badly damaged in a bomb blast and the bus station in the Arndale centre has to be closed (15 June).

1996 GMPTE ceases to fund local rail services.

1997 CCTV systems begin to be introduced at bus stations.

1997 The railways serving Greater Manchester are privatised through franchising.

1997 Stagecoach Manchester reopens Charles Street bus garage (12 August).

1998 Atherton Garage, once the home of LUT, closes (7 February).

1998 “Greater Manchester” (GM Buses North) becomes First Manchester (1 April).

1998 System 1 Travel launches the first multi-operator daysaver tickets for Greater Manchester, with options for bus only, bus and train, bus and Metrolink and all modes (27 September).

1998 GMPTE’s telephone enquiry bureau joins forces with those of the two major bus operators.

1998 GMPTE website launches.

1999 The Deputy Prime Minister officially opens the county’s new Public Transport Telephone Information Bureau (February).

1999 Farnworth Bus Station is refurbished.

1999 A web-based Public Transport Journey Planner becomes available on the GMPTE website.

1999 Museum of Transport website launches.

1999 The Prime Minister officially opens Metrolink services to Salford Quays (December).

The street that’s disappeared! Aerial view of Cannon Street looking towards Manchester Cathedral

2000 First Manchester launches its FirstDay daysaver ticket (5 March).

2000 Ticket machines on First Manchester and Stagecoach Manchester are replaced with smartcard compatible machines.

2000 The First Local Transport Plan is submitted to Government.

2000 The first Quality Bus Corridor in Greater Manchester, from Leigh to Bolton, is opened (17 November).

2000 First Manchester rebrands ‘The Big Orange Weekly’ as FirstWeek (26 November).

2001 The Metrolink extension to Eccles is officially opened by HRH The Princess Royal (January).

2001 New Oldham Bus Station opens at Cheapside (14 January).

2001 First Manchester and Stagecoach Manchester discontinue SuperGem pre-paid tickets (31 March).

2001 A Nightbus network launched in Manchester.

2001 New Eccles Bus Station opens (18 November).

2002 The last of the Greater Manchester Standard Leyland Atlantean buses operates in Greater Manchester (7 January).

2002 Centreline is rebranded as Metroshuttle.

2002 The XVII Commonwealth Games are held in Manchester - over 60,000 spectators each day use public transport.

2002 ClipperCards are phased out (31 October).

2003 Bus stops start to be upgraded to display the stop name and direction of travel (January).

2003 Concessionary travel eligibility lowered to 60 for men.

2003 Introduction of Yellow School Buses on certain contracted school services.

2003 Cannon Street in Manchester closes to buses (30 August).

2003 Victoria Bus Station near Greengate in Salford reopens as Exchange Bus Station (1 September).

2003 Whitefield Bus Station has closed.

2004 The new Manchester Airport bus station, part of the new Ground Transport Interchange (The Station) officially opens (30 January).

2004 First Manchester closes Bolton Garage and opens the replacement Weston Street Garage (13 March).

2004 HRH The Earl of Wessex visits the Museum of Transport to mark its 25th anniversary (19 October).

2004 ‘How’s my Train Running?’ automated telephone information line launched by GMPTE.

2004 Real time passenger information (RTPI) equipment is trialled on certain bus routes in Greater Manchester.

2005 Introduction of a text message-based, 24-hour bus timetable information service (February).

2005 New Hyde Bus Station opens.

2005 New Middleton Bus Station opens (July).

2006 System One Travel weekly and monthly tickets can be bought at PayPoint outlets in Greater Manchester for the first time (February).

2006 Free travel on buses, trains and Metrolink in Greater Manchester after 0930 for people over 60, resident in Greater Manchester (1 April).

2006 Shudehill Interchange in Manchester city centre opens, linking buses and Metrolink (Exchange Bus Station closes).

2006 New park and ride at Whitefield Metrolink station opens, with bus interchange facilities (June).

2006 Oldham’s West Street bus station extension opens.

2006 GMPTE installs CCTV in bus shelters affected by vandalism in Greater Manchester.

2007 GMPTE moves to new headquarters, 2 Piccadilly Place (officially opens 12 June).

2008 Local Transport Act 2008 which renames the Passenger Transport Authorities as Integrated Transport Authorities and allows for the re-regulation of bus services in certain circumstances.

2008 Stagecoach Manchester acquires the local bus service operations of A Mayne & Son (21 January).

2008 The English National Concessionary Travel Scheme is launched: free travel for over 60s is extended to cover all off peak local bus services in England, using a new smartcard pass (1 April).

2008 Greater Manchester congestion charging referendum (December).

2009 Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority renamed Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Authority (9 February).

2009 Stagecoach Manchester closes Glossop Garage.

2009 Oldham Loop railway line (Manchester Victoria – Oldham Mumps – Rochdale) closes to be converted to Metrolink (3 October).

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