Greater Manchester’s transport leaders will be debating ways to deliver better, fairer and more consistent bus services at a series of party political conference fringe events.
The events have been organised by the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee.
Councillor Andrew Fender, Chair of the TfGM Committee, said: “The importance of bus services cannot be overstated. In Greater Manchester, around 80 per cent of public transport journeys are made by bus – a clear and considerable majority.
“They provide convenient ways of getting to work, to appointments and to local shops and attractions. Crucially, they are often the only way of getting around for some of the most vulnerable members of society.
“At a regional, economic level, they are great at delivering low carbon, congestion-busting mass transit. They do the essential, flexible joining up role and, as such, are an essential part of any successful urban transport system.
“But since the de-regulated, commercial bus market was introduced back in 1986, two weaknesses have developed: uneven quality standards and a lack of integration, particularly around fares and ticketing.
“So people in some parts of Greater Manchester are paying more per mile for a potentially poorer service than elsewhere simply because of where they live and who runs their local bus. It is crucial for that imbalance to be addressed if our bus network is going to achieve its full potential.”
At the Labour Party Conference fringe event on 1 October, Councillor Fender will be joined by Lilian Greenwood MP (Shadow Minister for Transport), Jonathan Reynolds MP (Stalybridge and Hyde) and Neil McInroy (Chief Executive, Centre for Local Economic Strategies).
Councillor Doreen Dickinson, Vice Chair of the TfGM Committee, said: “The events we’ve organised for the conferences give us the chance to make the case for more local oversight, in order for us to nurture a more co-ordinated and integrated transport network.
“We already work closely with bus operators, but we feel there is a central role for bodies like TfGM to act as the co-ordinator across all modes – in shaping service delivery and in bringing together data on passenger information in order to influence ticketing and fare policies more effectively.”
At the Conservative Party Conference fringe event, on 7 October, Cllr Dickinson will be joined by Graham Evans MP, Steven Norris and Neil McInroy.
The Liberal Democrat Party Conference fringe event, this Sunday, will involve two Greater Manchester MPs: Transport Select Committee member John Leech and Mark Hunter (Cheadle).