Greater Manchester will cap bus fares at £2 (US$2.61) for adults and £1 for children as part of a shake-up of public transport in the UK city.
It follows a landmark ruling at the Royal Courts of Justice last week which sided with Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham over his plans to bring buses back under public control.
Two operators – Stagecoach and Rotala – had launched a legal challenge against the move, claiming the franchising proposal was flawed.
But a judge ruled the plan was lawful, meaning Greater Manchester will become the first city-region outside London where the local authority can set fares, timetables and services.
“The court ruling means we now have the green light to deliver on our plans to deliver a London-style public transport system,” said Burnham.
“We will make travelling by public transport more appealing, easier and, significantly, put our people before profits.
“Government has signalled its intention to support our ambitions many times over and we now need them to work in partnership with us, to help us turn our shared vision into a reality.”
The move would mean cheaper prices and more clarity for passengers, who currently travel on a bus system run by 30 operators with 150 different ticket types.
The city region has secured £135 million to fund the initial changeover, but the long-term vision which includes capped fares is dependent on the UK government delivering more than £1 billion as part of wide-ranging transport reform.
The plans are part of wider developments of the region’s Bee Network – an integrated transport system consisting of buses, trams, cycling and walking.
Vernon Everitt, Transport for London’s former Managing Director of Customers, Communication and Technology, has been appointed as Greater Manchester’s new transport commissioner and says the benefits of the network will be far-reaching.
“It is a privilege to be given the responsibility to help write the next chapter of Greater Manchester’s ambitious and truly transformational transport story,” said Everitt.
“The Bee Network vision sets out a compelling plan for better transport and I will bring all my experience to the table to ensure we deliver it.
“Our integrated transport network will unlock access to opportunity and public services, and drive reduced carbon emissions and improved wellbeing, benefitting everyone who lives, works or visits here. I look forward to working with the mayor, councils, transport operators and people across Greater Manchester to deliver a world class public transport system.”
Image: dracom (Flickr)
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