Greater Manchester has commenced a major public consultation on how the city-region’s bus services should be run. The process, which runs until 8 January 2020, will include a series of local drop-in events in addition to online information at gmconsult.org.
The combined authority points out that currently individual bus companies decide the routes, timetables, fares and standards which it says means there is no coordination between bus services and other forms of public transport, and bus services across Greater Manchester are inconsistent.
Manchester mayor Andy Burnham believes a bus franchising scheme is the best way to meet Greater Manchester’s objectives and future vision for buses, including integrated bus and public transport network, simple fares and ticketing, an improved customer experience, and better value for money.
“We think that the proposed bus franchising scheme is the best way to deliver a joined-up public transport network with simple fares and ticketing and the improved customer experience that passengers in Greater Manchester deserve,” says a combined authority spokesperson. “We are leading the way as the first combined authority to make use of new legislation and ask people for their views on whether or not this scheme is the best way to improve their bus services.
“However, no decisions have been made yet, which is why we want to hear what people think. Anyone can take part in the consultation, there is no lower age limit. You don’t have to live in Greater Manchester or be a regular bus user. In fact, we would like to hear from people who don’t currently travel by bus.”
Following the public consultation, the authority will publish a report giving its response and the mayor will decide whether to implement the proposed franchising scheme.