A MAJOR overhaul of transport, beginning in 2018, will be announced by the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham when he delivers a keynote speech today (Wednesday, December 13).
The Mayor will address the Urban Transport Group in Leeds, where he will outline his ambition to deliver a safe, reliable, affordable and fully integrated high capacity transport network, with customers at its heart.
In his speech, the Mayor is expected to say: “The public are telling me that things can’t carry on the way they are. Our trains are packed-out and clapped-out. Our buses are confusing and over-priced. And Northern cities don’t have the power to make sense of the chaos and integrate it all.
“The North has been treated as second-class over many years when it comes to transport investment, but that only tells part of the story. Our road, rail and bus services are not only poor individually, they can’t be properly integrated due to an inconsistent national policy framework in which they operate.
“We cannot have a transport system where different modes of transport operate completely independently from each other or, worse, actively competing and undermining each other as we have seen with bus operators and Metrolink.
“It lacks coherence, it’s confusing for passengers, and it doesn’t deliver for a growing 21st century city-region. It is time to bring some order to this chaos.”
In his speech, the Mayor is expected to outline plans to:
- Establish a Mayor’s Strategic Transport Board, which he will Chair with Sir Richard Leese. The board will be asked to provide regular updates on performance, monitor progress on improvements, and ensure decisions are made in a joined-up way.
- Make Greater Manchester the first city region to use new powers to improve bus services
- Introduce contactless bank card payment on Metrolink in late 2018
- Ensure train operators do more to compensate commuters for poor service
In Greater Manchester, work is already well under way to explore the new options available to mayoral combined authorities in the Bus Services Act 2017. Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) is currently preparing an assessment of a bus franchising scheme on behalf of Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA).
Earlier this year the Mayor announced the introduction of half-price bus tickets, and from January 1 2018, the introduction of half-price travel on Metrolink for 16 to 18-year-olds.
The speech comes after the Mayor commissioned TfGM to carry out a six-week Congestion Conversation with motorists, cyclists, pedestrians, and public transport users. More than 6,500 people responded with 91 per cent reporting that congestion has caused them increased stress and anxiety.