Future Transport Network - Greater Manchester first in UK to recommend franchising

  • Andy Burnham sets out his plan for a London-style integrated transport system for Greater Manchester: Our Network
  • Assessment into the future of bus market completed & recommends franchising
  • Our Pass to give free bus travel to 16-to-18 year olds
  • Contactless payment to be launched on Metrolink
  • New bike hire scheme launching in 2020
  • Ambition to take control of the local rail network: GM Rail

The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has today launched Our Network, his ten-year plan to create an integrated, modern and accessible public transport system.

The Mayor outlined the projects and policies he intends to implement to create a world-class public transport system for the people of Greater Manchester, accompanied by an animated map that shows how public transport connections across the city-region will grow and develop in four phases over the next decade.

Our Network will be an integrated, simple and convenient London-style transport system; allowing people to change easily between different modes of transport; with simple affordable ticketing and an aspiration to have a London-style cap across all modes; with orbital routes that allow people to travel around the city region, as well as in and out of the city centre. Cycling and walking and bus will be accessible and convenient for short journeys, with interchanges and transport hubs enabling people to easily transfer to tram or train for longer journeys.

Our Network will also be built on the principles already governing Metrolink: convenient; affordable; sustainable; accessible and accountable:

  • Convenient: Reliable and regular services.
  • Affordable: Integrated fares and ticketing across bus, rail, tram and bike hire.
  • Sustainable: Zero emissions and powered by renewable energy.
  • Accessible: Fully accessible to all residents both at stops and on transport modes.
  • Accountable: Run for the people of GM and locally accountable.

The Mayor announced a key milestone in Greater Manchester’s bus reform journey, as an assessment into the future of the city-region’s bus market has now been completed and recommends franchising as its preferred option.

The assessment will be considered by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority on Friday 28 June. The GMCA will decide whether to proceed with the scheme and approve the assessment for independent audit. If this is approved, an independent auditor will be appointed. Once the audit has been completed, the GMCA would then decide whether to proceed with a statutory public consultation on the assessment.

Greater Manchester is the first city-region seeking to make use of the new powers under the Bus Services Act 2017 and the first to test this legislation – so is leading the way nationally in this regard.

The Mayor also announced that as a part of the integrated transport system, contactless payment will launch shortly on Metrolink, a new bike hire scheme including electric bikes will be launched in 2020, expanded Park and Ride schemes at transport hubs and innovative partnerships with Google that will improve travel information and advice.

The Mayor also called on the government to devolve the required funding and powers, as recommended by the National Infrastructure Commission, to deliver the projects and close the gap in transport funding between the north and the south.

"Today I have launched Our Network, a vision for a cohesive and seamless single system that brings together all the different ways people travel in our city-region."

Andy Burnham

Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester said: “Our current public transport system is fragmented and unreliable, with often confusing ticketing and passenger information. A truly integrated transport network has the potential to transform Greater Manchester. By allowing people to easily and quickly move around our city-region we can unlock growth, cut congestion and air pollution and enable our residents to lead fulfilling and rewarding lives.

“That is why today I have launched Our Network, a vision for a cohesive and seamless single system that brings together all the different ways people travel in our city-region.

“An important part of this is reforming our bus market. We’ve reached a key milestone with the completion of the assessment into the future of Greater Manchester’s bus market, which recommends franchising as its preferred option and to be considered further by the GMCA. We’re the first city-region seeking to make use of the new powers under the Bus Services Act and the first to test this legislation – so are leading the way nationally in this regard.

“Other vital parts of our integrated transport network will include more trams, a new bike hire scheme, free bus travel for 16-to-18-year olds, contactless payment on Metrolink, expanded Park and Ride, pathfinder tram-train projects and setting out our ambition for GM Rail.

“To achieve our full transport ambition, Greater Manchester needs the infrastructure and the necessary political powers. For too long, central government has over promised and under delivered when it comes to the North. If the next government is serious about closing the North-South divide, a critical step forward will be empowering us with the necessary powers and funding to improve our transport. I will be making this case strongly in the next Spending Review on behalf of the people and businesses of Greater Manchester.”

Our People, Our Place, Our Network - click on the image to view a larger version.

Our network - the future of transport in Greater Manchester

Our Network Announcements


  • Assessment into the future of Greater Manchester’s bus market has been completed and recommends franchising as being its preferred option for further consideration.
  • Trial of Our Pass, free bus travel for the city-region’s 16-to-18-year olds launches in July for applications.


  • Contactless payment on Metrolink launching soon – this will allow payment by a contactless device up to daily cap.
  • Trafford Park Line extension to open in early 2020.
  • 27 new trams to be delivered with the first to arrive in early 2020.
  • Increased Park and Ride capacity, with nearly 1,000 new spaces by the end of 2020.
  • Exploring further expansion including completing the Airport Loop and to Port Salford and Middleton.


  • A new bike hire scheme to launch in Greater Manchester in 2020.


  • Launch of the Greater Manchester Rail Prospectus, which sets out our ambition for GM Rail.
  • Three tram-train pathfinder studies in conjunction with DfT: Oldham to Heywood; Manchester City Centre to Hale and Wilmslow to Manchester Airport via Styal.
  • Commitment to both HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail.

Integration and Accessibility

  • Building on our work with Google Maps to provide accessibility information for Metrolink –we will now be extending this to bus services.
  • Working with Google in an innovative trial to develop new traffic incident management, network performance and travel advice.
  • A new open data approach to enable third parties to develop products to help people travel around Greater Manchester.

Article Published: 24/06/2019 10:02 AM