Manchester to explore franchising options

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Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has confirmed that it intends to prepare an assessment of a proposed bus franchising scheme.

Announced on July 4, it is understood that the proposed scheme, as currently envisaged, looks to cover the whole of the GMCA area.

GMCA said it did not require the Secretary of State’s permission to carry out the assessment of the proposed scheme, because the scheme relates to the area of a mayoral combined authority. This follows the implementation of the Bus Services Act, with powers commencing on June 27, 2017.

The Bus Services Act 2017 provides the GMCA with powers to reform the bus market, such as implementing franchising or new types of partnership schemes.

The authority has directed Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) as the transport executive body for the area to assess the new bus reform options available under the act, including an assessment of the proposed scheme.

Michael Renshaw, Executive Director at Transport for Greater Manchester, said: “The Bus Services Act 2017 grants mayoral combined authorities new options to improve bus services for passengers. This notice states GMCA’s intention to explore these options and consider how we can best meet the needs of passengers.

“No decisions have yet been made regarding changes to the way the bus market in Greater Manchester is managed and future change would be subject to a public consultation.”

A report has also been produced on the handling of BSOG payments in Greater Manchester, which have been devolved to GMCA. The report recommended that authority be delegated to GMCA Treasurer, Richard Paver, to release the necessary funding for grant payments to TfGM. Authority would also be delegated to TfGM to make the necessary arrangements for payment grants.