Greater Manchester has been awarded more than £1bn from City Region Sustainable Transport Settlements (CRSTS) to boost its bus, trams and wider transport. Quadrant Transport looks at how this will benefit the region.
The CRSTS funding allocation of £1.07bn was initially announced ahead of last year’s autumn Comprehensive Spending Review.
It will be supported by £170m in local contributions, which means around £1.2bn worth of the investment will be in local roads, bus, train and tram services over the next five years.
The Government has confirmed there are three separate pots of funding which will benefit the city-region as part of a £7bn package to ‘level up’ transport.
This comes after Labour Mayor Andy Burnham launched his ‘Bee Network’ bid, a London-style transport system for Greater Manchester.
Improvements for buses and trams
£438m worth of investment will be used to improve buses, routes and services. This includes 50 new zero-emission buses for Bolton and Wigan. The first phase of bus franchising is to be introduced on 17th September 2023.
£94.9m from the Government’s Bus Back Better strategy will be used to support lower bus fares and more frequent services. It will see adult and children single journey fares capped at £2 and £1 respectively.
The Metrolink will receive £20.5m recovery funding to support the continued operation of services for the next six months.
Rebuilding and transforming public transport
Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “Today’s announcements are a major vote of confidence in Greater Manchester’s plans for a London-style public transport system.
“This funding will allow us to bring forward an improved bus service, starting next autumn in Wigan and Bolton – with new buses, lower fares and more frequent services.
“However, as welcome as today’s announcement is, the revenue funding is about half of what we bid for, and we still don’t know how much recovery funding bus operators will get to keep services running.
We have been working closely with government on a funding model that will enable us to stabilise, rebuild and ultimately transform public transport, and can only deliver the Bee Network if we have a sound foundation to build upon.
“Without a longer-term recovery settlement, the threat of cuts to services still looms large. This is the final piece of the puzzle that will really enable us to get on and deliver the Bee Network and this is the case I will make to government as we continue to work together to unlock Greater Manchester’s full potential.”
This announcement comes just days after Greater Manchester secured £35.8m to enhance its green bus fleet with the introduction of 170 zero-emission buses. This is equal to 10 per cent of the whole bus fleet in Greater Manchester.