Wilmslow Road is often claimed to be the busiest bus route in Europe, but is it actually?
The Wilmslow Road bus corridor is the 5.5-mile long stretch we’ve all ventured on for one reason or another, which takes you from Piccadilly Gardens all the way to Parrs Wood.
It’s the bus route you don’t even need to look at the bus timetable for, because you know by the time you’ve taken your hood down as your shelter from the rain under the bus stop, one will be pulling in and leading you on your merry way to a house party in south Manny somewhere.
However, there is, I’m told, a bus on average every minute in each direction during university term time. And the stretch between RNCM and Oxford Road Station has a bus every 30 seconds in each direction.
Currently, two bus companies compete in giving the public the exact same service; Stagecoach Manchester (this includes our friend the wizard, Magic Bus) and First Greater Manchester.
They both quite literally run the exact same route but everyone knows the cheapest is the bright blue buses with a wizard printed on the side, which will get you all the way back for just a quid.
It’s this fact though – the one about the route, not the £1 bargain – that caused the Parliamentary Select Committee on Transport to be told in 2006 that Wilmslow Road corridor was utter ‘chaos’.
So how did things get just so utterly chaotic?
Like a lot of things, we can look to Margaret Thatcher’s government. The deregulation of buses in 1986 meant bus services could run wherever and whenever they wanted.
Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive ran most of the bus services on this route prior to this. In 1986, this became GM Buses.
Shortly after, competitor Finglands Coachways saw a market for cheap public transport to cater for all those pesky students. Word spread quickly and before you knew there were four bus choices; with Wall’s and Bullocks coming into the mix.
By 1996, Stagecoach bought GM Buses and introduced the Ryanair of bus services, the Magic Bus.
The market got competitive and prices just kept on getting lower and lower. In 2001, Finglands were offering a student weekly ticket for just TWO pounds. I don’t even think you can get an ice cream for two quid anymore.
Stagecoach monopolised further, buying Bullocks in 2008 and by 2013, First Greater Manchester purchased Finglands.
Now we’ve had a brief history lesson in the bus market of Manchester let’s get back to the case at hand. Is it really the busiest bus route in Europe?
Well, we don’t know. And unfortunately, there’s no real way of finding out.
First of all, no one has defined the word ‘busy’ so we don’t actually know just how many buses qualifies as the ‘busiest’ bus route.
Secondly, the timetables just aren’t reliable enough meaning we can’t actually compare it to anything else. The buses on Wilmslow Road just fly around the route as fast as they possibly can. I’m assuming when they all get back to the depot at night, compete on how many times they did it that day in a weird little bus route tourney.
And finally, different points in the day, such as rush hour, and year, such as term time, are busier than 1 in the afternoon on a Sunday, for example.
We simply don’t know if it’s the busiest route. One things for sure though, it’s got the best characters and best stories.
Artist creates haunting post-apocalyptic images of Manchester
This is so spooky…
We’ve probably never been as close to an actual ‘apocalypse’ than this shoddy year…
James Chadderton is a British mixed-media artist who works consistently on creating apocalyptic landscapes.
They often show nightmare-inducing scenes of cityscapes that blend the line between reality and fiction.
James takes inspiration from dystopian films and video games, drawing the viewer into a crazy alternative reality.
Using famous Manchester landmark he turns the urban landscapes into haunting post-apocalyptic scenes.
Not only does it give us an insight into what the world might look like after an apocalypse, it gives you the chance to let your imagination run wild and wonder how and why.
James’ portfolio includes work for Manchester legend Peter Hook, who he designed the cover of his EP 1101/2011 for. He’s also even worked with EA on the Battlefield franchise.
His work has been displayed up and down the country but now you can have it in your very own home.
He’s also done images of London, Liverpool and even the iconic Blackpool tower.
You can see more images here and even buy one for your house!
What the stars of legendary ’90s show Gladiators are up to these days
Including prison, drugs and religion.
It’s been 20 years since the hit ’90s show Gladiators graced our screens for the last time, but where are all the muscly stars now?
The fun-filled show was packed with dramatic battles, HUUUUGE muscles and too-tight lycra.
Let’s begin with Michael Ahearne, aka Warrior, who started life as a junior England rugby player before joining the hit show and earning up to £100,000 a year.
In 1998 Ahearne was sent to prison for perverting the course of justice in a famous firearms case involved Phillip Glennon Jnr, an associate of former international cocaine baron Curtis ‘Cocky’ Warren. He was found guilty, and Ahearne served six months of his 15-month sentence.
Then in 2018, he was subject to a police raid of his home in the Wirral where officers uncovered a stash of anabolic steroids. He was arrested on suspicion of possessing Class C drugs with intent to supply but wasn’t charged in the end – however, Ahearne was charged for possessing CS spray and received a six month sentence suspended for 12 months.
Sharron Davies, otherwise known as Amazon, was a successful swimmer before the show, even winning a silver medal at the Moscow Olympics in 1980. She’s now a TV presenter.
Mike Van Wijk, aka Wolf, was one of the most popular Gladiators, starring on the show for seven years in which time he became the main villain.
He’s now 67 and in the ‘best shape of his life’ with arms bigger than my head – he lives in New Zealand and owns his own business called Wolf’s Gym. This year, he announced on Lorraine that he’s begging producers to bring the show back.
Diane Youdale, or Jet on the show, bowed out of the programme after four seasons due to a neck injury. She’s now a psychotherapist and pilates instructor.
James ‘Hunter’ Crossley started on the show when he was just 19, and ended up secretly dating the show’s presenter Ulrika Jonsson between 1996 and 1997. Since Gladiators ended he spent years pursuing an acting career, but has consistently kept up with fitness. He’s now a personal trainer.
Kim Betts, aka Lightning, was one of the toughest Gladiators. After bowing out of the Gladiator ring she took to property development and also has her own beauty parlour. She has maintained her physique and regularly posts gym photos on social media.
Michael Wilson, known as Cobra, struggled with drink while on the show and by his own admission was sometimes ‘bleeding drunk’ while on the show. He admitted last year to press that he ‘didn’t take it too seriously’, adding: “There were end of show parties, when we had international Gladiators come over, we would be up all night boozing.”
Now, he is a motivational speaker attending schools and clubs up and down the country. He suffered with pneumonia last year and became seriously ill, blaming the tough workouts on the show for it.
Jefferson ‘Shadow’ Kin found himself at the centre of a drug scandal in 1995. At the time he said: “There is no excuse for cheating. I was mixing with drugs before Gladiators and when I was tested during the show there were no traces of cocaine but they found steroids.”
He spent the best part of 20 years battling with drug addiction. He got clean and now works in a rehabilitation centre helping others with drug issues.
Mark Smith, aka Rhino’, has made multiple TV appearances including a stint on EastEnders and in shows such as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, and NCIS: Los Angeles.
Warren Furman, known as Ace, became most well-known for his two-year engagement to Katie Price – who was then known as Jordan – before they broke up in 1999. However, he turned his back on show business, found god and now lives in York with his wife and two kids.
Inside the Wigan home ‘frozen in the 1970s’ that’s on the market for the first time ever
This is ICONIC!
If you love the ’70s you’ll love this house that is going on the market for the first time, which will transport you to the decade of platforms, flares and shag pile carpet.
The family home in Wigan is thought to be going on the market for the first time ever, but inside is a ’70s lover’s dream.
Throughout the entire house is décor from the decade, including a retro orange sofa, plenty of frosted glass and shag carpets of course.
It’s three bedroom and is tucked away in Parbold on Croasdale Drive.
Estate Agent Regan and Hallworth say that ‘despite requiring extensive modernisation’ the house ‘has an undeniably timeless appeal’.
You’ll also find teak wood storage units in just about every room, and plenty of earth-toned accessories throughout.
There’s a huge copper fire place in the living room complimented by dark brown walls and a patterned ceiling.
The kitchen is covered with white cabinets with a wood trim, an unusual corner sink situation, plus a fitted microwave on the lower half of the cabinets.
The bathroom is covered in dark marble tiles and a frosted window above the bath, complimented by gold furnishing and trims on both the toilet and sink – plus a gold shower!
For all the quirky features the house is actually surprisingly minimalist, it’s bright and has a big open plan living room.
It’s also been designed with an upside-down layout meaning the bedrooms are on the ground floor while the living room is on the second floor, taking advantage of the views over the trees.
The house is located on a leafy lane and features a glass-front, extensive driveway space with a double garage and plenty of greenery to enjoy from your orange sofa.
Regan and Hallworth add: “We don’t believe that ‘Beech Hill’ has ever been on the open market before and offers an incredibly rare opportunity for a wide range of buyers to purchase a home of true distinction with tons of potential without having to pay the huge premium you normally expect to pay to live in one of West Lancashire’s most sought after locations.
“Available with the added benefit of no upward chain, early viewing is highly recommended.”
Offers are in excess of £400,000. Find out more info here.