Power to the people? Consultations on future of Greater Manchester’s buses to have final say this Friday

The final in a series of discussions on whether to bring Greater Manchester’s buses back under public control will take place this Friday.

Speakers at the panel event, chaired by The Guardian’s Helen Pidd, will argue that the Greater Manchester Combined Authority should have the say over routes, fares and timetables, in a move that Transport for Greater Manchester predicts will save £345 million.

There will be a Q&A and a campaign film will explore issues under the current system. Andrew Gwynne MP and Councillor David Mellor will also speak.

Pascale Robinson of the Better Buses for Greater Manchester campaign said: “Private bus companies have been showing their true colours, from threatening legal action to spinning misinformation about astronomical costs for taxpayers.

“They care more about juicy profit margins than they do about passengers. But this is about getting a service that works for us.”

Once the consultation process ends, the decision lies with Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham.

The Local Government Association found 69% of residents support greater regulation by local councils.

Currently, the fares and routes of 80% of Greater Manchester’s bus services are out of local authority control – despite the fact around 40% of the companies’ revenue is public money.

The campaign aims to reverse Margaret Thatcher’s 1986 decision to deregulate all bus services outside of London which, across Greater Manchester, has seen a 40% decline in their use and eight million miles of routes cut. In London meanwhile, numbers have doubled during that time.

The Better Buses for Stockport event is on Friday November 1, 19:00-20:30, at The Quaker Meeting House, 2 Cooper Street, Stockport, SK1 3DW.

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