Transport Secretary launches ‘bus revolution’ by pledging to support local leaders to deliver better buses across the country
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Transport Secretary launches ‘bus revolution’ by pledging to support local leaders to deliver better buses across the country

  • Louise Haigh visits Greater Manchester on first official visit, vowing to help local leaders deliver better buses
  • Under the government’s plan, local transport authorities across the country will be empowered to take back control of buses
  • Transport Secretary to see first-hand how Greater Manchester’s Bee network has improved reliability and passenger numbers

Transport Secretary Louise Haigh will visit Greater Manchester today (11 July 2024) to launch the Government’s bus revolution, as she pledges to help every community take back control of buses through franchising or public ownership.

She will meet Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham to discuss how the region’s Bee network can be replicated across the country to deliver better services, increase passenger numbers and create opportunities in underserved areas.

The Minister for Transport is committed to creating and preserving vital bus routes across the country, ending the system of deregulation that has led to falling service levels. These plans will also end the postcode lottery for bus services by providing guarantees on local networks across the country.

Launched in September 2023 as England’s first bus franchise outside London, the integrated Bee Network has delivered increased passenger numbers and improved reliability to local bus services for local residents. Passenger numbers have already increased by 5% in the first franchise area, and revenue has followed.

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

The Transport Secretary will also hear directly about the challenges facing Greater Manchester on its journey towards franchising.

Greater Manchester has faced six years of difficulties in implementing local control of bus services due to unnecessary barriers. The government’s plan will remove these barriers so better quality buses can be introduced more quickly.

Transport Secretary Louise Haigh said:

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

Too often, passengers have to wait hours for buses that don’t arrive – and some have even been cut off completely.

Change starts now. This new government will give local leaders the tools they need to deliver better buses across the country.

Our plan will create and preserve 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 the benefits that the Bee Network is bringing to people across Greater Manchester. We will ensure that every community can benefit from the same advantages.

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

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said:

Well-integrated public transport is essential to unlocking growth and opportunity in our city region, improving the lives of our residents, supporting businesses and delivering better value for money.

The numbers speak for themselves: our Bee Network has more passengers than ever and offers better service to residents.

Greater Manchester has shown that our pioneering approach works and we look forward to working with government to put power back in 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 is delivered efficiently and on time, while giving local people back control of their buses, trams and trains.

Graham Vidler, CEO The Confederation of Passenger Transport said:

The industry fully supports the goals of growing the country’s vital bus network and improving the passenger experience.

We look forward to working hand in hand with the government to deliver changes that benefit passengers across the country and support faster progress into the future. UNITED KINGDOMThe climate goals of .