Manchester launches bus franchising consultation

 

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has launched a consultation on its bus franchising plans to coordinate the routes, timetables, fares and standards of the network and contract bus companies to run services.

Currently individual bus companies decide these matters and there is no coordination between bus services and other forms of public transport.

GMCA is the first city-region in the UK to launch a public consultation on a proposed bus franchising scheme enabled by the Bus Services Act 2017.

Deputy mayor Sir Richard Leese said: '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.

'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.

'It’s not just bus passengers who could stand to gain. Our assessment shows that, if introduced, bus franchising could have wide-ranging economic benefits over the long-term.'

The consultation runs until midnight Wednesday 8 January 2020.

The proposed bus franchising scheme was developed as part of an assessment, which found it was the 'best option to deliver a joined-up integrated bus and public transport network, with simple fares and ticketing, and better value for money', GMCA said.

The government has suggested it could support the move with revenue funding, which could offset any local contribution – including any requirement from the council tax/Mayoral precept.

Following the public consultation, GMCA will publish a report giving its response. The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, would then decide whether to implement the proposed franchising scheme.

A series of drop-in events are being held across Greater Manchester and people can find out more and give their views at gmconsult.org as well as by email or writing to a freepost address.

Responses can be made online at gmconsult.org (online survey or downloadable questionnaire).

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