Go North West

Go North West is a bus operator in Greater Manchester, England. It is a subsidiary of the Go-Ahead Group.

Go North West
Go North West logo.png
Go North West's 3002 BN61 MWF.png
A Volvo B5LH Wright Gemini 2 in Go North West's launch livery in Manchester city centre.
ParentGo-Ahead Group
Commenced operation2 June 2019; 3 years ago (2019-06-02)
HeadquartersCheetham Hill
Service areaGreater Manchester
Service typeBus Services
HubsManchester, Salford, Bury, Middleton, Queens Road
Depots1
Fleet180
Websitewww.gonorthwest.co.uk

HistoryEdit

Go North West commenced operations on 2 June 2019 following the Go-Ahead Group's purchase of First Greater Manchester's Queens Road depot with 163 vehicles.[1][2][3]

ServicesEdit

Go North West operate 25 public services and six school services from the Queens Road depot as of September 2021.[4] It largely serves suburban areas in the north of Manchester along with Salford and Bury.[5]

Certain routes have been specifically branded by the company. The 52 and the 53, the latter being Manchester's oldest unchanged bus route, are branded with an orange livery as the 'Manchester's Orbits',[6] while the 135 route has received a similar green livery, both based on the standard fleet livery. In 2021, the 'CrossCity' brand was launched on the 41 service serving Sale and Middleton via the city centre.[7]

FleetEdit

As of October 2022, Go North West operates 180 buses, a large amount of which were initially acquired from First Greater Manchester.[8] Buses were initially painted into a livery designed by local marketing agency We Are Buzz,[9] however the livery was redesigned in late 2019. This redesign later coincided with the introduction of the 'Manchester's Orbits' and 135 branding.

Buses are based at the former First depot in Queen's Road, Cheetham Hill, opened in 1901 by the Manchester Carriage and Tramways Company as the first electric tram depot to open in Manchester. The depot premises is adjacent to the Museum of Transport in Manchester.[10] Following the acquisition of the garage in 2019, Go North West had the depot's original clock restored to working order and also funded an auction bid to help return the golden key used to first open the garage to the adjacent museum.[11][12]

ControversiesEdit

2021 strike actionEdit

On 28 February 2021, a strike was called by the union Unite over concerns that the new payment package was a 'fire and re-hire' scheme, following Go North West making a loss of £1.8 million per year.[tone] A reduced service operated during the period of industrial action, with the company hiring other local operators to maintain services, some of which were criticised by Unite for overcrowding buses during the third COVID-19 lockdown.[13][14] The strike ended on 18 May 2021 after successful talks between both parties in Unite's favour. Lasting 85 days, Unite claims this to have been their longest period of strike action.[15][16]

Dismissal of Tracey ScholesEdit

In December 2021, driver Tracey Scholes was dismissed after 34 years of service due to new side mirrors on the fleet being phased in to replace "branch" mirrors following consultation with the union Unite. An unforeseen consequence of this was that Scholes could not operate the vehicle safely, being too short to use them as the same time as driving the bus.[17][18]

A Go North West spokesperson said Scholes was a valued member of the team and they had made "numerous proposals to accommodate" Scholes, but the suggestions were rejected.[19]

Scholes had been the first female bus driver for a Manchester depot, starting work at Queens Road in 1984. A rally in support of Scholes was held outside of the Queens Road depot while a petition demanding Go North West reinstate Scholes reached 25,000 signatures, and following a final appeal in January 2022, Scholes' position at Go North West was reinstated.[19][20]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "First Manchester sells Queens Road depot to Go-Ahead". Coach & Bus Week. 19 February 2019. Archived from the original on 19 February 2019.
  2. ^ Rucki, Alexandra. "First Manchester are selling 160 buses and their Cheetham Hill depot for £11.2m". Manchester Evening News. Archived from the original on 26 April 2019.
  3. ^ Go North West launches with Manchester depot Route One 2 June 2019
  4. ^ "Timetables : GoNorthWest". www.gonorthwest.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2 June 2019. Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  5. ^ "Network Map". GoNorthWest. Go Ahead Group. Retrieved 2 January 2021.
  6. ^ "Go North West's Manchester's Orbits launch". Coach & Bus Week. Peterborough: Coach and Bus Week Limited. 14 January 2020. Retrieved 13 November 2021.
  7. ^ @GNWbus (27 May 2021). "#CrossCity is coming, Your newer, brighter, feature-packed buses for the 41 are starting to hit the roads - you can't miss them!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  8. ^ "Fleet List for Go North West". Go North West. Retrieved 12 October 2022.
  9. ^ Harrison, Matt (2 June 2019). "Go North West reveal their new brand and livery". Transport Designed. Retrieved 13 November 2021.
  10. ^ Go-Ahead agrees Manchester deal Buses' issue 769 April 2019 page 6
  11. ^ "What's the strategy for Go North West?". Passenger Transport. 18 October 2019. Retrieved 13 November 2021.
  12. ^ Britton, Paul (31 October 2019). "The long-lost, 15 carat gold key that launched the public transport system in Manchester". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 13 November 2021.
  13. ^ "Manchester Go North West bus drivers to strike in 'fire and rehire' dispute". BBC News. 12 February 2021. Retrieved 28 February 2021.
  14. ^ Robson, Steve (4 March 2021). "Investigation launched into 'dangerously overcrowded' replacement bus service during drivers strike". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 13 November 2021.
  15. ^ Blakey, Ashlie (17 May 2021). "Long-running bus drivers' strike over 'fire and rehire' ends after 85 days". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 13 November 2021.
  16. ^ Richards, Archie (17 May 2021). "Go North West bus strike ends after union drivers win historic battle against 'fire and rehire'". Salford Now. Retrieved 13 November 2021.
  17. ^ Cox, Charlotte (3 December 2021). "Bus driver with 34 years experience sacked for being 'too short'". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 13 December 2021.
  18. ^ Molloy, Thomas; Blackburne, Elaine (7 December 2021). "Stars back woman dismissed from bus driving job because she was too short". WalesOnline. Retrieved 13 December 2021.
  19. ^ a b Wolfe-Robinson, Maya (9 January 2022). "Support increases for Manchester bus driver sacked for being 'too short'". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 January 2022.
  20. ^ Otte, Jedidajah (17 January 2022). "Manchester bus driver dismissed for being 'too short' given job back after appeal". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 January 2022.