Bus fares in Great Manchester will be capped at £2 for adults and £1 for children, in a move welcomed by residents. The policy, which is set to cost in the region of £135 million, was announced by Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham when he tweeted that ‘The era of people paying £4 or more for a single bus journey is coming to an end.’
The cap, which will start in around September of 2023, will make Manchester the first city outside of London in the UK to have a state-regulated bus system in 40 years. The move comes after a wider policy to make a Bee Network, which would move bus services in Greater Manchester in to public control, a process that will begin in early 2023, extending in to 2024. Whilst the change has been welcomed, some have expressed concern that the move will be phased with changes not happening soon.
Local authorities will have the power to set timetables, make fares and set routes, in a move that will take the power of these processes out of private hands. This has caused backlash from private operators, but has been welcomed by advocates of improved public transport across the city.
The news comes in the wake of the national rise to the cost of living. The Office for National Statistics recently published that the UK inflation rate jumped by 6.2% in February 2022, meaning that students up and down the country have felt the effect of a rise in prices. The effect on public transport costs has received praise from some students who hope it will decrease the financial pressure currently mounting.
James, a second year Engineering student in Manchester, welcomed the help. Relieved that bus fares will not rise he said “I’ve got only some in person stuff this year so a bus pass for both terms isn’t really worth it. If it’s capped at £2 that’s calm, it makes it so much easier to get in to Uni when I have to.”