Manchester City Council

Buses, Trains and Trams

At the BBC just before 7am to do the first of a series of interviews on the good news that Greater Manchester is being given the chance to invest £3billion in its public transport network and that's on top of the £600m already being invested in Metrolink. Judging by other people's blogs, the Transport Innovation Fund proposals are still widely misunderstood so I'll try and give a simple run through a bit later. However today is not entirely transport dominated.

In the evening I do my Crumpsall Councillor's advice bureau and in the morning, along with GMCCI Chief Executive Angie Robinson, Wigan Leader Peter Smith and Rochdale Leader Alan Taylor, we interview for the Chair of the new Greater Manchester Business Leadership Council. Then it's to Rochdale Town Hall for the formal announcement on the TIF bid. There will be a full, detailed public consultation starting in July but here are some headlines to be going on with:

Compared to our bid, the £3b announced today means we will be able to invest even more in public transport with government proposing to give us £300m more than we asked for. 

· The public transport improvements include more and better buses in every part of Greater Manchester, running more often to more destinations with bus feeder services to rail and metrolink stations.

· Longer trains and 41 vastly improved stations.

· The tram network extended to Ashton, Rochdale and Oldham town centres, Didsbury, Trafford Park, Wythenshawe and Manchester Airport.

· New park and ride sites, doubling existing provision at train and tram stations outside the M60 ring.

· New yellow school buses in every district.

· 8 new state-of-the-art transport interchanges with real time information at all major bus and rail stations.

· Integrated ticketing including a Greater Manchester smart card.

· And more - find out on:

Over half of this will be funded by central government, but that still leaves £1.2b to be funded locally, in part by a congestion charge that will only be introduced when the public transport improvements are in place, expected to be 2013. The congestion charge will be based on two rings, one inside the M60, and the other inside the intermediate ring road. Charging would be:

· Peak times Monday to Friday only, in the morning peak 7 - 9.30am travelling towards central Manchester only, in the evening peak 4 - 6.30 pm travelling away from central Manchester

· You are only charged if you cross one of the rings, currently less than 20% of daily journeys in Greater Manchester, and the average daily charge is expected to be less than  £3

· There is no charge for driving round the M60 or the Intermediate Ring Road, there is no charge for driving between or outside the rings,

· Outside the times and places shown above there is no charge at all

This is a real chance for Greater Manchester to have a transport system that can match the best in Europe, that will keep our economy growing, get more people into jobs, improve our health and air quality, and give a chance our most excluded communities to contribute to and benefit from that economic growth. It's a chance to give our businesses a real competitive edge by having access to a bigger skilled workforce and to be able to move goods around more easily and more cheaply.

Don't let people with no vision, no ambition and no bottle take it away from us.

Make a comment

There are 14 responses to “Buses, Trains and Trams ”

  1. R. Wilde Says:

    You say, 'You are only charged if you cross one of the rings, currently less than 20% of daily journeys in Greater Manchester, and the average daily charge is expected to be less than £3.'
    So now if that 20% goes down with everybody using the new super public transport system, how do you propose to pay back the loan? Less than £3 DAILY, that must mean going into the City and returning home in the evening.

  2. Anthony Mckay Says:

    As a person who lives in Wythenshawe (Manchestre) and has to commute to Chorlton (Work) this new form of taxation is not fair, will all Greater Manchester residents be exempt or will you reduce our council tax as you obviously feel we are not part of Manchester?

  3. Mark Armstrong Says:

    Yes I have the same curiosity about the finances of this project, so far all you have told us is how much you will spend/borrow. You have not given any indication of how you will pay it back, please publish some kind of business plan so we can see that you have not wated nearly £10,000,000 just on advertising and sandwich platters for your meetings.

  4. Ian M Says:

    Can you show us a working prototype of the proposed technology ? Spend 30k getting a demo together. Then show people that.

    It should also give a more acurate costing for the project, if you know how much it will cost to wire up every junction and transmit the information back to a central processing system.

  5. Sal Says:

    Hi I live and work in Manchester and have done all my life, I currently work with families in who present anti social behaviour most of these families live of the current benefit system and on doing budgeting session the families are a lot better of then me and many people in this field. In introducing the congestion charge yet again it will be the people getting up and going to work who will suffer. Please just take some time to con cider this. Thanks Sal

  6. Ruth Davis Says:

    Mr Leese in 2005,you said on TV "If we introduce a congestion charge it will damage local economy" then in 2007 you said "If we DONT introduce the congestion charge it will damage local economy", why the change.Is it because your whitehall masters gave orders.

  7. Dan Says:

    Let the people vote. This country is supposed to be a democracy. We all know what the result of a vote would be. Also, who decided to hire that grinning buffoon for the (doubtlessly costly) advert?

  8. Dave Says:

    Is it not ironic that at a time when the whole world is attacking Zimbabwe for the lack of free and fair elections. That we people of Manchester are not allowed to vote on one of the most important decisions being made about Manchester. If this was such a good idea why was nothing spoken of it in the local elections. So who has the mandate from the people for this plan that will morgage Manchester for the next 30 years repaying back the 1.5 billion pound loan.

  9. jonathan smith Says:

    How much is the set up cost? How much are the running costs per annum? Why can't the council require Metrolink to buy its own carriages and stagecoach its own buses ? The charge is already going up as it is at todays prices and when introduced will be much higher.If interest rates rise you will have to find £10M extra for every 1% rise in bank rate. where will the money come from ?

  10. Richard Leese Says:

    Thanks to everybody who has posted in the last couple of days. I shall attempt to answer some of the comments & will post again on this subject following tomorrows AGMA meeting.

    Since Dave & Dan posted, events have moved on & my view on a referendum has been widely reported.

    In response to Ruth Davis, I have always felt, and research has supported this, that a congestion charge alone would damage the local economy. However a £3 billion investment in public transport, and a limited peak time only congestion charge will improve the connectivity of business (i.e. the ability of business to attract staff from across the region) in all 10 districts of Greater Manchester).

    Sal asked about the impact on low paid workers. We have recently announced a proposed discount for people on low pay that would apply to both public transport and the congestion charge. This proposal, and the greatly improved bus, tram and train system will help support people, back into work. We know for instance that many employers in Trafford Park find it difficult to recruit staff because public transport on the estate is poor. The new Metrolink will open work on the industrial estate to people in east and south Manchester.

    Ian M; the technology is currently working well in both Stockholm and Singapore.

    Mark Armstrong; every household in Greater Manchester will be getting details of this through their door when formal consultation begins in July.

    In response to Anthony Mckay’s enquiry, one of our problems is that people confuse our plans with London’s model, and assume we have a Zone in which you have to pay to drive in. Under our proposals you only pay if you cross one of two rings. Have a look at, - in particular the proposed inner ring. Depending where in Cholrton you work you may not have to pay anything.

    To answer R Wilde’s question as to how the borrowing will be repaid, we have developed our plans based on experience ion other cities so we expect traffic on the busiest roads inside the rings to fall by about 10-15%. We have obviously built in contingency and are using very conservative projections (we have had to persuade the Dftt of the financial strength of our plans to reach this point). The less than £3 daily is an average. Very few people drive all the way from outside the outer ring (M60) into inner Manchester. Most people who pay a charge will cross one ring, and because the charge switches off after 9.30 in the morning and 6.30 in the evening, some people can cross a ring twice – ingoing and outgoing, but only pay once.

  11. Clive Says:

    I don't live in Manchester , but I sometimes visit Manchester to shop. Introduce a congestion charge and I'll avoid Manchester. Manchester's benefit: 1 less car within the congestion. Liverpool's benefit: It gets my trade.

  12. Future Transport Says:

    Clive, why would you be coming into Manchester to shop between 7am and 9.30am Monday to Friday? The shops wouldn't even be open. You could come any time at the weekend for free and any time during a week day and you'll not pay the charge providing you aren't leaving between 4-6.30pm. Besides, Liverpools retail offering pales in comparison to Manchester

  13. Ian Says:

    Why not have a democratic referrendam ???????

  14. Clive Says:

    In reponse to “Future Transport”
    Re: “Besides, Liverpool’s retail offering pales in comparison to Manchester” You, disillusion yourself when you consider the overall experience of Liverpool, which offers considerably easier parking, especially in the Albert Dock area, and a well laid out primary road network. Within the new “Liverpool One” retail and leisure experience, and the more traditional Church Street/Bold Street areas there is a good mix of both major and minor retail arcades and stores. The return to the carparking area passes through the pleasant experience of the Albert Dock shopping, museum, heritage and leisure complex. Other advantages: no curfew, arrive and depart at one’s leisure.
    Before making itself less competitive with Liverpool, Manchester planners would be advised to look at
    Reality check from a longer distance traveller to Manchester, who would seek to make the most of a day trip: arrive Manchester to shop, after 9.30am, shop, break for lunch, and continue to shop or visit museum/art gallery. Disadvantages: Experience time pressure in the knowledge that the desired departure time is subject to an economic curfew since the anticipated departure time would in practice be between 4.30 and 5.30 therefore the trip would be subject to either congestion tax or curfew. You seem to query the arrival of shoppers before 9.30am. Whilst I would be happy to arrive post 10am, some shoppers to the city might want to travel before 9.30am in order to arrive, park and start shopping about the time the stores open.
    Re: “You could come any time at the weekend for free” this is a generous concession, but Liverpool retail and tourism is both welcoming and open for business 7 days per week.
    No I’m not Liverpudlian, I have the choice of a 54 mile journey to Liverpool or 52 mile journey to Manchester centre.



The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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