OneBus warns against Manchester franchising

As plans for franchising Greater Manchester’s buses are consulted on, the regions bus operator partnership, OneBus, hit back.

OneBus claims the franchising plans would lead to inflation-busting fares rises, higher taxes, plummeting passenger numbers and no investment to tackle the real barriers to bus use, according to documents made public as part of a consultation process. The partnership highlights the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s own franchising proposal admits a multitude of weaknesses in around 1,000 pages of documents the authority was obliged to make public.

It has also been revealed that the true cost of the franchising scheme is close to double the level originally suggested when plans to press ahead with the franchising scheme was first announced.

Analysis of the GMCA’s Doing Buses Differently proposed franchising scheme for Greater Manchester reveals:

  • No specific plans outlined for a more enhanced bus network
  • The cost is now revealed as being £266m, close to double the £134.5m originally suggested
  • Customers would be hit by annual, inflation-busting fares rises (inflation +1.4% pa)
  • Zero new bus investment to help improve air quality
  • GMCA’s own analysis shows that a partnership model has a significantly better benefit-to-cost ratio than franchising
  • No planned or budgeted measures to tackle congestion and deliver faster or more reliable journeys
  • Taxpayers will foot rising costs, even if central government provides subsidies
  • Despite huge costs, the council forecasts that franchising will see bus use drop by almost 25%

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