A bus fare cap for single journeys and all-day travel will be introduced to Greater Manchester from 4 September in a move that has been welcomed by operators in the region.
Adults will pay no more than £2 and children no more than £1 for any single journey entirely within the conurbation that does not involve a change of buses. The initiative will also include a multi-operator AnyBus ticket for all day travel at £5 for adults and £2.50 for children. AnyBus tickets observe existing System One boundaries, which extend outside Greater Manchester in some cases.
The capped fares are being supported by Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) funding, for which Greater Manchester has been allocated £94.8m.
The Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) claims that the capped fares signify the biggest change to buses in the conurbation “since 1980s deregulation.” In July Mayor Andy Burnham first proposed early introduction of capping after frequently criticising the complexity of bus fares in Greater Manchester.
Before that, Mr Burnham had planned to begin introduction of lower fares in 2023 when reregulation of Manchester’s bus network commences, but GMCA says it is being brought forward to take account of pressures on the cost of living. The Combined Authority says the lower fares will “save bus passengers around 50% on the cost of some journeys.”
While the reduction of fares will be supported by BSIP money, an annual review of the scheme will be necessary given “considerable uncertainty over public transport funding going forward,” GMCA adds.
Mr Burnham underlines that “there is no guarantee that this new fare structure will be permanent” and he has called upon Greater Manchester residents to support public transport through a new #GetOnBoard campaign.
OneBus, which represents bus operators in Greater Manchester, has again welcomed the fare cap. Chief Executive Gary Nolan says it will “add to a range of value products already available from local bus companies and System One, and will not only help all those worried about household bills but will boost bus use and help our operators that are also struggling with significantly higher running costs.
“This is good news for local bus companies and all who use them. We are pleased to support it.”