Greater Manchester is set to become the first city-region in the UK to hold a public consultation on the introduction of a bus franchising scheme.
Using powers available under the Bus Services Act 2017, Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) on Monday gave the go-ahead for a public consultation into how the buses should be run in Greater Manchester.
Bus franchising, which is currently in place in London, would mean that Greater Manchester would be responsible for coordinating the bus network and contracting bus companies to run the services.
‘Buses are an important part of the ‘Our Network’ ambition to create a modern and accessible public transport system for Greater Manchester, one which brings together different modes of transport into a joined-up, easy-to-use system with seamless connections, simple ticketing and an aspiration for capped fares,’ said GMCA vice chair, Cllr Brenda Warrington.
‘We want to give people the real choice to leave their cars at home, reduce the number of vehicles on our roads and their harmful emissions, so we have cleaner, greener neighbourhoods.
‘This consultation will give everyone the opportunity to have their say on how the bus services are run, and we’re interested in hearing from as many people and organisations as possible.’
An assessment prepared by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) compared the proposed franchising scheme with other options, including new partnerships with the bus companies or leaving bus services as they are now.
It found that the proposed franchising scheme would be the best way to deliver a joined-up integrated bus and public transport network, and simple fares and ticketing.