More than 90% of Mancunians want bus reform


A major poll of Mancunians has revealed an overwhelming desire for bus market reforms that mirror London's franchising model.

Of the 1,000 people surveyed, close to 90% felt 'local people should have a greater say on how and where bus services are provided'.

More than 90% wanted a similar system to London’s Oyster Card, where passengers have multi-modal smart ticketing.

The ComRes research, carried out for bus operator Abellio, also showed that 88% wanted all bus operators to 'use the same fare structure and the same proportion'.

Manchester is still operating under a deregulated bus market where companies can choose which their own routes and ticket prices.

Mayor Andy Burnham has announced plans to take Manchester’s bus network into public control and let the Greater Manchester Combined Authority decide routes and fares, then put contracts out to tender under a franchise system.

Abellio, which has profited in London under franchising, has thrown its support behind the mayor's plans.

Alan Pilbeam, deputy managing director and chief operating officer of Abellio, said: 'This research clearly demonstrates the people of Greater Manchester want to see a change to the way their public transport system is delivered. People rightly believe that bus operators have a social responsibility towards the communities they serve.

'We did this research because we wanted to know what the residents of Manchester want from their public bus system. Despite 94% saying they lived within ten minutes of a bus stop, only half of respondents use a bus at least once a month and only half feel they can get to the places they need. One in two people think that current bus fares are too complicated and services are too unreliable.

'We know a franchising model works successfully in London, and it can be a success in Greater Manchester as well.”

Henri Murison, director of Northern Powerhouse Partnership, added: 'The Mayor of Greater Manchester commissioned a review, which shows the clear case for bus franchising, which will give the public sector the ability to drive use of the bus network by improving the routes served and making fares fairer, which is very much in line with the findings of this research.'

Darren Shirley, chief executive of Campaign for Better Transport, said: 'The people of Manchester clearly want simpler fares and better integration between buses, trains and trams, which would go a long way towards improving public transport across the city.'

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