Stagecoach Manchester

Stagecoach Manchester[1] is a major bus operator in Greater Manchester. It is the largest UK bus subsidiary of Stagecoach Group outside of Greater London, as well as the largest within the metropolitan county of Greater Manchester by passenger numbers, carrying up to 96.2 million passengers in 2019/20. [2] It is made up of three brands: Stagecoach in Manchester, Stagecoach in Wigan and Magic Bus.

Stagecoach Manchester
Stagecoach Manchester 19628 MX59KHY (8590940898).jpg
Alexander Dennis Enviro400 branded in the company's former corporate livery, on route 192
in Manchester
SloganProud to Serve
FoundedFebruary 1996
Service areaGreater Manchester (some services overlap into other cities)
Service typeBus services
Fleet791 (2020)
Daily ridership265,753 (December 2012)


A fleet of Stagecoach buses operating in Stockport.

In December 1993, GM Buses was split in two, GM Buses North[3] and GM Buses South.[1] It was planned that the two companies would compete against one another, but in reality they stuck to the sides of Manchester as indicated by their names.

In April 1994, GM Buses South was sold to a management buyout. It faced an uphill struggle as over 40 competitors were operating GM Buses routes following deregulation, although most of those competed with GM Buses (North). However Bee Line and MTL Manchester did go south, and Finglands Coachways, Mayne and Walls were established competitors on lucrative South Manchester routes.

GMBS suffered from operating an elderly fleet. As a stand-alone (nil subsidy) arms length company, GM Buses had not been able to buy new buses, and thus Daimler Fleetlines and Leyland Atlanteans - the newest by then 15 years old - had to soldier on. Competitors were expanding and GMBS could not make the investment needed.

Stagecoach set up Stagecoach Manchester as a Ribble Motor Services subsidiary, to compete on GMBS's main route 192 with brand new Volvo B6 buses that were far more appealing than GMBS's rundown fleet.

In response to increasing competition by Merseyside Transport, GMBS set up Birkenhead & District[4] in Liverpool, running Daimler Fleetlines in Birkenhead Corporation livery.

Throughout 1994 GMBS bought a large number of second hand buses, mainly Atlanteans and Leyland Nationals. Stagecoach responded with more new buses in the shape of new Alexander PS bodied Volvo B10M-55s. GMBS used its Charterplan coach fleet to compete with Stagecoach Ribble's route X43 to Burnley. By the end of 1994 everything turned peaceful, Stagecoach agreed to no further competition on route 192, and hired 20 Volvo B6s to GMBS.

In February 1996 Stagecoach purchased the business and rebranded it Stagecoach Manchester. The original Stagecoach Manchester was sold to Finglands Coachways.

On 21 January 2008, Stagecoach Manchester purchased the bus operations of A Mayne & Son with 38 buses all transferred to Hyde Road garage.[5][6]

On 10 August 2008, Stagecoach Manchester purchased the bus operations of Bullocks Coaches.[7] Bullocks retained their coach hire business, and route 147 Oxford Road Link operated as a subsidised university and hospital link. Bullocks' services included route 157 between Woodford and Manchester, which has since been renumbered X57 and made limited stop between East Didsbury and Manchester.

In March 2011, Stagecoach started running the Stockport Metroshuttle service.[8]

On 2 December 2012, Stagecoach Manchester purchased First Greater Manchester's Wigan operation.[9][10] The transaction saw 300 employees, 120 vehicles (although 20 were owned by Transport for Greater Manchester) and the Wigan depot purchased by the former Mayne legal entity.[11][12] The business was rebranded Stagecoach in Wigan although it is managed by Stagecoach Manchester.

On 3 March 2013 Stagecoach purchased Bluebird with 40 buses, 80 staff and its depot lease at Greengate.[13][14][15] On 26 April 2014 Stagecoach took over the business of JPT Bus Company with 41 buses.[16][17]

The United Kingdom's first autonomous bus, currently on trial at Sharston depot

The first autonomous bus trial in the United Kingdom commenced in mid-2019, with an Alexander Dennis Enviro200 MMC single-decker bus modified with autonomous software from Fusion Processing able to operate in driverless mode within Stagecoach Manchester's Sharston bus depot, performing tasks such as driving to the washing station, refuelling point and then parking up at a dedicated parking space in the depot.[18]


In 2019, it was announced that the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) would be looking into improving the public transport network in Greater Manchester with bus franchising[19] as the preferred option by both itself and Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM). This announcement concerned bus operators including Stagecoach who alongside OneBus[20] started to publish their own facts and research into Manchester's bus network with a detailed partnership proposal to work with the GMCA and TfGM to improve the bus network at no cost to local taxpayers as the investment would come from the private sector. In September 2019, Stagecoach decided to increase their advertising of their Partnership proposal with bus advertising and a dedicated website. [21]



Stagecoach Manchester operates the largest number of services of any bus operator in Greater Manchester. It is primarily dominant in southern areas of the county but in recent years has gradually expanded its operations north of Manchester city centre operating some cross-city services.

Stagecoach in ManchesterEdit

An Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 Hybrid in the company's special green livery operating in Manchester.

Stagecoach in Manchester mainly run services in the southern areas of Greater Manchester, serving Stockport, Trafford, Tameside and south and central Manchester. They also run some local services in Glossop. Stagecoach does run some services outside these areas:

From March 2013, Stagecoach moved further into north Manchester by purchasing Bluebird.[14]

Since 23 July 2017, the 22 route (Bolton – Stockport) that Stagecoach Manchester shared with First Greater Manchester has been separated into two routes. The 2 route operates between Bolton and the Trafford Centre and is operated by First Greater Manchester. The 25 route operates between Stockport and the Trafford Centre, and is operated by Stagecoach Manchester and Manchester Community Transport.

Stagecoach in WiganEdit

A newer Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 MMC, branded in the company's former corporate livery, part of the Stagecoach in Wigan fleet.

Since December 2012, Stagecoach has operated services in the Wigan area under the brandname Stagecoach in Wigan, following the purchase of First Greater Manchester's Wigan operation. Services from Wigan depot mainly run in the Wigan and Leigh areas, whilst also serving Manchester and Salford on routes 33 and 34/X34 (the former being shared with First Greater Manchester), while route 540 runs to Bolton, which is also served by Stagecoach Lancashire route 125. Route 113 is operated from both Stagecoach Manchester's Wigan depot and Stagecoach Lancashire's Chorley depot.

Magic BusEdit

A fleet of Enviro 400 double-deckers in Manchester operating Magic Bus services.

The Magic Bus brand was introduced by Stagecoach Manchester to the Wilmslow Road bus corridor to compete against other cheaper bus brands. It offered lower fares than on regular Stagecoach liveried services by using older bus type fleets. The Manchester Magic Bus fleet currently consists of older Alexander Dennis Enviro 400s transferred from the Stagecoach in Manchester fleet, operating on Wilmslow Road routes 142, 143 and 147.

In 2006 the Magic Bus brand was introduced in Manchester on route 192 to counter a bus war started by UK North. Following UK North being de-licensed, the Magic Bus ceased operating on route 192 with all services provided by Stagecoach liveried buses.


Stagecoach Manchester offer several night bus services in Manchester and Wigan every Friday and Saturday night. The services run every 30 minutes or every hour from 00:00 until 03:00 and the routes are mainly the same as the normal routes with some exceptions.

Stagecoach also operates night bus services in Wigan. The network is largely based on the main Wigan services with some running an amended route to its normal routes. Wigan's Nightbus network runs on Friday nights/Saturday mornings and Saturday nights/Sunday mornings. The services also operate on New Year's Eve with additional journeys during the evening between 19:00 and 23:00, along with journeys on Arriva North West's route 352 to Orrell and 362 to Standish and on Wigan Buses/Maytree Travel route 612 to Wrightington Hospital.[22]53 and 88 are examples eventhough at daytime they are First Greater Manchester buses


Stagecoach Manchester currently operate a fleet of 791 buses, which includes one of the largest fleet of Alexander Dennis Enviro400 double-decker buses for any bus operator in the UK.[23] These also include a range of Hybrid variants:

  • 32 Zero emission, electric double decker buses
  • 138 Euro 4 and 5 Hybrid buses
  • 1 Euro 6 Hybrid bus
  • 172 Euro 6 buses(as of April 2019).

Most Stagecoach Manchester vehicles are branded in the now 20-year-old Beach Ball design corporate livery, originally launched in 2000.[24] The livery consists of vehicles painted white, with a blue skirt, and red and orange swoops.

The new Stagecoach livery was launched in January 2020, and features three different liveries, based on the type of service operated: local, long-distance and specialist. These new designs are to be applied beginning in the latter half of 2020.[25]

See alsoEdit


  • Celebrating 100 Years of Princess Road Manchester: Stagecoach April 2010[26][27]


  1. ^ a b Companies House extract company no 2818654 Greater Manchester Buses South Limited
  2. ^
  3. ^ Companies House extract company no 2818607 First Manchester Limited formerly Greater Manchester Buses North Limited
  4. ^ Companies House extract company no 1858001 Birkenhead & District Transport Limited
  5. ^ Anticipated Acquisition by Greater Manchester South Buses Limited of A Mayne & Son Limited Archived 19 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine Office of Fair Trading 16 January 2008
  6. ^ Stagecoach starts Mayne integration Archived 8 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine Bus & Coach Professional 30 January 2008
  7. ^ "Stagecoach Announces Bullocks Acquisition". Stagecoach Bus. 8 August 2008. Archived from the original on 15 September 2008.
  8. ^ "GMPTE - Buses - Latest Changes". GMPTE. Archived from the original on 13 January 2010. Retrieved 14 February 2011.
  9. ^ a b Stagecoach buys FirstGroup's Wigan bus arm for £12 million BBC News 31 October 2012
  10. ^ Acquisition of Wigan Bus Operations from First Manchester Stagecoach 31 October 2012
  11. ^ Companies House extract company no 308157 Greater Manchester Buses West Limited
  12. ^ McCollom, James (31 October 2012). "Stagecoach to acquire First routes in Wigan". Manchester Transport. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  13. ^ "Acquisition of bus operations in North Manchester". Stagecoach Group. 7 November 2012. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
  14. ^ a b Anticipated acquisition by Greater Manchester Buses (South) Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Stagecoach plc, of Bluebird Bus & Coach Archived 18 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine Office of Fair Trading 27 February 2013
  15. ^ Bluebird bus services are now part of Stagecoach Manchester Stagecoach
  16. ^ "JP Travel bus services will shortly be part of Stagecoach". Stagecoach Group plc. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
  17. ^ Stagecoach takes over from JP Travel Archived 12 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine 6 May 2014
  18. ^
  19. ^ Doing Buses Differently - Consultation on Proposed Franchising Scheme [Greater Manchester Combined Authority
  20. ^ Partnership Benefits OneBus
  21. ^ Another Way Stagecoach Manchester
  22. ^ "Wigan New Years Eve services". Stagecoach Bus. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
  23. ^
  24. ^ "Stagecoach mulls brand change". routeone. 6 February 2017. Retrieved 25 February 2020.
  25. ^ "January 30th 2020: Stagecoach unveils its 20:20 Vision". Steven Knight Media. Retrieved 25 February 2020.
  26. ^ "Princess Road book". Stagecoachbus. Retrieved 20 September 2011.
  27. ^ "Bus firm Stagecoach travels to new stop as century-old depot shuts". Manchester Evening News. MEN Media. Retrieved 20 September 2011.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Stagecoach in Manchester at Wikimedia Commons