Stagecoach respond to Greater Manchester Mayor’s proposal of franchising bus services
Date published: 18 July 2019
Andy Burnham at Question Time event in Rochdale with host Hannah Miller
Bus operator Stagecoach has responded to Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham’s plans to franchise the region’s bus network, after it was raised at his question time in Rochdale on 26 June.
Speaking on the night, Mr Burnham said: “I see the bus operators coming out this week and attacking me. Well, they can attack me if they want but would it not be better for them to say ‘here’s what we’re going to do to make it better, here’s why we don’t need to go down this path because we are going to change things’.
“They are not saying that, it’s a quite negative thing to come back and attack me and say they are going to sue me.”
He added: “Are they really saying the status quo is good enough.”
However, Stagecoach has responded, saying that the Mayor has received an alternative proposal to improve the region’s bus services.
Stagecoach Manchester managing director, Elisabeth Tasker, said: “On 1 July 2019, Andy Burnham suggested he had yet to receive an alternative proposal from bus operators to oppose his much-publicised franchise model. This is simply not true.
“Nearly six months ago, the Mayor was given a £100 million blueprint on how to improve services under a partnership approach. It includes detailed commitments by Stagecoach and other operators, which would build on the tens of millions of pounds of investment we have already put into the Greater Manchester bus network over the last 10 years alone, to improve services in the region.
“We want to be clear with the Greater Manchester public: the choice on the table is not between the status quo and bus franchising, as the Mayor suggests. The partnership plan sets out our extensive recommendations and commitments for better bus transport in the region. It includes simplified and more flexible bus tickets, better value travel, and an action plan to help tackle the big issues of congestion and poor air quality.
“Our partnership proposal is clear and transparent; it won’t cost Greater Manchester taxpayers a single penny and the benefits can start to be delivered right now. In contrast, the important details of how franchising would work, how much it would cost and how it would be paid for have been kept secret and hidden from the public.
“We have written to Andy Burnham to ask him to correct his statement and acknowledge receipt of our alternative proposal.”
Stagecoach does not operate any buses in the Rochdale borough, but is Manchester’s biggest single bus company.
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