Manchester franchising misses the fundamentals

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A Transport for Greater Manchester-owned Optare Versa hybrid, YJ11 ENU, operating on the recently withdrawn Metroshuttle town centre service in Bolton.

Asa retired town and transport planner, I might be expected to welcome mayor Andy Burnham’s announcement on March 25 that he will proceed with the franchising of the Greater Manchester bus network. Development cannot function without efficient transport, and so often it is necessary for public sector involvement to achieve the right outcomes. Yet I had mixed feelings about the news.

Yes, there are many things wrong with the Greater Manchester system, a lot of which are down to the disastrous decision by the then government to split the network into northern and southern parts, so that there is no conurbation-wide provider.

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