Doing Buses Differently - proposed franchising scheme for Greater Manchester

Closed 8 Jan 2020

Opened 14 Oct 2019

Results updated 25 Mar 2021

More than 12,500 responses were received over two periods of consultation on GMCA’s proposals to change how buses are run and there was a high level of public support for the proposed franchising scheme. Of those who answered the question ‘To what extent do you support or oppose the introduction of the proposed franchising scheme’ or submitted a response via an organised campaign, 86% of responses to the first consultation period supported the franchising scheme. This was 82% for the second consultation period. All consultation responses were independently managed and analysed by Ipsos MORI. 

Following review and consideration of the consultation responses by Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), on Thursday 25 March, the Mayor of Greater Manchester announced that he was going to make the proposed bus franchising scheme and bring buses under local control.

Franchising, or local control, will deliver passenger benefits, including simpler fares and ticketing, with the ability to offer price capping for journeys across both buses and trams so that no-one must pay more than a certain amount for daily, weekly or monthly journeys. It will also enable better joined-up planning between bus and tram journeys so passengers will be able to quickly and easily change between them. It will also mean a ‘one-stop shop’ for travel information and customer support, as well as consistent standards for a high-quality passenger experience across the network.  GMCA will also be able to develop one identity for Greater Manchester’s transport network, which is attractive, clearly recognisable and easy for passengers to understand.

All of the reports summarising and setting out the response to the consultation can be found on the GMCA website.

To find out more about bus franchising for Greater Manchester please visit


Greater Manchester is the first city-region to consult on a proposed bus franchising scheme.


Buses are vital for Greater Manchester. They’re used for three-out-of-four public transport journeys and thousands of us depend on them to get to work, the shops or services like our local GP.

But bus use is falling. 

Currently in Greater Manchester, individual bus operators decide their own routes, timetables, tickets and standards. In areas they don’t run, the public sector pays to fill in the gaps in the market where it can.

It’s hard to make our buses work together, or with other kinds of public transport, and the fares and tickets available can be confusing.

Buses can be improved and Greater Manchester now has a chance to do buses differently.

We are proposing a franchising scheme for the whole of Greater Manchester.

This would mean that bus services would be under Greater Manchester’s control and they would decide which services would be provided - like the way buses are run in London and some other major cities around the world. We would set the routes, timetables, tickets and standards, while the bus operators would run the services. 

This would allow buses to work better with the rest of our public transport – as part of Our Network– Greater Manchester’s vision for a joined-up transport system.

We are now consulting on the proposed franchising scheme so you can share your views.

Why your views matter


The consultation is about how we think buses in Greater Manchester should be run in the future and whether the proposed franchising scheme should be introduced. The consultation questions are about the proposed franchising scheme, which is how we propose bus franchising would work in practice.

What happens next

This consultation closed on Wednesday 8 January at 11:59pm.

Ipsos MORI is analysing the responses and developing a consultation feedback report, which will be published alongside the GMCA’s response to the consultation.

The Mayor of Greater Manchester will then make a decision as to whether to introduce the proposed scheme. This is currently expected to take place in early 2020.


  • General public


  • Transport