Transport Secretary kickstarts “bus revolution” as she promises to support local leaders to deliver better buses up and down the country

News / Thu 11th Jul 2024 at 08:40am

TRANSPORT Secretary Louise Haigh will visit Greater Manchester today [Thursday 11th July] to begin the Government’s bus revolution, as she pledges to support every community to take back control of buses through franchising or public ownership.

She will meet with the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, to discuss how the area’s Bee Network can be replicated across the country to deliver better services, grow passenger numbers and drive opportunity to under-served regions.

The Transport Secretary will pledge to create and save vital bus routes up and down the country, calling time on the failed system of deregulation that has seen service levels plummet. The plans will also bring an end to the postcode lottery of bus services by providing safeguards over local networks across the country.

Launched last September as the first bus franchise in England outside London, the integrated Bee Network has delivered for local people by growing passenger numbers and improving the reliability of local bus services. This has already seen passenger numbers grow by 5% in the first area to be franchised, with revenue following suit.

The Transport Secretary will see first-hand how the successes of the Bee Network can be replicated across the country, improving services and handing power back to local people.

The Transport Secretary will also hear directly the challenges faced by Greater Manchester during its franchising journey.

Greater Manchester endured a six-year slog to deliver local control of bus services due to unnecessary barriers. The Government’s plan will remove these barriers so better buses can be delivered faster.

Transport Secretary Louise Haigh said:

“Buses are the lifeblood of communities, but the system is broken.

“Too often, passengers are left waiting hours for buses that don’t turn up – and some have been cut off altogether.

“Change starts now. This new Government will give local leaders the tools they need to deliver better buses up and down the country.

“Our plan will create and save vital bus routes by giving every community the power to take back control of their bus services through franchising or public ownership.

“We are already seeing how the Bee Network is delivering for people across Greater Manchester – we will ensure every community can enjoy the same benefits.”

The Bee Network is also boosting Manchester’s Metrolink. In May, it recorded its busiest month in its 32-year history with 4.1 million passengers using the iconic yellow trams, higher than the previous record of 4 million set before the pandemic in 2019.

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said:

“Properly integrated public transport is the key to unlocking growth and opportunity across our city-region, improving the lives of our residents, supporting businesses and delivering greater value for money.

“The numbers speak for themselves – our Bee Network has more passengers than ever before and is providing a better service for residents.

“Greater Manchester has shown that our pioneering approach works and we look forward to working with the government to put power back into the hands of local communities.”

The bus plan is part of the new Government’s ambition to develop a long-term, national strategy for transport. This will ensure infrastructure can be delivered efficiently and on time while allowing local people to take back control of their buses, trams and trains.

Graham Vidler, CEO for The Confederation of Passenger Transport said:

“The industry stands fully behind the objectives of growing the nation’s vital bus network and improving passengers’ experiences.

“We look forward to working hand in hand with the government to deliver change which benefits passengers across the whole country and drives swifter progress towards the UK’s climate targets.”

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5 Comments for Transport Secretary kickstarts “bus revolution” as she promises to support local leaders to deliver better buses up and down the country:

2024-07-11 09:47:51

The car changed our societies and contributed to a massive increase in our standard of living. But has it reached saturation point? The traffic queues I see in both directions on first avenue suggest the answer is yes. So, for me, this is great news.

2024-07-11 09:53:47

Better buses. .. we need reliable buses with increased frequency and run on time.

2024-07-11 13:00:47

This will definitely be a good thing. Park and ride services to the town centre and retail park would be good. The buses in harlow are awful

Tony Treacher
2024-07-11 16:23:45

What would be nice, is for Harlow to get new buses, instead of all the run down, and worn out rolling stock, that we have now? The majority of the buses, are too big, to drive around the town, and are designed for distance routes, Essex County needs to step up, and force the bus company to comply with the mandate?

2024-07-13 06:24:48

With the type of town Harlow is , and the louts that live in it. I or any of my family would never use public transport, much safer in a car , especially of a night. Also most people that use buses are either oaps or non drivers , so would not stop amount of traffic on the roads.

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