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Burnham announces major Greater Manchester transport overhaul

The mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has announced a major overhaul of the region’s transport network.

Burnham said problems with transport in the north could “no longer be ignored” and announced the creation of a Strategic Transport Board, which will monitor transport projects and ensure decisions are made in line with joined-up services.

He also said the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) would work to ensure train operators do more to compensate commuters for poor services.

Addressing members of the Urban Transport Group at a meeting in Leeds, Burnham said the new board would be chaired by himself and Richard Leese the leader of Manchester City Council.

He described Greater Manchester’s train services as “packed-out and clapped-out” and said the north had been treated as “second-class over many years” in terms of transport investment.

“Our road, rail and bus services are not only poor individually, they can’t be properly integrated due to an inconsistent national policy framework in which they operate,” Burnham stated.

“We cannot have a transport system where different modes of transport operate completely independently from each other or, worse, actively competing and undermining each other as we have seen with bus operators and Metrolink.

“It lacks coherence, it’s confusing for passengers, and it doesn’t deliver for a growing 21st century city-region. It is time to bring some order to this chaos.”

The speech is the result of Transport for Greater Manchester’s (TfGM) six-week ‘Congestion Conversation’ which looked to understand how congested transport links in the region affect people.

In addition to other new developments, the GMCA will look to introduce contactless bank card payments across Metrolink services late next year.

Burnham said passenger satisfaction in Greater Manchester was below the national average and singled out the use of pacers on the rail network, which he said were intended to run for 20 years but are still operating nearly 40 years later.

TfGM has begun talks with passenger watchdog Transport Focus to discuss compensation for season ticket holders on the Bolton to Manchester line, which has suffered from particular poor performance.

Top image: Peter Byrne, PA Wire

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James Palma   14/12/2017 at 13:18

I have said it many times, and I am sure I shall continue do so until idiots stop referring to Manchester as THE or even the north. Manchester is north of Watford, so people complaining about comparing Manchester with London, should reconsider what they are saying, and it is the north midlands. But it is not north of the Humber, or the Ribble, which most people would consider to be the start of THE north. In addition, why does the mayor of Manchester think that he can influence what happens in towns and cities in THE north?

Mmlred   14/12/2017 at 14:02

James, in most people's minds, the "North / South" divide runs from the North Wales coast, across the middle of Cheshire. Where the north and south of that line lies is subjective, but the likes of Macclesfield are seen as "Northern" while Crewe is more of a "Southern" town. The "line" passes through the Peak District, more or less at the division of the "Dark" and "White" Peaks. The "North" east of the Peak District is the South Yorkshire Border - in railway terms, Bradfield Tunnel north of Dronfield, or the route of the Hope Valley being a notable point of division. Finally, in the far East it's down to debate - some would say the Humber is the cut-off point, while others would include some of the area south of the estuary as "Northern" - down to the likes of Grimsby and Scunthorpe. You're in a very small minority to consider Liverpool and Manchester to be "Midlands" cities, however.

Manchester Mike   14/12/2017 at 22:14

@James Palma Andrew Gwilt might by the only person that agrees with your definition of the North.

Andrew Gwilt   15/12/2017 at 00:37

Thanks for mentioning my name Manchester Mike.

DP   15/12/2017 at 08:19

Burnham should come to the North East, then he'll see just how "ignored" Greater Manchester is.

Kayb   15/12/2017 at 10:06

TfGM Journey planner is a joke! Transport for London can do it, why can't TfGM?

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