We often hear about what the local authorities want for the future of the region's public transport but what about the bus operators? Gradyn Thompson, General Manager of the Greater Manchester Bus Operators Association (GMBOA) has been speaking to Bus & Coach about their ideas for improving our bus network.
Among the nuggets he imparted were:
- GMBOA is keen to improve the bus service for passengers but is realistic about the plans currently on the table. "Politicians want to see improvements... They want tangible evidence that things are moving forward on routes and frequencies. If these improvements focus on delivering tangible and affordable passenger benefits then the bus operators will be very supportive, but there isn’t a blank cheque from either the government or the operators to fund unrealistic political aspirations.”
- An Oyster-style single all-operator smartcard isn't likely in the near future due the number of differnet companies collecting revenue in deregulated bus market - a problem that doesn't affect London. Thompson does, however, predict that at least one operator will have their own smartcard system within the next three years. Seeing as First's Bradford operation has been using smartcards for payment for a decade there's no reason why this couldn't be realistic.
- GMBOA welcomes the idea of cross-city bus routes but Thompson points out that work may have to be done to ensure buses can get through the city centre quickly and easily.
- Despite the TIF bid failing, it improved relations between operators and policy makers. "“There's now a better spirit of partnership than there has ever been", he says.
You can read the full interview here.
[Thanks to James McCollom]