Just the ticket Bus services return to public control

MPs Andrew Gwynne and Jonathan Reynolds, both heavily involved in the Campaign for Better Buses, are confident passengers will get a better deal when Greater Manchester services are taken back under public control.

Greater Manchester will become the only authority outside London to have fully regulated bus services after Andy Burnham decided to exercise his mayoral power.

However, passengers in Tameside will have to be patient as the phased changes will be rolled out last in Tameside in 2025.

Mr Reynolds, MP for Stalybridge and Hyde, even raised the plight of local passengers in Parliament.

He said: “I’m absolutely delighted that Andy Burnham has announced Greater Manchester will take back control of its bus services.

“I have been calling for this for years, having been instrumental in the introduction of the Buses Bill which created these powers four years ago.

“Local Labour councillors have also been persistent in calling for better buses. This decision is great news for current bus users and hopefully will tempt others to use local buses more in future.

“No more finding out that routes are being cancelled without consultation, no more mismatched disjointed fares, no more excluding the public from decision making.

“It is brilliant to see Greater Manchester using its devolved powers to make brave and bold changes like this.”

Mr Gwynne, MP for Denton and Reddish, concurred, adding: “Andy Burnham has absolutely made the right decision for Tameside and Stockport.

“We’ve been taken for a ride by the privateers since 1986 when de-regulation was introduced by the Thatcher Government.

“We now pay more for a diminishing, poorer, fragmented service. Little wonder patronage has fallen over the past three decades.

“After 35 years of failed bus deregulation, the ‘free market’ is coming to an end. Buses will be brought back under public control as part of a fully integrated public transport network, with single ticketing and capped fares.

“It’s what Londoners have and it works. Now let’s make it happen here in Greater Manchester.”

The regulated franchises will be introduced over a three-year period between 2023 and 2025 given the massive scale of the operation.

Wigan, Bolton and Bury will be first in 2023, followed by Rochdale and Oldham in 2024 and finally Tameside, Stockport and Trafford in 2025.

“Taking bus services from privatisation to a single franchise network would be too big a change to do overnight,” explained Mr Gwynne.

He added that unless you have been to London and witnessed overland rail services, tube, buses, Docklands Light Railway and water taxis integrated into one cohesive transport network, it is difficult to picture how effectively it work.

Mr Gwynne also believes travellers will get far better value for money paying less for enhanced services.

He said: “There is a maximum fare of £1.90 for a journey set against £4 in Greater Manchester which is more than double.

“There is a daily cap of £10 in London whereas here that isn’t the case when you move between different bus operators.

“You have an Oyster card with a capped fare in London and think nothing of starting a journey by overground rail, switch to the underground and then do the final bit of your journey by bus.

“It is integrated and seamless and that is what we will have in Greater Manchester where trains, trams and buses are not integrated and don’t work for the public.”

Mr Gwynne added de-regulation was dictated by market forces as unprofitable routes were cut overnight with subsidies then having to be given bus companies to keep non-profit making routes open.

He pointed out by taking routes back into public control means profit-making services will subsidise those which are losing money.

Mr Gwynne has long lobbied for change after receiving complaints from constituents.

One of the most recent when Stagecoach decided to halt the 205 service at Dane Bank when it usually terminated in the town centre.

Ideally Mr Gwynne would like bus services reintroduced to estates and they would feed into town centres for the rail, tram and bus networks.

While transport services feed into Manchester, Mr Gwynne would welcome the return of an orbital service similar to the former 400 service which went from Bolton to Bury, Rochdale, Oldham, Ashton, Stockport and Manchester Airport, pointing out the only means of orbital travel is for motorists on the M60.

One Reply to “Just the ticket Bus services return to public control”

  1. “There is a daily cap of £10 in London whereas here that isn’t the case when you move between different bus operators.”
    Actually I think you will find that there is a range of multi-operator tickets in Greater Manchester under the System One / Get Me There brand:
    – Anybus all day = £6
    – Anybus and tram = £9 all day, £7.50 off peak
    – Anybus, tram and train = £10 off peak
    So one is the same price as London and the others are cheaper, the peak pricing only comes in with the tram which is already in the hands of TfGM – does this mean we will have peak and off peak pricing on buses under franchising?

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