There is an opportunity to re-regulate Greater Manchester’s chaotic bus system, which could lead to change across the North West.
Thirty years of bus deregulation has been an unmitigated failure. Fares, set by private bus companies, have risen by 35% more than inflation. Routes are decided by bus companies too, so there is no co-ordination of timetables. There is little integration of fares for services run by different companies, and no real-time information at bus stops.
All this could be about to change. Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, has powers to re-regulate bus services and he could take the opportunity to adopt a ‘franchise’ model. That would mean decisions about fares, routes and timetables would no longer be made by the bus companies. There would be greater public and democratic control over these important decisions, and the bus companies would simply be contracted to provide the services on our terms. It’s the system that they have in London and we should have it in the North West too.
There is likely to be opposition to bus re-regulation from the private bus companies, who fear that their profits will be cut. The prize of a re-regulated bus service would be so valuable to the people of Greater Manchester – and would likely influence what happens in Liverpool City Region and elsewhere – that it is important we play our part in pressing for the franchise model to be adopted.
That’s why we are part of the ‘Better Buses for Greater Manchester’ campaign which is being led by ‘We Own It’. The campaign aims to mobilise public support for a re-regulated bus system based on the franchise model.
Andy Burnham has previously made very positive statements about the need for radical improvement in bus services and the failings of a deregulated private sector model. We will be encouraging Andy to stick to those commitments and arguing that if we have to have privately-operated buses only the franchise model will do.
Learn more about the campaign and sign the petition: www.betterbusesgm.org.uk
Follow the campaign on twitter: @BetterBusesGM
To get involved contact Pascale Robinson: [email protected]gm.org.uk