New fares cap comes into force from September 2022
In three months time, Greater Manchester will take a step closer towards re-regulating its buses. Though franchised operations will commence in 2025, it has taken back control of some of its bus fares.
From September 2022, there will be a cap on most of the City Region’s bus fares. Originally pencilled in for August 2023, the Mayor of Greater Manchester has agreed to bring the cap forward 11 months.
At present, a modest trip from Hey Farm to Ashton-under-Lyne gives you little change off a five pound note. A shorter journey, say Ashton-under-Lyne to Dukinfield, is a good 50p north of £2.00. As for day rover tickets, you can forget about paying less than a fiver for an all-operator ticket.
For travel inside Greater Manchester, the maximum single fare will be £2.00. On the 346, that’s 60p off the present single fare between Ashton-under-Lyne Interchange and The Albion Hotel stop. Or 30p off for children. If you catch three or more buses, there will be a daily cap of £5.00. That’s a saving of £1.40 compared with the price of an Any Bus Day Saver ticket.
Cross-boundary travel may involve paying the £2.00 fare in Greater Manchester, then the fare for part of the journey outside the City Region. Operators may offer their own fares and rover tickets for cross-boundary travel.
(Soon to be) Frequently Asked Questions
What if I have a standard Disabled Persons’ Concessionary Pass (not a Concessionary Plus pass)?
If you have a standard Concessionary Pass under the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme, the most you would pay for your fare in the AM peak is a £1.00 with a daily cap of £2.50.
What about my Pensioners’ Concessionary Pass?
In the weekday peaks, the £5.00 cap will apply if you travel before 9.30 am. It’ll still be free outside the weekday peaks as normal.
What stands in the way of the fare cap going ahead?
Any disagreement between TfGM [Transport for Greater Manchester] and the Department for Transport, and/or bus operators.
What if I travel from Glossop to Stalybridge?
(Please note that other cross-boundary journeys are available like Bolton to Bamber Bridge on the 125 route) On the 237, there’s a chance you might pay Stagecoach Manchester’s fare from Glossop up to the Derbyshire/Greater Manchester boundary. Once past the Tameside MBC sign, TfGM’s capped single fare applies. Which is a steal between Longdendale and Ashton-under-Lyne, as it costs more than £2.00 to get from Armentieres Square to Bower Fold these days.
Is the £2.00 fare per hour or per bus?
The £2.00 fare will be per bus. Instead of buying a FirstDay ticket for the entire 409 route, a return journey from Ashton-under-Lyne to Rochdale will be £4.00. The same as it would do if you travel from Ashton-under-Lyne to Hathershaw. If you wish to break your journey and rejoin the 409 at any point on the route, the £5.00 daily cap comes into its own.
What about my System One travel cards or GetMeThere passes?
From September 2022, it should be ‘business as usual’ in the short to medium term. Plans to harmonise weekly, monthly and annual season tickets (superseding a plethora of single operator passes) may come to fruition when franchised operations commence. For full multimodal travel, this is subject to the agreement of Britain’s rail operators as well as bus operators and Metrolink.
When can I buy my first Hopper style tickets?
Probably 2025, once franchised operations begin.
What about family groups?
There are no plans as yet, but a fares cap on group saver tickets and group single fares is a good idea!
What about my Jack Russell Terrier or my cousin’s Springer Spaniel?
As far as we know, dog fares fall outside of the present remit and will be set by present-day operators as of now. Then again, capping a doggo’s daily cap at £1.50 is another good idea to consider.
One small step
The £5.00 daily cap is a modest step towards Transport for London and NEXUS Integrated Transport Authority area style multi-modal fares. A transitional one before we’re able to spend a fiver a day across all three modes.
In the Manchester Evening News, the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “The decision to bring forward the new lower flat fares for Greater Manchester is driven by the cost of living crisis and we just want to help people now. That’s why we’ve brought forward the plan.”
With fuel prices rising dramatically, the need for cheaper and more reliable public transport is greater than ever.
- Maximum single fare of £2.00 (or £1.00 for children);
- £5.00 daily cap (or £2.50 for children) on all journeys made in a single day;
- Cheaper fares below £2.00 (or £1.00) may continue to be offered by operators;
- Fares cap brought forward by 11 months;
- All of the above subject to operators’ and HM Government approval.
Before I go…
What do you think of the fares cap? Will it make occasional travel by bus a little cheaper? Would you be more willing to get the bus? Feel free to comment.
S.V., 16 June 2022.