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Commuters travelling from Manchester to Lehigh via bus now have the opportunity to take buses that will be utilising a brand-new busway just recently opened. The busway, which has been under construction for the last four years, promises to reduce transit times while also easing some of the traffic congestion currently in and around Manchester. Our question is whether the new busway will require additional bus driver training or not.

Our question is rather tongue-in-cheek given what we know about the guided busway. The only training that will be required of drivers involves safely entering and exiting the system. Once a bus is in the busway, it is guided entirely by the system for the entire 4.5-mile route. Prior to joining the busway, and after exiting, the driver operates his/her vehicle as normal.

The Real Testing Begins

Officials defending the £68 million project insist that the investment will be well worth it when measured against traffic congestion and the time it takes to make the journey from Manchester to Lehigh. Their tests indicate that a trip taking one hour and 20 minutes during morning rush hour via the A580 route takes just 50 minutes using the busway. Cutting 30 minutes out of a commuter’s transit time saves fuel, reduces the frustration of traffic congestion, and even enables the commuter to do other things during the trip.

Those opposed to the construction project say it will do very little to ease congestion in Manchester’s city centre. They say not enough people will ride the commuter buses to make a difference and, even if buses remain full throughout the day, Manchester’s growth will still outpace any benefit the busway offers.

We are more interested to see whether the busway lives up to its billing from a technological standpoint. If it does, and officials can justify the expense, it should not be too long before we see other local councils considering building busways.

Bus Driver Training Would Change

We can envision the day when bus driver training would have to include the basics of using busways should the Manchester project prove successful. The training would be minimal in comparison to other things bus drivers have to learn in order to drive safely on traditional streets and roads. That means we could incorporate it into our bus driver training programme fairly simply.

For the record, we do not see the busway becoming a proliferating technology that eliminates the need for bus drivers. As with automated HGVs and cars, we simply do not have the infrastructure for a completely automated bus system; nor do we have the financial resources to build such infrastructure. Bus drivers will be an integral part of public transport for decades to come.

If you are interested in becoming a professional bus driver, the HGV Training Centre offers comprehensive bus driver training at more than four dozen facilities throughout the United Kingdom. Contact us to learn more.

Sources:

Manchester Evening News – https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/leigh-guided-busway-reasons-transport-11133428

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