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Investing in Greater Manchester transport

Transport is an important part of life for everyone in Greater Manchester. It connects people with jobs, education, family and friends, it gets customers and suppliers to businesses and connects people with important public services.  The following information gives an overview of how revenue funding will be spent on transport over the next 12 months.

Who will manage transport and the revenue funding?

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) delivers the transport policies set by the Greater Manchester Mayor and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority. Our vision for 2040 is to have a city-region with world-class connections that support long-term, sustainable economic growth and access to opportunity for all.

To achieve this we want 50% of all journeys in Greater Manchester to be made on foot, by bike or using public transport by 2040. This will mean a million more sustainable journeys every day, enabling us to deliver a healthier, greener and more productive city-region without increasing motor vehicle traffic. We also work closely with a range of partners to address long-term strategic transport issues including congestion, air pollution and bus reform.

You can find out more about Greater Manchester’s long term plans to establish a fully integrated, high capacity transport network in the Greater Manchester Transport Strategy 2040 (external website).The strategy shows how we will make real progress towards the goals of the 2040 Transport Strategy over the next five years.

We also offer advice to Greater Manchester's ten planning authorities, advising them on the best way to improve land use and transport integration through plans and development proposals, explained within our Transport for Sustainable Communities (external website) guidance.

What is TfGM responsible for?

TfGM coordinates transport networks across the region, and we own Metrolink, the UK’s largest light rail network –which prior to the Coronavirus pandemic accommodated more than 45 million passenger journeys each year. The network is operated on TfGM’s behalf by KeolisAmey Metrolink (KAM).

We are responsible for the Metrolink network and both build and manage bus stations and transport interchanges across Greater Manchester. TfGM also coordinates the delivery of cycling and walking infrastructure across Greater Manchester.

Along with local authorities and Highways England, TfGM oversees the highways network to make travelling as safe and efficient as possible for all road users, including pedestrians, cyclists, buses, car users and freight.  

TfGM does not operate rail services in the region and the majority of bus services are currently operated by commercial operators. We do however coordinate closely with rail and bus operators and provide travel planning and timetable information for passengers, as well as promoting walking and cycling as safe and healthy commuting options.

TfGM is committed to making travel easier by delivering, coordinating and maintaining an integrated transport network for the people and businesses of Greater Manchester, working alongside the bus, tram and train operators who run the services.

TfGM Budget 2023/24

The Greater Manchester Transport revenue budget for 2023/24 is £304.649m. From this £79.221m is retained by GMCA to meet borrowing costs for ongoing investments in transport infrastructure and £225.428m is allocated to Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM). 

The table below shows the TfGM budget and planned expenditure for 2023/24 of £300.164m, which includes the £225.428m allocated by GMCA and other grant funding and income.

Transport for Greater Manchester Revenue Budget Item 2023/24 Budget £000

Concessionary Support


Bus Supported Services


Bus Capped Fare Schemes


Payment of Bus Services Operator Grant


Accessible Transport


Operational Costs


Capital scheme development costs


Bus Franchising costs


Metrolink net loss


Traffic Signal costs


Clean Air Plan costs


Other Financing


Total Expenditure


Revenue grant from GMCA to TfGM


Metrolink Financing costs


Other Grants


Financial Sustainability Plan with Department for Transport


Gross Income


The Bee Network

Over the next four years, significant investment in Greater Manchester will dramatically improve the public transport offer. GM’s move to bus franchising is a key enabler for delivering this transformational change. This all builds towards delivering the Bee Network, an integrated ‘London-style’ transport system, which will transform the way people travel across the city region.

By designing and delivering public transport, active travel and shared mobility services as one system with local accountability and aligned to national and local priorities, the Bee Network will transform the travelling experience and make sustainable, low carbon transport an attractive option for all.  It will support seamless end-to-end journeys within Greater Manchester and encourage more people to switch from car journeys to public transport and active travel.

On 30 March 2021, the Mayor made the Greater Manchester Franchising Scheme for Buses 2021 (“the Franchising Scheme”) and the GMCA published its response to the consultation together with the Mayor’s decision, as required by section 123G of the Transport Act 2000 and (on behalf of the Mayor) the Franchising Scheme itself. 

Greater Manchester is the first place in the UK outside of London to introduce bus franchising, bringing bus services under local control in the biggest change to public transport in the city region in over 30 years.

Implementation of the Bus Franchising Programme is now well under way, with Tranche 1, covering Wigan and Bolton, due to become operational in September 2023. The second tranche will be operational at the end of March 2024 and the third tranche will be operational by January 2025.


The main elements of the GMCA funding are the Transport Levy, the Statutory Charge and funding from the Mayoral General Budget including from the precept as it relates to Transport.  Following Transport Orders being laid in April 2019, the Mayor was given further powers for transport functions, which in relation to TfGM’s activities supports activities associated with delivery of Bus related activities.  An amount of £86.7 million was agreed as the cost of delivering these functions and this funding is raised via a statutory charge to Greater Manchester councils.  This was offset by a corresponding reduction in the Transport Levy, so overall funding was unchanged.  

GMCA Transport funding also includes other Mayoral functions and priorities, including the costs associated with updating and delivering the Local Transport Plan and the costs of Our Pass (the 16-18 Concessionary Travel Scheme). 

The Bee Network is being delivered against an exceptional set of financial challenges driven by patronage and revenue remaining below pre-pandemic levels combined with exceptional inflationary pressures on the transport network from increasing electricity, fuel and labour costs.  These challenges have impacted both the Metrolink and Bus networks.  To help address these financial challenges, emergency funding support for both Metrolink and bus was provided by central Government throughout the pandemic. However, emergency Metrolink funding expired in October 2022 whilst emergency Bus funding is due to expire in June 2023.

On that basis, TfGM have been in discussions with Department for Transport officials to secure a continuation of financial support for the Metrolink and Bus networks up to March 2025.  As part of these discussions TfGM has committed to a ‘Financial Sustainability Plan’ which sets out a set of initiatives that, alongside continuing central government financial support, will ensure the long-term financial sustainability of the transport network and provide the foundation for the continued delivery of the Bee Network. This plan included an increase to the Transport levy on Greater Manchester councils of £7.7m which together with a flat Statutory Charge to GM Districts of £86.7m is an overall increase of 4%.  


The Concessionary Reimbursement budget includes the cost of the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme and the local Concessionary scheme, including the 16-18 (Our Pass) concessionary travel scheme.

The Our Pass scheme provides free bus travel within Greater Manchester for 16-18 year olds and direct access to other opportunities in the region. The scheme is funded from a combination of Mayoral precept, reserves and other income. 

The supported bus network budget has come under further pressure in the current financial year as operators have withdrawn services. TfGM has replaced most of these services from autumn 2022, with funding from a combination of in year government funding and reserves. 

Capped bus fares were introduced in September 2022 (singles and daily fares) and January 2023 (weekly fares). The budgeted costs are an estimate of the costs to the end of ‘year one’ of the scheme which runs to 31 August 2023.  The single and daily fares caps are being funded from Bus Service Improvement Plan grant.

Net operational costs include the costs of operating and maintaining the TfGM owned bus stations, travel shops and other infrastructure, and the costs of support functions.  These costs are expected to increase by around £8 million for 2023/24, largely due to inflationary pressures, which will be offset by savings in TfGM operational costs.

Expenditure on scheme development costs support delivery of major transport programmes including those funded through City Region Sustainable Transport Scheme.

Expenditure on Bus Franchising will provide implementation and operation of the scheme with procurement of equipment, systems and associated services.  There will also be borrowing costs in relation to the purchase of land and property to provide bus depots.