In what has been hailed as a historic move, Greater Manchester Metro Mayor, Andy Burnham, has given the go ahead for control over the regions bus networks to become franchised.
The landmark move came after nine council leaders gave their recommendations to take control and move towards creating a London styled regulatory system, the first of it's kind outside of the capital.
The buses will continue to be operated by private companies but more control over 'simpler' fares and routes will fall under the remit of Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), allowing for a standardised integrated ticketing system across the whole bus network, similar to what is seen in the Capital.
It also helps towards integrating the buses with the rest of the regions public transport network, as well as price capping to keep costs low for passengers.
Burnham hailed the move as the biggest change to the bus network since the 1980's when the system was unregulated.
Speaking at a press briefing at the Ashton Interchange earlier this afternoon, the Mayor said:
“Public transport is essential for any successful city-region, and our buses are the backbone of Greater Manchester’s transport network. As Greater Manchester recovers from the pandemic and grows in the future, we must develop our public transport network, alongside walking and cycling, to support the increasing number of journeys we will all be making.
“In Greater Manchester, we’ve always done things differently and been trailblazers especially in the field of transport; we had the first passenger railway; the first ‘bus’ route with a horse-drawn carriage and now I’ve decided that we will be the first outside London to run our buses differently – under local control, so that decisions are made at a local level for the benefit of our passengers.
"It will mean simpler fares and ticketing. You will be able to use your tickets on all Greater Manchester buses and hop on and hop off. You will know how much your tickets will cost.
"Timetables will be joined up and you will be able to change between buses and trams making your journey seamless."
Regulation will mean that all buses will from 2023 be a standardised colour and customers will have a better idea of how much their journeys would cost.
Funding for the £135m project will come from one off local authority contributions, devolution deal cash as well as monies from the current and future mayoral precept.
Meanwhile several companies have submitted separate court applications for a judicial review after claiming a lack of consultation, with the 'One Bus' representative body stating that the process was being rushed.
The new system is set to be introduced in three phases starting in January 2023, with phase two set for January 2024 and the final phase three to begin in January 2025.