Last week, Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham announced that the region’s buses will be returned to local authority regulation.
But similarly to London’s transport system, buses will continue to be operated by private companies.
However the reform will give local authorities complete control of fares, routes and scheduling.
The power to re-regulate was passed by an act of 2017. As early as January 2018 Burnham was saying, “Buses are going to change in Greater Manchester—no doubt.”
Three years later some change is coming—although not for some time. The first services are planned in 2023 for Wigan and Bolton. And all routes will be under the city’s control by 2025, Burnham said.
Privatised bus firms are angry. Stagecoach has applied for a judicial review of the proposals.
Burnham’s plans falls short of councils establishing their own publicly-owned bus companies. Though no longer allowed by government, councils should fight for it.