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London-style public transport set out for GM

The next steps to move Greater Manchester towards more affordable London-style public transport have been announced, while a review of the city-region’s paused Clean Air Zone is underway.


The next steps to move Greater Manchester towards more affordable London-style public transport have been announced, while a review of the city-region’s paused Clean Air Zone is underway.

Under Greater Manchester’s franchised bus network, to be phased in from 2023, single adult bus journeys will cost no more than £2, regardless of how many times passengers change buses on their journey.

The news comes after the decision to bring the city-region’s buses back under public control was given final approval by judicial review. Under the existing privatised system, single adult journeys can cost up to £4. In comparison, passengers in London can take unlimited bus journeys in one hour for £1.65.

Regulated bus services will first be introduced in Bolton, Wigan and parts of Salford and West Manchester from autumn 2023, with the rest of Greater Manchester following by the end of 2024.

“We now have a green light to deliver on our plans to deliver a London-style public transport system,” Mayor Andy Burnham stated. “We will make travelling by public transport more appealing, easier and, significantly, put our people before profits.”

Bee Network

Transformed bus services is a key pillar of Greater Manchester’s wider Bee Network vision, which aims to promote sustainable travel through improved connectivity, affordable public transport and active travel options, and support for the electrification of vehicles.

Subject to agreement with the government, the Bee Network will be supported by an initial £1.2 billion, five-year programme of investment. £438 million of this funding will be spent on improved buses, routes and services.

Clean Air Zone review

Meanwhile, decision makers have begun to review options for updating Greater Manchester’s Clean Air Plan. Under the original plan, charges for driving some higher polluting commercial vehicles had been due to begin from 30 May 2022, but that will now not happen.

Government withdrew the original legal direction in February requiring Greater Manchester to implement a charging category C Clean Air Zone, after concerns about financial hardship for local people and the availability of compliant vehicles were raised by the Mayor of Greater Manchester and Greater Manchester local authority leaders.

The Greater Manchester Air Quality Administration Committee is currently considering the scope of the options available for delivering a new plan by 1 July 2022 to bring harmful nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels within legal limits as soon as possible, and by 2026 at the lates 

Cllr Andrew Western, Greater Manchester clean air lead, said: “We want the people of Greater Manchester to participate in the conversation leading to the development of the new Clean Air Plan and the [Greater Manchester Air Quality Administration] Committee will discuss an approach to ensure that the new plan is informed by targeted engagement with stakeholder groups and vehicle owners.

“The negative impact of dirty air on the health of people in Greater Manchester is unacceptable. Greater Manchester remains committed to cleaning up the air our residents breathe,” he added.

Businesses are encouraged to sign up for updates at cleanairgm.com.

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