Last month, I was delighted to hear that Transport for Greater Manchester had intervened to save over 60 bus routes and services linking communities across Greater Manchester.
Crucially, this means that the 7/7A route serving Heaton Chapel, Reddish and right through to Dane Bank will be saved. I know that this news came as a real relief to residents across Reddish and the Heatons who had got in touch with my office to express their concerns.
The bus routes had been earmarked for closure after national funding was due to end on the 4 of October. The local Labour team across the Heatons and Reddish worked exceptionally hard to prevent this closure from happening, with Cllr David Sedgwick launching a petition to highlight local strength of feeling. I have no doubt that work like this contributed to the decision to protect the 7/7A bus route.
With the 7/7A bus route saved, residents across Reddish and the Heatons can look forward to the full franchising of the Greater Manchester bus service. This plan, spearheaded by Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, starts next year. It means that prices can be capped, and services can be improved and better regulated.
I can’t wait for this pioneering work to get under way. For too long, people across Reddish and the Heatons have had to put up with a splintered bus network, where different providers charge different prices and operate unreliable services. We deserve to have a properly integrated and efficient system – and the franchising of the bus service will do just that. It is really transformative stuff.
So, I’d like to take a moment to thank local campaigners for working to save the 7/7A bus route, and I look forward to seeing Greater Manchester lead the way with our innovative public transport plan next year!