MALCOLM COWTAN visits Manchester to test out Go North West and Diamond North West’s bus services, after their respective takeovers of First operations in the city region

Diamond Wright StreetDeck 40700 (SK17 HHC), an ex-demonstrator, serving on service 8 between Bolton and Manchester.

Much has been written about the proposals to franchise bus services in Greater Manchester. Mayor Andy Burnham persuasively argues that a utopia of cheap bus fares, integrated ticketing, and much else will result, and comparisons with London are drawn. The counter arguments pointto the success in various parts of the country, of a partnership approach, not least in neighbouring Merseyside, and point out the much higher contribution from the public purse to give Londoners their network. If franchising goes ahead in Manchester, the process will be looked at with great interest by other authorities considering this course of action.

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