Bus fares across Greater Manchester will be capped at £2 a journey and £5 a day from September as Andy Burnham’s bus reform is brought forward.
The mayor first unveiled plans to bring Greater Manchester’s buses back under public control in March this year, with a promise to introduce the new fares in 2023 and 2024.
In his plans, he outlined that under the new proposed system, there will be 830 services run by 30 operators with 150 different ticket types across the region, including £1.50 ‘hopper’ fares, ten minute service routes, 2,000 more accessible bus stops and an increased number of evening and Sunday services.
However, it has been announced today that the cheaper fares will begin from September 2022, meaning passengers will pay no more than £2 for a journey and £5 for a whole day’s travel.
And while the initial plan was for a gradual roll-out across the region, passengers across the whole of Greater Manchester will now benefit at the same time.
The £5 fare will enable passengers to travel from when they buy the ticket until 3.59am the following day, and will be valid for use across various operators. Currently, a daily fare costs £6.40.
However, the maximum £2 for a single journey fare will only work for a single operator, with the London-style ‘Hopper’ fare unveiled in the first announcement currently on hold.
Andy Burnham told the Manchester Evening News: “The decision to bring forward the new lower flat fares for Greater Manchester is driven by the cost of living crisis and we just want to help people now. That’s why we’ve brought forward the plan.
“It’s simpler, it’s cheaper, it’s helping people when they need it. Myself and the ten leaders are doing this together, we’ve taken the decision to help the public when they most need it but also help long-term ambitions by building the Bee Network now.”
However, Burnham went on to explain that he cannot commit for the new fares to be in place forever, adding that there will be an annual review ‘as there are so many unknowns, including levels of Government funding and the return of passengers’.
He added: “But the best way we can collectively commit in the long term is if people use public transport now.”
These capped fares come as part of Burnham’s Bee Network vision, which will see Greater Manchester’s public transport system combine trains, trams and buses in an in-sync timetable.
Walking and cycling will also be integrated in an attempt to create a modern, sustainable, and accessible model for the people of Greater Manchester.