Last year the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, pledged to bring the city’s bus network back into public control.
Bus networks outside of London have been deregulated for over 30 years. This has led to price increases, unreliable services, and a really disjointed public transport infrastructure. The mayor’s reforms would change all that.
His plans were not received without pushback, however. Bus operators took the Greater Manchester Combined Authority to the High Court over the pledge and claimed that the process had been flawed.
Last week, it was revealed that the challenge had been defeated, and that the mayor was therefore well within his rights to bring buses back under public control.
This is transformative stuff and will have a huge impact on people’s lives across the city. When I go down to Westminster every week, I can jump on a bus for under £2, make unlimited journeys within the hour, and do it all with the Oyster Card.
In Greater Manchester, different routes are run by different providers. You’ve got more than 830 services, run by 30 operators with 150 different ticket types. This is ludicrous, expensive, and means you can never rely on a bus to be where you want it when you need it.
People in Greater Manchester deserve the same level of public transport infrastructure as people in London. The mayor’s reforms will allow local leaders to have control over timetables, fares and ticketing.
On Monday, the mayor announced a blueprint for how the new system will work. The new charging system will cap adult fares for a single journey at £2, while children will pay no more than £1. Crucially, the £2 ticket will function in the same way as the London ‘hopper’ – meaning the same ticket can be used for unlimited journeys within 60 minutes. By 2024, it is thought that the whole of Greater Manchester will be covered by the new bus service.
I have long supported the mayor’s plans, and I know that they will make a huge difference to communities right across Tameside.
For too long, Greater Manchester has been left with an outdated system of public transport, and we’re now taking action to make that a thing of the past. I’m really excited for what this will mean for local connectivity and look forward to my first trip on our brand new bus service!