Scheme allowing bus passengers to use tickets across operators to end
Date published: 05 November 2019
A joint ticketing arrangement between Go North West, First Greater Manchester (pictured) and Diamond Bus North West will come to an end in the New Year
A scheme allowing bus passengers in the Rochdale borough and other northern parts of Greater Manchester to travel across three different services will end in the New Year.
The joint ticketing arrangement between Go North West, First Greater Manchester and Diamond Bus North West will come to an end in the New Year.
Tickets and travel passes from the individual companies are currently accepted on other’s services after several bus depots changed hands over the summer.
The scheme allows tickets and travel passes from individual companies to be accepted on each other’s services after several bus depots changed hands over the summer.
Services in Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Salford, Oldham and Rochdale currently fall under the ‘temporary’ arrangement, which will stop on 1 January.
Passengers can still buy a seven-day multi-operator tickets through System One for £19, but this is £3 more than what is currently offered under the joint arrangement.
Customers with annual passes valid beyond 1 January will be eligible for refunds for the costs from January to the expiry of their ticket.
Middleton councillor Phil Burke is concerned the move will price some people out of using public transport, which could affect their wellbeing and cause social isolation and loneliness.
He said: “This a poor outcome for bus passengers and will create confusion making journeys that require using bus services run by different bus operators more expensive, especially if they have to pay more than once for a single journey.
“Any initiative to increase fares discourages people from travelling by bus unless they have no alternative.
“Often these people are on lower incomes and will have to pay higher fares with no guarantee of improvements in services.”
Councillor Burke added: “Bus passengers do not care which company is operating their service, only that the journey is affordable and covered by a single ticket, comfortable and reliable.”
“This fragmentation of services and proposed fare increases are also contrary to current policy which is seeking to encourage more journeys by public transport.”
The ticketing arrangement was initially set up to benefit First customers after Go North West bought the company’s Queens Road depot in June.
This was later extended to include Diamond Bus services following its acquisition of First’s Bolton depot in August.
Go North West said that it was keeping its customers informed about how the change will affect them through on-bus notices, leaflets, and through their website and social media channels.
According to Diamond Bus, there has been ‘very little’ cross-operator travel during the agreement period, and the number of passengers using tickets across the three operators is ‘relatively small’.
A joint statement from the three operators said: “This summer there were a number of ownership changes within the bus network in North Manchester.
“To make sure these changes went smoothly for customers, a temporary arrangement was put in place for tickets issued by First, Go North West and Diamond Bus to be accepted on each company’s buses.
“Now that each company’s network of services in north Manchester is clearly established, there is no longer a need for this arrangement.”
Gary Nolan, chief executive of OneBus, which represents the majority of bus operators in Greater Manchester, added: “Bus passengers can still buy and use multi-operator tickets – across the whole of Greater Manchester, not just the north – via System One.
“This gives passengers unlimited travel on any bus, or combinations of bus, train and tram all over Greater Manchester.”
The Greater Manchester Transport Committee will discuss the change at a meeting on Friday 8 November.
Niall Griffiths, Local Democracy Reporting Service
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