Best sustainable travel initiative - Community

Leigh Guided Bus Way Promotional Event Day

Wigan Council invited local organisations to join them in promoting the Leigh Guided Busway to the general public. This free event and community focused approach was to engage people of all ages and abilities to use the busway and especially highlight the pathway alongside for cycling, walking, jogging and horse riding. In return this would also encourage health and well-being. Partnership agencies who were invited were; • Transport for Greater Manchester • First Bus Group • Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles • British Cycling Breeze rides • AECOM Consultants • Horse Society • Gearing Up – Cycle maintenance • GMP Police • Road Safety • Business Engagement Team for workplaces • Wigan and Leigh Tenant Participation Team The role of Wigan Council’s Media Team was to promote the event through Social Media, Newspapers, Intranet and posters. This information was also promoted in schools and workplaces in the borough. Partnership agencies participated with information stands.

Local Authority contact details

David Scrivens Project Development Officer, Planning and Transport Wigan Council Email; Tel 01942 489243 North West Region 

Who was involved & what was their role?

Wigan Council’s Sustainability Officer Dawn Jones was instrumental in organising the event and inviting partnership agencies to join them this included, cycle led rides, cycle maintenance, horse riding, group guided walks, free security bike marking and general information about the guided bus route and fares. Each agency had their own information stand and activity to promote to the public.

Details of cost budget, sources of funding

Working closely with our partnership agencies and pooling resources we established that there were no associated costs involved.

How was it developed?

The Leigh Guided Bus way was opened on the 3rd April 2016 The bus way service sees up to eight state-of-the-art buses an hour joining communities and business centres along the route, with seven purpose-built stops on the guided section. Each bus, powered by low-emission hybrid engines, has free Wi-Fi, USB charging points, climate control and on-board “next stop” audio and visual announcements. The guided bus way provides reliable and traffic-free journeys for bus passengers while at the same time ensures a level of ride quality not possible on normal roads. Alongside the 4.5 mile track there’s also a shared path that’s designed specifically for use by walkers, cyclists and horse riders. Although this was a new venture in Leigh publicity and promotion of the bus and adjoining pathway was essential. Wigan Council initiated the weekend promotional day to reinforce the facilities and benefits the new guided bus way had.

What was the outcome, including information on future plans - one-off, on-going, develop further?

Objectives • Raise the profile of the routes for the Guided Bus way which has community links to employment, education and leisure. • Provides multi- user links to all local areas such as Lilford Park and the newly created community woodland at Higher Fold • Bring communities together • Health and well-being Outcomes Since the event we have had confirmation from TFGM and Vantage (bus way operators) that patronage increased significantly so much so that additional buses were added to the timetable. We identified that the use of the pathway alongside the bus way has increased with cyclist, walkers, horse riders and joggers using this excellent facility, especially for access to workplaces and schools nearby. All of this contributing to health and well-being and sustainable modes of transport. In the future we are looking to sustain interest by repeating the event every other year and hopefully inviting children to produce a poster in school for the Leigh Guided Bus way.

How does this initiative or project meet the criteria?

Working in partnership proved successful by engaging in a joined up approach. This helped us achieve our objectives and outcomes by raising the profile of the Leigh Guided Bus way and its vital community links to employment, education and leisure. From a sustainable mode of transport and health and well-being point of view the event has proven to increase patronage on the bus and the use of the pathway by the general public as walking and cycling have increased considerably. Highlighting public rights of way through the event equestrian groups have recognised the benefits and links across bridleways. Being creative with ideas for the event attracted people of all ages showing engagement and involvement for all our target areas. The event taught us to recognise barriers and how to overcome them. As a group we feel that the ideas that were implemented into this initiative could easily be transferable to other promotional events and by working together is much more cost effect

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