Greater Manchester becomes first major conurbation outside London to cap bus fares
- City-region to introduce reduced fares at the start of the first full week of September to ease transport costs as more than two thirds of households confirm money worries
- Move signifies biggest change to buses since 1980s deregulation
- Adults will pay no more than £2 for any single bus journey and children £1 – saving around 50 per cent on some trips – passengers will also be able to make unlimited journeys across all bus operators for no more than £5 (adult) or £2.50 (child) a day
- Move follows extension of Our Pass scheme that provides free bus travel to region’s 16 – 18-year-olds
Greater Manchester residents will be better off when travelling by bus from next month when new lower fares are launched.
The plan for lower, simpler fares has been brought forward a year by Mayor Andy Burnham and Greater Manchester’s leaders to help ease the current cost-of-living crisis.
It will save bus passengers around 50 per cent on some journeys and is the biggest change to Greater Manchester’s bus network since deregulation 36 years ago.
With dozens of different ticket types available and costs varying by operator, it will provide certainty over the cost of travel for more than two thirds of people in the city-region concerned about the cost-of-living crisis.
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “The introduction of lower, simpler fares across our bus network signifies the biggest shake-up of our bus system in close to 40 years and comes at a critical time.
“Hundreds of thousands of households across Greater Manchester are deeply worried about money, with fears of even higher bills just around the corner.
“As the most used form of public transport, with around 2.5million trips every week across the city-region, introducing lower fares for bus passengers is the best way we can help the most people with the cost of travel right now.
“Coupled with the extension of Our Pass, which provides free travel for 16 – 18-year-olds, we are taking steps to make an immediate and tangible difference to people’s lives by putting money back into their pockets.
“While this is the right thing to do, we cannot at this point guarantee that this new fare structure will be permanent. It will be reviewed annually. But the more that people use the buses, the more likely it is that we will be able to sustain it.”
From September, Greater Manchester’s new-look bus system will be supported by a package of local and national contributions. The move to lower fares is supported by Government funding through the Bus Service Improvement Plan. However, the ending of Covid-19 funding in October means the Mayor and GM leaders have had to step in to stabilise the city-region’s bus network by finding funding to save dozens of bus routes and services that were set to be withdrawn or reduced. £135 million of local funding has also been allocated to support the transition to bus franchising.
Given the considerable uncertainty over public transport funding going forward, the Mayor and Leaders have agreed to carry out an annual review of the new fare structure to ensure that it is financially sustainable.
Mayor Burnham added: “Bringing our buses back under public control is an essential step towards creating the Bee Network - our vision for a London-style integrated transport system. When fully operational in 2025, we will extend the daily cap on fares to cover bus and tram. But we will only be able to make the Bee Network what we all want it to be if people support public transport by committing to use it as it improves.
“That’s why I’m today urging everyone in Greater Manchester to Get On Board with this crucial journey for our city-region to a better transport system. You can help us build the Bee Network, keep fares permanently low and save yourself money at this difficult time by taking up this new offer.”
From 4 September, an adult single bus ticket within Greater Manchester will cost no more than £2, with a child ticket single set to cost no more than £1. All day travel in Greater Manchester across any bus operator will cost no more than £5 for an adult and £2.50 for a child.
Currently there are more than 25 single adult fares that cost more than £2 and over 30 single child fares that cost more than £1.
The lower fares will also be available to Local Link customers. Local Link offers a flexible transport service for local journeys in areas where public transport services are limited.
Cllr Amanda Chadderton, Oldham Council Leader and GMCA Lead for Equalities, Inclusion and Cohesion, said: “The impact the cost of living crisis is having on people’s finances can’t be underestimated. That’s why I’m thrilled to see these new lower fares being introduced to make a real difference to the cost of bus journeys across Greater Manchester.
“Coupled with the Metrolink that connects towns like Oldham to other parts of Greater Manchester we have a fantastic public transport network that I encourage people to take advantage of. These lower bus fares add even more value for money when times are tough for many.
“With energy prices set to increase even further this winter and the cost of everyday items continuing to rise our focus must be on continuing to make changes like this that will keep money in people’s pockets.”
To ensure that as many people as possible are aware of the new clear and simple low bus fares and how to take advantage of them, the Mayor today (Wednesday, 17 August) launched the #GetOnBoard campaign – and is calling on people across Greater Manchester to support the building of the new Bee Network by switching to public transport and helping make the new fare system financially sustainable in the long term.
Gary Nolan, Chief Executive of OneBus, the Greater Manchester Bus Operators Association, said: “Buses are relied upon by communities everywhere to get around.
“These new lower fares add to a range of value products already available from local bus companies and System One, and will not only help all those worried about household bills, they will boost bus use and help our operators that are also struggling with significantly higher running costs.
“This is good news for local bus companies and all who use them, and we are pleased to support it.”
Full details of the new low fares are available via tfgm.com/get-on-board or by searching for the #GetOnBoard hashtag on social media.
Article Published: 17/08/2022 09:09 AM