Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has revealed major reform plans to the city’s bus network. In the biggest change to Manchester’s public transport in over thirty years, the city’s buses will be brought under public control with the aim of providing an easier-to-use, joined-up and expanded service for customers across the region.

The decision, which was back by nine of the city’s 10 councils, will see Manchester’s bus-system operate in a similar way to the scheme used in London, where bus operators bid for the opportunity to run services on a franchise basis. In turn, it’s suggested that ticket prices will come down, more routes will become available and tickets will be uniform and accepted across the city’s bus and tram networks. It’s also a move that hopes to increase public use of the city’s buses following a steady decrease in users since privatisation arrived in 1986 – something that has been further catalysed by the ongoing pandemic.

The franchise model – which will cost an estimated £135m – has been disputed by Stagecoach Group who have said they plan to submit an application for a judicial review of the decision later this year. In the meantime, Burnham’s plans to reshape Manchester’s bus network and create a more unified and streamlined service will move forward – with changes due to be rolled out in January 2023, January 2024 and January 2025, by which point, Manchester will be the only city outside of London with a regulated system.

Do you think bringing Manchester’s bus network back under public control is a good idea? Let us know in the comments section below.

Simon Bland
Published on:
Fri 26 Mar 2021