ANDY BURNHAM has today outlined plans for an overhaul of Manchester’s public transport networks, saying they are currently ‘not good enough’.
Greater Manchester’s mayor says his main aim is to create a more integrated transport network similar to that of London’s.
This is will involve a simplified ticketing system, including London-style contactless payment to be introduced for Metrolink services.
Mr Burnham also hopes for all buses and trams to have the same livery the same way that all modes of transport have the same branding in the capital.
So what can we do about transport in GM? Today the Mayor announced plans to:
– Use new powers to improve buses
– Introduce contactless payment on Metrolink
– Ensure train operators do more to compensate commuters for poor service
– Establish a Mayor’s Strategic Transport Board
— Mayor Andy Burnham (@MayorofGM) December 13, 2017
He revealed his plans in a speech to transport bosses at an Urban Transport Group conference in Leeds this morning.
He aims to implement the changes within three years, saying that Transport is his main focus for 2018.
“Our trains are packed-out, clapped-out and over-priced. Our buses are over-priced and a confusing free-for-all. And our motorways are endlessly trapped in over-running roadworks.
“But the crux of the problem is not just that our separate transport modes are not good enough individually, it’s also that these inadequate modes cannot be integrated into one system.
“2018 will involve a lot of hard work. It will involve some difficult decisions. It will take time and won’t be solved overnight. But there has to be change and I will put in as many hours as need be to achieve that.”
Mr Burnham has long been frustrated with what he perceives as a lack of investment from Westminster, with the south-east receiving favourable transport funding.
He believes that this is the reason why Manchester is facing such issues with transport.
“In large parts of the North, people cannot rely on public transport to get them to work. They either have a poor service, a patchy service or no service at all,” the mayor added. “They are stuck in their cars on roads which are slowly seizing up.
“The unsustainable level of congestion on Northern roads is the result of governments of all colours over many decades failing to invest in the infrastructure and services we need.
“They have failed to create services across all modes which are affordable, integrated and accountable – in other words, a genuine alternative to the car.”
Mr Burnham also announced plans establish a Mayor’s Strategic Transport Board in his keynote speech today.
The goal of this is to boost cooperation between bosses of local bodies as well as private bus operators, Network Rail and Highways England.
This, in addition to incorporating buses and roads into the 24-hour Metrolink control room, will ensure that the respective operators and agencies can run together smoothly.
“We cannot continue to operate a transport system where different modes of transport are pulling in different directions, competing for the same passengers, and lacking accountability,” the Mayor added.
Mr Burnham hopes integration of the network will make using public transport easier and more appealing for commuters, reducing congestion on Manchester’s roads as a result.