Andy Burnham, has appointed former Cycling and Walking Commissioner, Chris Boardman, in an expanded role as Greater Manchester’s first Transport Commissioner.
Boardman has been tasked with helping to accelerate the delivery of the Bee Network – a fully integrated transport system, including the roll-out of the UK’s largest cycling and walking network.
The appointment reflects the importance of establishing an integrated, affordable and accessible transport system for the city-region. Boardman will attend the newly established Bee Network delivery board, which meets weekly, to ensure that the city-region’s plans stay on track.
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “I am very pleased that Chris Boardman has agreed to become Greater Manchester’s first Transport Commissioner – his work and drive to make our city-region a global player to rival great places such as Copenhagen and New York over the last three years has been inspirational and I know he will apply this same vision in his new job.”
Transport Commissioner, Chris Boardman, said: “I am delighted to take on the role of Transport Commissioner. Our vision for Greater Manchester was never just about delivering quality cycling and walking routes. While they are essential ingredients in making Greater Manchester a better place to grow up, get on and grow old, they are only a part of the solution.
“If we combine our plan for a world-class active travel network, with trams, buses, trains, taxis and private hire, we can give people everything they need to travel around the region without needing to drive. Crucially, that will also help us achieve our goal to be carbon neutral by 2038. Greater Manchester can lead the country in showing how this can be done and I’m excited to play a part in making that happen.”
It was also today revealed that the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) is set to approve the next milestone in getting the first franchised buses on the ground in January 2023, by asking Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) to start the process to let contracts to run franchised bus services in the North West of the city-region, including Wigan and Bolton.
Mr Burnham added: “I said on the very first day of my second term that we urgently need to get our buses working better for people across the city-region. That includes making sure that they are much more affordable, reliable and, most importantly, part of one single integrated ticketing system – as already happens in London. I want this in place as soon as possible and Greater Manchester’s Leaders and I will be asked next week to approve this important next step in our journey.”
TfGM has also today published results from new research which has found that more than half of the residents (54%) living in phase one of the city-region’s proposed cycle hire zone (which has an overall population of 198,000) would consider using the scheme when it launches. Currently, 13% of Greater Manchester’s residents cycle once a week, so the new figures show just how transformational the scheme is likely to be.
More widely, the survey revealed that 4 in 10 people living in or travelling to Greater Manchester would also consider using the scheme. Only 26% of current cycle trips in Greater Manchester are made by women, but of the women surveyed 45% said they will consider using the scheme.
The plan for electric bikes to make up a significant portion of the cycle hire offer also looks to be well founded, as 67% of those who would consider using the scheme said the inclusion of e-bikes would make them more likely to use it.
Mayor Andy Burnham added: “There is clearly a big appetite for Greater Manchester’s cycle hire scheme and plans are now moving at pace to bring this to our streets. TfGM are working closely with Manchester City Council, Salford City Council, Trafford Council and other partners to bring the first phase of this world-class cycle hire scheme to our city-region by November.”
Chris Boardman added: “All the data suggests the cycle hire scheme is likely to lead to a huge increase in the numbers choosing to get around by bike, especially women.
“Ownership, storage and maintenance of a bike are all barriers for many and cycle hire will take that away by offering an affordable, sustainable and healthy transport alternative to hundreds of thousands of residents and visitors. I travel around the region every week, so I am one of the many that can’t wait to personally use the service.”
Phase one of the cycle hire scheme will cover the regional centre, the Etihad stadium, Old Trafford, the Oxford Road cycling and walking corridor, Chorlton, Salford Quays and the University of Salford.