The following Notices of Motion have been received:-
(i) Better Buses
This Council notes that:
Buses account for around 80% of public transport journeys across Greater Manchester and are an important service to connect our residents and communities.
Whilst still the biggest provider of public transport, bus usage is decreasing. Since deregulation in the 1980s, bus use has gone down by 40% across Greater Manchester, while in London where they have a regulated network, it has doubled.
Under a deregulated service, private bus companies in Greater Manchester can set up, change and remove services when they like with little or no consultation or notification. This has led to vital but less profitable routes across the borough being cut or dependent on Local Authorities to subsidise.
A deregulated bus service has contributed to some of our largest public transport issues seen across the borough:
The decrease in bus services and usage has contributed to the increase in cars and traffic on our borough’s roads. This has caused an increase in air pollution, contributing to an increase in health issues and wear and tear on our roads, impacting the quality of the road network.
Due to the ongoing reduction in bus services, many of our communities, rural villages and some larger suburban areas are being cut off from the rest of the borough, particularly in the evening. This means that residents who do not drive have a further difficulty to access employment or leisure facilities and is impacting some of our more vulnerable residents who are unable to have their own mode of transport.
In areas where there isn’t a robust and regular bus network, residents are dependent on more expensive modes of transport such as private car ownership or taxis. This is creating pockets of transport poverty across the borough and limiting access to leisure, education and employment opportunities.
Despite Pilsworth being one of borough’s largest employment sites, there is no direct bus from Bury to Pilsworth and the lack of public transport in this area is further restricting access to employment opportunities.
Under a deregulated bus service, fares have increased by an average 55% in the last ten years making affordability more difficult for the poorest in our borough.
A regulated bus service could:
· Introduce a smart ticketing and daily cap, making public transport more affordable and accessible.
· Set and enforce the timetabling of buses across Greater Manchester, so buses are far more reliable and link up with other modes of transport.
· Provide access to comprehensive easy-to-find fare and timetable information.
· Profits from popular routes could be used to subsidise less busy routes, so all communities receive a good service.
· The network could be expanded to run desperately needed evening and weekend services.
· Introduce Greater Manchester standards of accessibility for disabled users.
This council resolves to:
Fully support the re-regulation of bus services across Greater Manchester.
When the Mayor of Greater Manchester formally consults on bus regulation later this year, this council will help distribute the consultation in our public facing buildings and across the Council’s online platforms.
Write to the Mayor of Greater Manchester and TfGM to acknowledge the work that has been done to help residents on low incomes access public transport and ask that they give consideration, in collaboration with partners, to:
· Continue to offer free and discounted bus and tram travel to residents who are long term out of work, returning to work or attending job interviews.
· Continue to provide free travel on buses, trains and trams to pensioners and WASPI Women.
· Deliver on the Mayor of Greater Manchester’s commitment to offer free bus travel for 16-18 year old.
Write to the Secretary of State for Transport to ask that fair funding be provided from the Government to introduce more zero and low emission buses in Greater Manchester, as has already been provided in London.
In the names of Councillors N Bayley, J Black, S Briggs, R Cathcart, A Cummings, J Grimshaw, M Hayes, S Haroon, T Holt, M James, D Jones, J Kelly, K Leach, G McGill, E O’Brien, C Preston, A Quinn, T Rafiq, R Shori, A Simpson, R Skillen, L Smith, S Smith, Sarah Southworth, Susan Southworth, T Tariq, K Thomas, J Walker, S Walmsley and M Whitby.
(ii) Conductors on Trams
This Council Notes:
(a) High levels of fare evasion on the Metrolink network – reported to this Council as an estimate that 1 in 8 journeys are not paid for.
(b) Anti-social behaviour occurring on the tram network, contributing to some member of the local community feeling unsafe using Metrolink, particularly in the evenings.
Council recognises that other tram networks in the UK, such as those in Nottingham and in Wolverhampton-Birmingham, operate with on-board conductors, and that the merits of having these staff include:
(a) Increased revenue collection as conductors are able to check tickets and passes, and collect outstanding fares from passengers on-board the tram
(b) Improved passenger safety as the conductor represents a visible on-board presence to deter criminal and anti-social behaviour and can ensure that passengers are able to board or alight safely
(c) Better customer service as the conductor can respond in person to passenger queries and to requests for assistance, such as aiding passengers with disabilities or push-chairs
Council notes that these are the same reasons that the RMT trades union cites in seeking the retention of guards on trains in its ongoing dispute with Northern Rail.
Given the reasons outlined above, and in light of the estimate that £9 million in revenue is lost across the Metrolink network in fare evasion, Council believes that there is merit in introducing conductors on the Bury – Manchester line for an evaluation to be conducted after a trial period of 12 months of its impact, with a view to making conductors permanent and across the network should the results prove favourable.
Council therefore resolves:
To ask the Chief Executive to write to the Chief Executives of Transport for Greater Manchester and Metrolink outlining its position and requesting the introduction of conductors on the Bury Manchester line as a pilot.
In the names of Councillors D’Albert, Pickstone and S Wright.
Notices of Motion published in the Summons for the meeting had been withdrawn following advice provided by the Council Solicitor relating to Purdah.