​Quality Bus Partnership - Code of Conduct


1.1. In accordance with GMITA policy, GMPTE have been working for some time with members of the Greater Manchester Bus Operators Association (GMBOA) to develop a bus partnership aimed at delivering higher and consistent standards of service, (e.g. punctuality and reliability) together with improvements to vehicle quality.

1.2. This partnership will take the form of a Code of Conduct. The Code establishes minimum service and vehicle standards (and targets for continuous improvement over time) and contains a number of operator commitments with respect to fare structures, driver training, uniform standards etc.

1.3. Bus operators who become signatories to the Code would enter into a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with GMPTE. The VPA would require the operator to adhere to the terms and conditions of the Code, which would be an appendix to the VPA, and would set the individual performance improvement targets for that operator.

1.4. Based on discussions with operators so far, (prioritised based on mileage operated and adherence with Code standards) it is believed that the majority of local bus operators will be willing to become code signatories and agree to performance and fleet improvement targets that exceed their current levels of performance.

1.5. The three main bus operators, Arriva, First and Stagecoach, have all confirmed that they will become code signatories, as have a number of the smaller operators. It should be noted not all operators have yet had opportunity to discuss the detail of the Code with GMPTE and discussions will continue over the coming months.

1.6. The Code of Conduct should drive up quality in four areas:-

  • the punctuality, reliability and regularity of bus services, by setting performance improvement targets for bus operators for both their timetabled and high frequency bus services;

  • passenger satisfaction with bus services, as a consequence of operators paying greater and more consistent attention to vehicle cleaning, provision of passenger information, driver attitude and through careful driving behaviour;

  • the speed of introduction of new vehicles; and

  • commitments from bus operators, including a guarantee to complete designated last journeys, a commitment to manage complaints and comments in a more consistent and robust manner and to act upon them in a timely manner and to treat passengers fairly and with dignity at all times.

1.7. The Code proposes that buses run by a Code partner should display an identifiable branding. The exact nature of this branding will be unveiled as part of the 'launch' of the Greater Manchester Bus Partnership and Code of Conduct. The principle that has been agreed is that it should be prominent but not detract from the operator's own livery and corporate identity. The branding will be designed so as to be applicable to vehicles, published information and marketing and promotional material.

1.8. The Code of Conduct is intended to be a live document that will continue to be relevant to improving the standards of bus service experienced by the travelling public of Greater Manchester. GMPTE and GMBOA will maintain regular and constructive dialogue over matters relating to the Code.

1.9. The Code of Conduct would be subject to an annual review with GMBOA to consider its effectiveness and any proposed changes. This review will draw on individual operator performance reviews held with GMPTE, and changes in legislation, guidance and best practice.

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