“Campaigners calling for better buses marched through Manchester city centre in a handmade ‘walking bus’ to deliver an 11,500-strong petition to Mayor Andy Burnham’s office.”
On a sunny, but chilly, Friday lunchtime (3rd January) volunteers from Manchester Friends of the Earth joined the Better Buses for Greater Manchester march to hand in the petition signed by 11,500 people supporting the proposals for bus re-regulation (franchising) in Greater manchester.
The march set off from the Stagecoach depot on Hyde Road and made its way through the City Centre to the Greater Manchester Mayor’s offices on Oxford Street.
The title for this post comes from the Manchester Evening News article that seemed somewhat impressed that the ‘walking bus’ had been handmade!
And indeed it was lovingly hand crafted… by Manchester FoE volunteers over the holiday season. Given the old saying that a photograph is worth a thousand words – we offered to make a visual ‘prop’ for the Better Buses campaign event to help provide photo opportunities for local media.
The ‘bus’ needed to be light enough to be carried by two people but strong enough to withstand any possible Mancunian weather in January… so we started with 2 sheets of Correx (available to be used as placards after the bus action if no one wants a slightly used bus prop) and created an internal framework using wooden dowling poles and old placard sticks.
Apart from buying a load of bolts, washers and wing-nuts the rest of the materials were scrounged from scrap…
The prop was designed to be easily dis-assembled as the eagle eyed amongst you may have noticed that the ‘bus’ was too wide to fit through most normal width doorways!
And voila here is the re-assembled ‘bus’ outside the Green Fish Resource Centre on Friday morning before heading off to the Stagecoach Depot on Hyde Road.
Perhaps a red flag would have come in handy!
The ‘bus’ successfully made it all the way to 56 Oxford Street – Andy Burnham’s office – where the Better Buses petition was handed in and the public and GM Combined Authority staff were serenaded with many verses of “What do we want… Better Buses, When do want them, Now!”
As well as the Manchester Evening News coverage, the Better Buses for Greater Manchester campaign event featured on both BBC NW TV news and ITV Granada and Pascale, from the campaign was interviewed by several local radio stations.
The ‘Doing Buses Differently‘ consultation is open till 8th January 2020. Follow the link below to find out more details and go to the easy-to-use consultation response email action.
See also the earlier Manchester Evening News article: ‘We’re sick and tired of expensive, unreliable buses’: Protesters set to march through Manchester city centre.