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March 06 2019
By Tim Deakin

Tim is Editor of routeone and has worked in both the coach and bus and haulage industries.

Operators round on Burnham's proposed GM CAZ

£100 charge proposed for non-compliant coaches and buses from 2021 draws scorn from the industry

Operators in Greater Manchester have rounded on the proposed CAZ

Operators in Greater Manchester have roundly criticised Mayor Andy Burnham’s proposed Clean Air Zone (CAZ) for the whole region that, if approved, will see non-Euro 6 coaches and buses charged £100 to enter from 2021.

As proposed, no charge will be levied on cars, a point that has drawn criticism from the area’s two largest bus operators and OneBus, which represents all bus companies in the region.

Under the proposed scheme, so far undisclosed exemptions will apply that are to be developed by consultation.

‘A stealth tax’

It is planned that £29m will help coach and bus operators to upgrade their fleets to satisfy the CAZ. Additionally, loans “at preferential rates” will assist operators who take advantage of clean vehicle monies.

Stagecoach Manchester called the proposed CAZ “a stealth tax on bus passengers,” saying that it will do little to address air quality issues. It has urged customers to challenge the proposal with councillors, MPs and Mr Burnham.

First Manchester also described the daily charge as “taxation.” MD Ian Humphreys adds: “It is not helpful. It is an added burden on those who will ultimately pay and may not be able to afford it – especially those in the more deprived communities that we serve.”

Mr Humphreys adds that bus users “should be encouraged and rewarded for their choice of travel mode, rather than being penalised. They are contributing to improving our environment.”

Just 6% NOx

OneBus Chief Executive Gary Nolan has rounded on Mr Burnham’s decision to exempt cars. He points out that more than 1.14m cars were licenced in Greater Manchester at the end of 2017, over one third of which were diesel-fuelled. He adds that action would be better taken to tackle congestion in the region.

Coaches and buses currently account for just 6% of NOx in Greater Manchester. OneBus recently launched a £100m partnership blueprint to revolutionise the area’s bus network, including 450 new buses over the next three years.

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