The Problem

  • Buses outside London were deregulated through the Transport Act 1985, aimed at creating competition that would improve services and reduce fares.
  • The reality has been different, with deregulation creating gaps where bus companies decline to run less profitable but needed routes, while they make huge profits on the most popular journeys.
  • As a consequence, bus firms have paid shareholders £1.5bn in dividends over the last 10 years, while fares have risen 55%. Journey numbers have fallen by 40% in urban areas since deregulation.
  • Buses remain the most used form of public transport, particularly for people on lower incomes, but while the regulated network in London flourishes (with prices capped at £1.50 and services cross-subsidised as appropriate), Oldham residents do not get the service they need and deserve.
Transport facts
Transport facts

Policy Context

  • The Bus Services Act 2017 gave the GMCA (and other mayoral authorities) powers to reform the local bus market.
  • GMCA are using these powers to consider bus franchising as part of an integrated transport system. Franchising will allow GMCA to control bus routes and fares in GM.
  • Transport for Greater Manchester have recently completed an assessment, and this supports the proposals for bus franchising.
  • If independent auditors support the assessment it will go to public consultation, following which a further report will be brought to the GMCA before a final decision is taken by the GM Mayor, Andy Burnham.
  • Franchising is likely to resisted by operators.
Bus journeys in GM
Bus journeys in GM

Campaign Actions

  • Holding community forums with residents, particularly in areas that are reliant on bus services, to understand and highlight their experience under the current model.
  • Working with Better Buses GM to make the case for significant change, challenging the GM Mayor to put the needs to residents first when taking a final decision on franchising.
Elderly and disabled bus journeys in GM
Elderly and disabled bus journeys in GM
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