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Doing Buses Differently

Buses are at the heart of Greater Manchester’s public transport network. Currently – both before and during the pandemic – 75% of all public transport journeys are by bus. They are a critical link for many people – especially for those who don’t have access to a car – to access jobs, education and essential services.

Greater Manchester’s ambition is for buses to be a part of Our Network, our ten-year plan for a truly integrated public transport system to make getting around the city-region easy, accessible and affordable.

Currently, the bus companies decide the routes, frequencies, fares and standards. There is no coordination and limited oversight. Where bus companies decide not to run services, the public sector where necessary pays to fill in the gaps.

Between October 2019 and January 2020, Greater Manchester held a consultation on a proposed franchising scheme for the city-region’s buses. Franchising means bus services would be brought under local control. Greater Manchester Combined Authority would coordinate the bus network based on what services passengers need and would also coordinate investment in the bus network; with operators contracted by GMCA to run the services.

Over 8,500 responses were received, with four-out-of-five respondents supporting the proposed franchising scheme. You can read the consultation documents here.

In June 2020, GMCA noted the results of the consultation and asked TfGM to consider what impact the Covid-19 pandemic may have on the bus market and the proposed franchising scheme before any final decision is made.

The Covid Impact Report was published in November 2020 and GMCA held a further consultation on the report between Wednesday 8 December 2020 and Friday 29 January 2021

Ipsos MORI is now analysing the responses and developing a consultation feedback report, which will be published alongside the GMCA’s response to the consultation.

Taking into consideration the results of both this and the previous consultation and the findings of the assessment, the Mayor of Greater Manchester will then make a decision as to whether to introduce the proposed franchising scheme, later in 2021.

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