The following statement has been issued by the Greater Manchester Transport Committee:
As Chair and Vice Chairs of the Greater Manchester Transport Committee we urge the government to extend support for our bus and tram services so that the day-to-day lives of the people of Greater Manchester are not adversely impacted, particularly the least well-off and most vulnerable members of our society.
As reflected by the report published by the Urban Transport Group this week – and following discussions with local bus operators – we expect around one third of our bus services to be affected, with a wide-scale reduction in frequencies and around 30 routes withdrawn completely.
If this were to happen communities would be cut off. It would have a very significant impact on our economic recovery as a city region, and on our plans to be greener and fairer.
Public transport would be less reliable and appealing for those with a choice in how they travel and devastating for those who rely on it – which let us not forget includes a third of the residents in Greater Manchester – who do not have access to a car.
We are grateful for the support government has so far provided, which has enabled operators to maintain a core level of service to keep people connected with health services, jobs and education.
As the Transport Committee, we have been working for many years to build up and support local public transport services but there is significant risk that much of this hard work will be undone if funding is cut, or possibly removed altogether in just six weeks’ time.
The government has said it is bought into our transformative transport agenda, but that means nothing if we can’t maintain services at the current level.
We require around £30m to stabilise the bus market and around £40m for Metrolink for the next financial year – and are urging the government to commit to that funding as soon as possible.
Article Published: 18/02/2022 18:12 PM