About the consultation

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), on behalf of the Mayor of Greater Manchester and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), is changing the way buses are run in Greater Manchester. Instead of the current ‘deregulated’ system, where local services are provided commercially by bus operators who decide which routes and timetables to provide, between September 2023 and January 2025 most buses services in Greater Manchester will start to be run under a system called bus franchising. Under franchising, TfGM on behalf of the GMCA will commission bus services and coordinate the bus network in Greater Manchester.

A small number of existing bus services in Greater Manchester (mostly cross boundary services that run into and out of neighbouring local authority areas) will not form part of the franchised services. Once bus franchising goes live, any current or proposed local bus services that are not part of the franchised network (or are otherwise exempted) will require a Service Permit if they are to operate within Greater Manchester.

A franchising authority must grant a bus operator a Service Permit if they are satisfied that the operator’s proposed service meets the following statutory tests:  

  • the proposed service will benefit persons making journeys on local services in the area to which the franchising scheme relates; and
  • the proposed service will not have an adverse effect on any local service that is provided under a local service (franchised) contract in the area to which the franchising scheme relates.

However, they must not grant a permit if these requirements are not met.

Franchising authorities are able to attach conditions to service permits, which operators must comply with.

Purpose of this consultation 

This consultation is the statutory consultation under the Franchising Schemes (Service Permits) (England) Regulations 2018 (the Regulations). It sets out and seeks your views on the proposed Service Permit process.

It is also the statutory consultation required by section 123R (5) of the Transport Act 2000. It sets out and seeks your views on the proposed conditions that the franchising authority may attach to a service permit.

Give your views

This consultation seeks views on the proposed service permit process and types of conditions the franchising authority may seek to attach to Service Permits.

Whilst the consultation is particularly relevant for operators providing, or intending to provide, bus services in Greater Manchester and neighbouring Local Transport Authorities, this is an open consultation, and we would welcome the views of any interested individuals or organisations.

Both documents should be considered when responding to this consultation.

Click here to take part in the consultation.

Please give us your views by Tuesday 28th March.