Manchester

New Year decision on Greater Manchester's bus network

Manchester buses Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Bus operators have previously opposed a franchising model in Greater Manchester

A plan to take Greater Manchester's bus network back under public control could be given the green light next year.

A London-style system has been proposed which would see bus operators bidding to run services on a franchise basis.

The plans have now been put out for a three-month public consultation by Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

Re-regulating the network would result in a "massive" and "unnecessary" £134m cost to taxpayers, bus companies have warned.

Image caption Passengers have complained of long waits for buses while other routes are congested

Presently, routes, timetables and fares are set by individual bus companies.

But this means services can be inconsistent with bus firms vying for passengers on busy routes while other, less popular journeys are poorly served.

If it goes ahead, Greater Manchester would become the first city region outside London to take advantage of new powers to re-regulate its bus network.

'Bingo bus'

Mark Prest feels he is being taken for a ride over the 181 or 182 bus in Chadderton in Oldham which he catches for work.

Image caption Mark Prest waiting for a bus in Chadderton in Oldham

He said: "You never know when it is going to show up. Hence that is why I call it the bingo bus route.

"If it turns up, you have won the bingo."

Debbie Abrahams, Labour MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, told the BBC: "I had a constituent wait an hour and a quarter for a bus the other day - it is clearly unacceptable."

Deputy mayor Sir Richard Leese said the plans are "the best way to deliver a joined-up public transport network with simple fares and ticketing".

However bus companies have warned against the cost.

Image caption Gary Nolan warned against "spending money unnecessarily".

Gary Nolan, chief executive of OneBus, said: "People need to understand how much it is going to cost in the long run and whether it will improve things.

"Will things be better for that amount of money?"

Following the consultation, GMCA will publish a report giving its response.

The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, would then decide whether to implement the proposed franchising scheme.

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