Doing Buses Differently - Greater Manchester consultation notice

At its meeting on the 7 October 2019 the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (“the Authority”) authorised the publication of this Notice relating to a proposed bus franchising scheme (“the Proposed Scheme”), and decided to undertake a consultation about it, in accordance with section 123E of the Transport Act 2000 (as amended) (“the Act”).The Proposed Scheme would cover the whole of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority Area, which includes the districts of Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan (“the Area”). The Proposed Scheme identifies the local bus services the Authority proposes to provide under local service contracts which will give the person awarded the contract the right to operate the services to which the contract relates. The intention is that all bus services that are being run within, and into, Greater Manchester when the scheme is made will, with certain exceptions, be provided under such contracts. Those bus services now proposed to be provided under such contracts are listed in Annexes 1 and 2 of the Proposed Scheme.

For the purposes of transition, the Area would be split into three-sub areas, A, B and C (shown on the map below). The Authority proposes to enter into local service contracts in respect of these sub-areas at different times. The dates on which it is now proposed that the first such contract in each sub-area may be entered into are: sub-area A: 2 April 2021; sub-area B: 25 March 2022 and sub-area C 10 March 2023. A service would be provided under such a contract in each sub-area no sooner than 9 months after such contract is entered into. Once the first service is provided under such a local service contract in a sub-area, no listed local service may be provided in that sub-area unless it is: provided under such a local service contract, it is an interim service, it is provided under a service permit or it is excepted from regulation under the Proposed Scheme.

To facilitate the orderly introduction of franchising, where the route of a service runs in more than one sub-area, the Proposed Scheme contains provisions for phasing franchising in. The Proposed Scheme therefore provides that where a listed service that is to provided in sub-area A and also in sub-area B and/or C, it may not be required to be provided under a local service contract in sub-area B and/or C until the listed local services are required to provided in those sub-areas under local service contracts. Similarly, a listed local service to be provided in sub-area B is also in sub-area C may not be required to be provided under a local service contract in sub-area C until the listed local services are required to provided under local service contracts in sub-area C. Listed services subject to such transitional provisions are identified in article 5.2 of, and Annex 1 to, the Proposed Scheme. In such cases, where only part of the service is required to be provided under a local service contract, the remainder may be procured by the Authority under other powers until that part of the listed local service is required to be provided under a local service contract.

In addition to the above, some listed local services, the routes of which are also in more than one sub-area, will be temporarily excepted from regulation under the Proposed Scheme until the whole route is within sub-areas in which listed local services are required to be provided under local service contracts. Similar exceptions apply in respect of services serving schools or colleges in sub-areas B and C until the local services to be franchised in the sub-area in which that school or college are located have to be provided under a local services contract. These exceptions from regulation were identified in Annex 3 and 4 to the Proposed Scheme.

The Proposed Scheme also excepts from regulation services for pupils to and/or from school which do not provide transport to the general public. Local bus services (other than an interim service) in an area that becomes subject to section 123(2) and (3) of the Act, that are not provided under local service contracts or which are not excepted from regulation, will require a service permit to operate within that Area.

A copy of a draft of the Proposed Scheme provided to an independent auditor, an assessment of it prepared for the GMCA, the independent auditor’s report on that assessment and a revised draft of the Proposed Scheme, together with a consultation document (which includes more detail on the Proposed Scheme and the proposed revisions to it, in particular to Annexes 1 and 4 to reflect the principles stated above, and how to respond to the consultation), are available for inspection in hard copy form in each district’s town halls and can be found online at www.gmconsult.org.

The consultation will start on 14 October 2019 and close on 8 January 2020.

To respond to the consultation please:

Questionnaires and other consultation documents are available in public buildings (which are listed online) throughout Greater Manchester or can be downloaded at www.gmconsult.org.

If you’d like to respond in a different way, please contact gmbusconsultation@greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk or call 0161 244 1100 to discuss your requirements. 

For further information about this Notice, please contact TfGM’s Head of Legal Services kath.wilson@tfgm.com or by telephone at 0161 244 1000.