Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) will launch what it says is the North West’s first guided busway at the weekend.
The 4.5-mile bus-only guideway between Leigh,Tyldesley and Ellenbrook will open on Sunday.
TfGM said the new busway forms the flagship element of its £122m bus priority investment, which will provide more punctual and more reliable bus services across the region.
Cllr Andrew Fender, chair of the TfGM committee, said: ‘By prioritising buses we not only make journey times quicker, more reliable and more attractive for passengers, we also help to tackle congestion and reduce emissions.
‘Completion of the busway is a major technical achievement and our investment promises a significant boost for all the communities it serves, helping people reach key employment, healthcare, and retail and leisure facilities more easily than ever.
'With the work now finished in these areas, our engineers are turning their attention to the last piece of the bus priority jigsaw in Manchester city centre.’
A fleet of 20 specially built hybrid buses operated by First Manchester under the brand Vantage will connect Leigh, Atherton and Manchester in as little as 50 minutes, cutting journey times by up to half an hour.
Seven purpose-built stops along the busway will have real-time travel information display boards, CCTV, a public address system and covered cycle parking.
Services will start as early as 4am and run beyond midnight, with up to eight buses an hour between Tyldesley and Manchester.
The busway consists of what TfGM has described as a ‘unique concrete track’, alongside which runs a specially surfaced shared path which can be used by walkers, cyclists and horse riders.
The scheme also includes three new park and ride facilities, catering for more than 400 cars in total.