Devolution agreement funds used to explore bus franchising options

 

Burnham to decide on franchising

 

Transport for Greater Manchester is pressing ahead with plans to introduce bus franchising in the Greater Manchester region with £11.5m set aside for 2018/19 to progress the plans.

It says that the funding will be utilised in order to prepare the business case for a franchising scheme alongside other options that could improve bus services in the Greater Manchester area.

Meanwhile, it says it will also seek advice on its plans from an independent auditor and conduct a public consultation on the franchising option. A public consultation on the assessment of franchising would then follow with a final report exploring its outcomes.

“Based on current proposals, the costs of these activities in 2018/19 are forecast to be circa £11.5m,” Richard Paver, treasurer to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, told council leaders and  mayor Andy Burnham.

He confirmed that Burnham has authorised the use of the conurbation’s ‘earnback’ funds to pay for the work. The earnback function was a feature of the devolution agreement the area struck with the government in 2014 and is worth £900m over 30 years (£30m a year, paid as a mix of capital and revenue).     

TfGM anticipates that Burnham will make a decision about whether to press ahead with franchising by the end of the year. In recent months he has talked robustly about introducing a “London-style” franchised system.

I get more complaints about the buses than anything else. Yes, we will be moving ahead with the powers we have with plans to re-regulate the buses

“I get more complaints about the buses than anything else,” Burnham said in December. “Yes, we will be moving ahead with the powers we have with plans to re-regulate the buses.

“We can have a regulated system like London. Their system is light years ahead of ours.”

 

This article appears in the latest issue of Passenger Transport.

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