Public transport on agenda at party conferences

Date published: 12 September 2008

Greater Manchester’s public transport leaders will be attending all three major party conferences over the next three weeks to put forward their plans for the future.

Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority (GMPTA) has arranged a series of fringe meetings with MPs at the Liberal Democrat, Labour and Conservative conferences.

The first event will take place at the Liberal Democrat Party Conference in Bournemouth on Monday 15 September. It will be followed by meetings at the Labour and Conservative conferences in Manchester and Birmingham.

Ruth Kelly MP (Transport Secretary), Stephen Hammond MP (Shadow Transport Minister) and Norman Baker MP (Liberal Democrat Shadow Transport Secretary) will be among those speaking at the events, which have the theme: ‘Revolutionising public transport’.

Councillor Matt Colledge, Chairman of GMPTA, said: “Greater Manchester’s economy has grown enormously over the past twenty years. We need significant investment in our public transport network if it is going to be able to support this continuing development.

“We’re starting work on building three new Metrolink lines next year but have ambitions to more than treble the size of the network. The growth in rail travel over the past decade has led to overcrowding so we desperately need more carriages. And we need to continue to invest in the most used form of public transport – the bus.

“The parliamentary debate about the new Local Transport Bill is now reaching its final stages. The legislation will have a major impact on how bus services are provided here and in other regions.

“We’ll be meeting key national politicians over the next few weeks to make sure they understand what we’d like the Bill to achieve for public transport in Greater Manchester.”

Councillor Keith Whitmore, Vice Chairman of GMPTA, added: “We have developed a wide range of public transport proposals where a new bus network, expanded tram system and improved train service would all feed into one another.

“These plans, along with a limited congestion charge at peak times, have been included in the region’s £3 billion Transport Innovation Fund bid.

“Regardless of the outcome of the December referendum on this, Greater Manchester needs a reliable, integrated, welcoming and efficient transport system that can continue to be a cornerstone in the region’s economic success.”

GMPTA representatives will attend several other public transport events at the party conferences. They have also been invited to speak at the All Party Parliamentary Light Rail Group meetings about the importance of trams in a successful public transport network.

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