Andy Burnham
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham: "We need to get this plan right"

Burnham launches plan to tackle transport

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham will today announce an overhaul of transport to begin in 2018, with contactless payment and a review of bus franchising the key aims.

Burnham is to address the Urban Transport Group in Leeds, the group made up of the country’s key metropolitan transport bodies, including Merseytravel and Transport for Greater Manchester.

He is expected to say: “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

TfGM is currently preparing an assessment of a bus franchising scheme on behalf of Greater Manchester Combined Authority, exploring options made available to mayoral combined authorities in the Bus Services Act 2017.

Earlier this year the Mayor announced the introduction of half-price bus tickets, and from 1 January 2018, the introduction of half-price travel on Metrolink for 16 to 18-year-olds.

TfGM has also carried out a six-week Congestion Conversation with motorists, cyclists, pedestrians, and public transport users. Almost 9,000 people responded with 91 per cent reporting that congestion has caused them increased stress and anxiety.

Transport for West Midlands, North East Combined Authority, South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive, Transport for London and West Yorkshire Combined Authority make up the UTG along with the North West organisations.

The group’s associate members are Bristol and the West of England Partnership, Nottingham City Council, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport and Tees Valley Combined Authority.

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What’s meant by ‘Introduce contactless bank card payment on Metrolink in late 2018’?
You can already pay at the ticket machines using contactless bank cards.

By Aaron

I have had visitors, from parts of North America, NOT really known for their good public transport, who comment on how POOR & DEAR ours in Greater Manchester is…We are about 1.5 miles from Manchester City Centre, with ONE bus an hour from about 7pm-11pm …..London would never put up with such a poor service and does NOT have to because more money is PUMPED in to the bloated capital.

By Schwyz

All this proves is that Burnham is clueless about transport. Using extra regulatory powers will be a massive waste of time and money. The biggest single issue holding PT growth back is not lack of regulation, it is traffic congestion.

Don’t take my word for it, it’s explained in this influential transport blog:

By Noam

Another city-mayor who is well-intentioned but sadly a lightweight. Everybody knows that what Manchester City Council wants it gets – Burnham kidding himself if he thinks he will break that cycle. He wants to be looking at the amount of flats for investment in Manchester city centre, a bubble waiting to burst. Where is the good quality family housing or supply of starter homes?

By John Smith

waiting 13 minutes between trams at peak commuter times is ridiculous! The amount of people on the trams is well beyond capacity. Not an issue waiting for the next one when its 2 minutes away! but 10+ minutes is a joke!

By Really

Give Burnham a break! It’s not his fault that London gets everything, or that our public transport in Greater Manchester is like the third world (Pacers, anyone?) But at least he is doing something about it within the constraints of money and legislation. And if bus regulatory powers are such a waste of time, then why does Greater London have them and use them??? Eh???

By Peter Black

BTW, I had a look at the blog suggested below. It doesn’t say anything about re-regulation, but seems to be a bus spotter getting excited about a snazzy one-off interurban bus – which isn’t much use for the rest of us who have to use Stagecoaches desperate rust-buckets. Cant see the private sector free for all providing me with leather seats between Marple and Stockport any time soon.

By Peter Black

It is all down to money.There is no point in anything unless there are the resources to back it up.There is no hope of the necessary cash coming from the Southern government,not now not ever.

By Elephant

Aaron, I presume the contactless cards point is about replicating what they have on the London Underground, whereby you tap your bank card on the reader at the start of the journey, and tap it again at your destination station, and the cost of the journey is automatically calculated and deducted from your card. I must admit this would be a benefit. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve missed a tram whilst waiting to buy a ticket at the machine.

By KeithH

On Bury Met station the ticket machines replicate the London Underground.That is the Underground in 1980.

By Elephant