Andy Burnham has said there was now more “alignment” between regional leaders and Whitehall, after Greater Manchester was a big winner in transport, which was announced on Friday night.
Burnham, the region’s metro mayor, had asked for 1 billion. Pound to help develop its London-style Bee Network transport system to integrate area trams and buses. And in a statement from the Treasury Department, it was confirmed that Greater Manchester on Wednesday would be handed over 1.07 billion. Kr. In capital financing for the infrastructure elements of that plan.
“The way I would describe it is that we have presented a powerful case on a London transport system to Manchester, this is a big down payment on it,” Burnham told the PA news agency.
The Labor mayor said he had confidence in the bid, but that the plan was only halfway and that a decision still needed to be made as to whether follow-up revenue funding would be provided to help run more services and reduce fares.
“This is infrastructure and we need services too,” Burnham said.
A further bid has been submitted to the government for help with continued costs, a decision which is not expected until November.
But Burnham said that whether this was granted or not, buses in Greater Manchester would be run internally with the ambition that the entire system would become the first net-zero transport system in the country.
“We are going to put buses under public control and we will integrate them with our trams,” he said.
“So it’s going to happen, but the question is, what type of system will it be when it’s happened? Will it be a run-down system, or will it be a system that has frequency at the London level? So people in London will just show up at a bus stop because they know one will be there in 10 minutes or so, whereas here you have to do it almost by appointment because the level of service is much thinner. So there it is, and there is the critical issue of fares. ”
Burnham were in a fight on Twitter with Labor colleague Neil Coyle, MP for Old Bermondsey and Southwark, on Thursday, when the mayor tweeted a photograph of a train ticket from Manchester to Newton-Le-Willows, Merseyside, which he said was a one- stop 20-minute journey which cost £ 8.
He said in the tweet: “To get higher, we need ticket prices at the London level. Accept nothing less. ”
Coyle said in response: “It’s ‘more expensive’ to have a season ticket from Croydon to central London than Chorley to central Manchester.
“These cheap excavations in London are inaccurate and must stop, not least for anyone interested in Labor doing well, or anyone interested in facts.”
But Burnham said: “We’re making a case here and it’s heard, it feels.”
He said the system “largely runs on renewable energy because we wanted to use the money from the bus side, which is yet to come, to electrify 50% of the bus fleet”, the region’s trams are already running on green electricity.
Burnham said: “It is hugely important, and in fact the vision of the Bee Network would be the country’s first net zero-transport system, because with the best will in the world, the (London) tube is a way of being.
“Our trams are already running on renewable energy, we have the largest light rail system in the country, the fifth largest in Europe, I think, and it is currently running on renewable energy. The idea would be that buses would be the same. ”
Burnham pointed out that he still wanted progress with a leveling agreement submitted to ministers and movement on intercity transport in the north through HS2 and the Northern Powerhouse Rail.
But it emerged from his heavy lobbying at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester earlier this month, where he held meetings with the new equalization secretary, Michael Gove, and the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, had given way.
He said: “It feels like there is a recognition that leveling … we’ll have to be levels to level if you want to. You can not do it from Whitehall, it must be done on earth, and it feels as if we have reached a point where it is now understood.
“(In the early days of devolution, it was a bit Westminster and mayors across, now it feels like there’s an adjustment.”
He added: “It feels like the leveling is entering a new phase that is more delivery-oriented and that I think will create a better sense of alignment between the government at the regional or city-region level and at the national level, because we all want to see the change.
“And it’s a better place to be.”