Mayor Andy Burnham Has Taken The Decision To Bring GM Buses Under Public Control To Deliver Fair Fares And Put Passengers Before Private Profit


  • 35-years-ago Maggie Thatcher deregulated buses in Greater Manchester, promising ‘better services and lower fares’. Since then, hundreds of routes have been cut and passenger numbers have almost halved.
  • And in the last decade it’s got worst, as fares have more than doubled. There are currently more than 150 different types of ticket. A single bus journey can cost more than £4 in Greater Manchester, compared to £1.55 in London.
  • Greater Manchester Tories have opposed plans to put buses under public control, despite their own Government’s promise of a new bus strategy.
  • The Tory Mayoral candidate has vowed to stand-by the current failed system, and on Tuesday the Tory leader of Bolton Council became the only GM council leader to vote against bus reform.

Andy Burnham has pledged he will do everything in his power to deliver better buses and fair fares if he’s re-elected for a second term in May.

Today, at Ashton Interchange in Tameside, he outlined his vision for better buses that would see reliable, accessible services delivered alongside simpler fares and ticketing.

The Mayor’s vision for a sustainable integrated transport network contrasts with the plans of Greater Manchester Tories who have vowed to stick with the status quo. A system that since the 1980s has seen fares rise sharply, hundreds of routes cuts and passenger numbers more than half.

Before Covid the taxpayer was paying £100m a year for buses in Greater Manchester, including fuel duty rebate, concessionary fares and subsidised bus services; with very little say on the network that was being provided and diminishing returns for the funding that is put in.

The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said:

“This is a momentous day for public transport in Greater Manchester.  Supported by 9 of the 10 Leaders I have taken the decision to bring our buses under public control.

“I’m astonished that the Greater Manchester Conservatives have decided to support a failed system and the private operators who have made profits by cutting routes and increasing fares. The fact that the Tories are putting profit before passengers is a real dividing line in this Mayoral election.

“For more than 30 years we have seen a deteriorating bus system with passenger numbers falling sharply, fares doubling and too many of our communities being left isolated as private operators have cut services.

“The decision I have taken today begins the process of building a world-class integrated public transport system, linking our buses to Metrolink, single ticketing across bus and tram and daily caps on what you pay. This won’t happen overnight but is a significant step forward.

“I will stand by passengers and be their voice for better buses.”

In Greater Manchester 30% of our residents do not have access to a car while 75% of public transport journeys are made by bus. Andy’s ambition is to get buses right and integrated with the rest of the transport system.

Thousands of people have responded to two separate public consultations, with than 80% of people saying they support the introduction of the proposed bus franchising scheme.

Done right, it can unlock sustainable growth, access to jobs, homes and essential services as well as culture and leisure. It takes cars off the road, also reducing congestion for those who have to drive.

Editors’ Notes:

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