Greater Manchester buses to be brought under public control with cheaper fares and an integrated network
The new plans include an integrated system of buses, trams and trains all running in synch
A judge has ruled in favour of Andy Burnham’s proposal for major bus reform in a historic moment for public transport in Greater Manchester.
Bus firms Stagecoach and Rotala brought forward a judicial review for the plans, in which they claimed the process taken by leaders to move to a franchising system – where operators had to bid to run services under public control – was ‘irrational’ and ‘unlawful’.
However, a judge ruled against the operators yesterday in a hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice, saying as per the Manchester Evening News: “Whilst I granted the plaintiffs permission to bring the review I dismiss the claims.
“In my judgement the mayor’s decision and the process by which the Greater Manchester Combined Authority came to recommend the scheme was lawful.”
The mayor took to Twitter shortly after the ruling to express his delight, writing: “Pleased to say we have successfully defended the decision I took to put GM buses under public control.
“We won on ALL points. The way is now clear for the North to retake control of its public transport.
“We can finally put people before profits after 36 years of the opposite.”
In an official statement, Burnham added: “Following the strong mandate from the Greater Manchester public, who wanted buses bringing back under public control, it is frustrating that the two companies concerned pursued this action and I am pleased that the court has dismissed all of their arguments.
“I now ask them to accept the clear ruling and allow us to crack on and give the people of Greater Manchester what they want – an integrated, accessible and affordable ‘London-style’ transport system joining together buses, trams, cycling and walking; the Bee Network.”
Burnham will be working with bus operators and the government across the next couple of years to create the bus network that the region needs, and has promised an update on Monday.
As previously reported, the new plans include an integrated system of buses, trams and trains, all of which will run in synch.
Under the new proposed system, there will be 830 services run by thirty operators with 150 different ticket types across the region, including £1.50 ‘hopper’ fares, ten minute service routes, 2,000 more accessible bus stops and an increased number of evening and Sunday services.
Also on the way could be simpler and cheaper fares, ticketing, a daily cap on price and a ‘tap in’ system with contactless payment.
This is all an opportunity to provide affordable alternatives to driving on the roads, which is at the heart of reducing air pollution.
Burnham has long been calling for a change in the region’s bus system, with him last year pushing for ‘London-style’ bus fares to be adopted across not only Manchester but the North of England, saying they would be a ‘game changer’.
He has also discussed the possibility of buses being ‘integrated with the tram system’ in the past, suggesting that commuters would have a ‘daily cap on what they could expect to pay on any given day, no matter how many buses or trams they took’.
Woman tragically dies in Manchester petrol station incident
Emergency services attended the scene but the woman was sadly confirmed dead
An elderly woman has died following a crash at a petrol station in Manchester.
Officers believe the woman, who was in her 70s, suffered a medical episode while at the wheel of her car when she crashed into a small brick wall.
She had been trying to drive the Nissan Micra off the forecourt of the Asda petrol station in Moston Lane, Harpurhey, at approximately 10.45am on Wednesday, March 22nd.
Emergency services attended the scene but the woman was sadly confirmed dead. Greater Manchester Police have appealed for any witnesses to help them.
A section of stretch of road, near the junction with Rochdale Road, was closed for a number of hours while emergency services dealt with the incident. Paramedics and two air ambulances were seen.
Anyone with information or on the forecourt at the time of the incident should contact police on 0161 856 4741 quoting log 1103-22/3/2023.
Information can also be reported online or by using the LiveChat function at www.gmp.police.uk. If you can’t report online, call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
‘Postbox to heaven’ now installed at Greater Manchester crematorium
Such a lovely idea!
A postbox allowing people to send letters to their loved ones in heaven has now been installed at a Greater Manchester crematorium.
The white and gold Royal Mail letterbox can be found at Howe Bridge crematorium in Atherton, Wigan Borough. It was the idea of nine-year-old Matilda Handy who wanted to send a letter to her late grandparents to help her cope with the grief of her loss.
The first was set-up at Gedling Crematorium, near Nottingham, and proved a popular concept with over 100 letters and cards posted within its first few weeks. Speaking to Granada Reports, Matilda’s mother Leanne, who is Gedling Crematorium’s Memorial Advisor, said: “She was four when my mum died, and never met my dad.
“Now the postbox is in place, I am so pleased that local people are using it, and taking some comfort from it, as another way of feeling connected to their loved ones.”
UK crematorium and cemetery operator, Westerleigh Group is now rolling out the postboxes across all of its sites.
Lindsey Edwardson, Site Manager at Howe Bridge Crematorium, said: “Feedback has shown that the process of writing a letter, or perhaps a birthday card, to a lost loved one has already brought therapeutic comfort to many people.
“Now, the communities in and around our crematorium can do the same thing. No address or stamps are required on any of the letters or cards. This is just another way in which we can provide emotional support to local families.”
A post on the Howe Bridge Crematorium Facebook page read: “We are proud to announce the official opening of our Letters to Heaven Post Box. Our thanks go to Alison Regan Civil Funeral Celebrant for her beautiful service to commemorate its opening.
“For all those who wish, you can post a letter to your loved ones that are no longer with us at the Post Box.”
Woman with undiagnosed brain tumour had to visit doctors nine times to get scan
Doctors told her if she had not had the surgery within a few hours or days then it could have been a different story
A woman with an undiagnosed brain tumour who was told ‘we don’t give out brain scans to 24-year-olds willy nilly’ is now campaigning for change.
Claudia Laird, from Burnley, went to see a medical professional on nine occasions as she tried to get to the bottom of why she felt so unwell. One week later, she was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
Claudia told ITV Granada Reports: “I think the initial reaction was trusting of the GP. I was in shock after, because I found out I definitely needed that brain scan.
“It was all quite quick – they weren’t sure what was on the brain at first. It was all up in the air.
“I can’t believe I went through that. We were just waiting for the doctors to tell us the outcome. It was challenging, but more so looking back on it now. At the time, you don’t know the outcome.”
Claudia was experiencing symptoms of confusion, hallucinations and fatigue. But doctors put it down to what they thought to be gastroenteritis. After discovering the tumour, Claudia had to then undergo an eight-hour operation.
Doctors told her if she had not had the surgery within a few hours or days then it could have been a different story. She said: “I was asleep all the time. My friends would call me lazy. I thought it was because I was working long hours.
“I walked into a window thinking it was a door. I spent a night in bed with my mum and dad because I was hallucinating.”
Claudia is now training to be a paediatrician, to give people the same level of care. After the difficulty she had in getting diagnosed, Claudia has decided she does not want the same mistakes to happen to someone else.
Claudia said: “We need everybody to understand the difficulty of getting that diagnosis. It took me over nine times to get that diagnosis. I went to opticians, GP and A&E just to push to say ‘I really don’t think something is right here’.
“I want to see some changes, some research, funding into brain tumours. 1% of cancer research goes into brain tumours.”
The NHS lists the symptoms of a brain tumour as:
- seizures (fits)
- persistently feeling sick (nausea), being sick (vomiting) and drowsiness.
- mental or behavioural changes, such as memory problems or changes in personality.
- progressive weakness or paralysis on one side of the body.
- vision or speech problems.