Back the Buses! 5 Priorities for 5 Years

22nd November 2005
news
release

Manchester Friends of the Earth [1] is calling on Greater Manchester’s transport authority and local councils to make bus improvements a priority for their Local Transport Plan [2] (LTP) and has unveiled their five-point remedy.

The LTP is being finalised over the next few months, with the consultation period ending this Friday, and will set out transport policy over the next five years.

Their five-point plan for the next five years is as follows:

  • More priority for buses at junctions and a network of bus lanes
  • Smartcard payment for bus travel and integrated ticketing
  • A greater emphasis on orbital bus routes
  • Community involvement in the development of bus services
  • Low-emission buses

Manchester Friends of the Earth welcomes the transport authority’s plans to introduce smartcards for the payment of concessionary bus tickets, but urges them to commit to smartcards for payment of all kinds of bus tickets. By facilitating a flexible payment system, smartcards are socially inclusive, helping those who work part-time or are only occasional bus users and therefore do not benefit from weekly tickets. They would also improve reliability by reducing the delays caused by queuing to pay the driver.

48% of Manchester households do not have access to a car [3], and expansion of the Metrolink network is unlikely to have any impact in this five year period. Manchester Friends of the Earth see buses as a key part of Manchester’s transport in the future. Bus lanes, priority at junctions, lower emissions and community consultation are all vital elements of this. Recent research found that the 53 bus is particularly unreliable, yet funding continues to focus on radial routes into the city centre.

Jonathan Whitehead, a bus user from Prestwich, said:

“The bus lanes for my local bus have helped to speed up buses, but at some bus stops the bus can wait several minutes while passengers queue to pay the driver. If buses are to provide an attractive alternative to cars for commuting, they will have to introduce more bus priority measures and find ways for passengers to get on and off more quickly.”

Graeme Sherriff, Manchester Friends of the Earth’s Transport Spokesperson, said:

“Clean, reliable and affordable buses are what Manchester needs if Manchester City Council to tackle its transport problems and to achieve its goal of being Britain’s Greenest city. Now is the time to make sure that the Local Transport Plan gives buses the priority they deserve.”

More information about Manchester Friends of the Earth’s transport campaign can be found at:

www.manchesterfoe.org.uk/transport

ENDS

Notes to Editors

[1] Manchester Friends of the Earth is a prominent pressure group, raising awareness and lobbying for policy changes at a local, regional, national and international level. The group consists entirely of volunteers, and its campaigns are funded by membership fees and individual donations. Up-to-date information is available on their website: https://www.manchesterfoe.org.uk. Manchester Friends of the Earth is part of a national network of local groups, affiliated to the national organisation (further information can be found at http://www.foe.co.uk).

[2] GMPTA, the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority, is currently working on their Local Transport Plan for 2006 to 2011, which will be used by the national government when they allocate funds for transport during this period.

[3] 2001 Government Census, http://www.statistics.gov.uk/census2001/profiles/commentaries/
housing.asp#cars