Better Buses for Greater Manchester


Passenger-led campaign for affordable, easy, reliable, regulated buses.

Currently, most local authorities have no control over commercial bus services. This means that bus operators only run services if they make a profit, and they charge whatever they like. There is little integration across different companies and some communities have few or no buses at all.

Better Buses for Greater Manchester was set up by We Own It and the Foundation for Integrated Transport to campaign for a regulated network. This will give Greater Manchester Combined Authority planning powers to coordinate the network and demand bus companies follow certain standards through contracts. It’s a similar arrangement to London, and is the best outcome short of setting up a new municipally owned bus company, which was made illegal in 2017.

Regulation will allow:

  • Proper planning and network expansion. Surplus profit from busy routes can be used to subsidise less busy but needed services. Right now, bus companies cherry pick only profitable routes, but local authorities could use profits to give everyone a service.
  • Simpler, more affordable fares. Income could be used to lower fares, which have increased 55% above inflation in the last ten years. With one body running the network, a single, affordable ticket could be used on any bus or tram across Greater Manchester.
  • More reliable buses. Bus companies will have to share data — meaning buses don’t disappear from the timetable or app.
  • More frequent buses. Regulated profits for bus companies means surplus funds can be used for better for evening and weekend services.


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