How are buses run in London

Regulation, or franchising, is how the bus network is run in London, and while bus use in Manchester has gone down by 40% in the years since deregulation, in London bus use has doubled since the 1980s, serving millions of Londoners every day. TfL (accountable to the Mayor) specifies to companies what services they should run, at what fares, the times and how often bus should come – even the colour of the buses.

Services themselves are still run by the operators who bid for contracts to run them, often for for many years. No matter what you think of London, it cannot be denied that they have an extensive, 24/7, accessible and clean bus network, a world-class bus system, and we, as a world-class city region, deserve the same in Greater Manchester.

Simple tickets

Regulation has also made it possible for London to introduce integrated smartcard ticketing in the form of Oyster. Oyster lets you get on any bus, tram, light rail and even train in London, so there is no separate return ticket to come home, (because an operator don’t operate in that area after 8pm for example). It caps your daily spend so you don’t spend loads.

Affordable fares

In London, there is one bus ticket price of £1.50.

The £1.50 hopper fare lets you get onto several buses heading in the same direction, so it can be £1.50 for an hour and a half journey across town.

A journey across Greater Manchester can sometimes need three buses, costing you £7.50.

Outside of London, our fares have gone up by 55% in the last ten years.

In London, they have a stable, affordable, reliable bus network.

Now Greater Manchester has the power to do the same as London. Now is your chance to speak up for a bus service that works for you.

Regulation is how it’s done in loads of places, very well.

Further out at sea, in Jersey, they have franchising, which has also led to 32% increase in bus ridership since 2013 alone. That's in just 5 years!

What’s more, franchising is how the railways are run in the UK, which gives us a much better, connected, simpler and planned network that joins up. There are improvements to make, but the idea that franchising is ‘naïve and worrying in equal measure’ is just denying the facts that its working well for transport all across the UK and Europe.

Photo used under Creative Commons licensing, thanks to David Holt London