The next few years are set to be transformative for the Greater Manchester public transport network after funding was secured for the region in October’s Autumn Budget.
In the Budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak officially announced the ‘levelling-up package’, a £7 billion investment into urban transport in cities across the country. Greater Manchester is set to benefit the most from the package, securing just over £1bn of investment to spend on improving the region’s transport network.
Greater Manchester Mayor and local hero Andy Burnham has promised to deliver a completely carbon neutral transport network to the region by 2031 with the funding, featuring a fleet of all-electric buses and trams. Burnham has described the bid as ‘game-changing’, and an ‘important first step’ towards transforming Greater Manchester’s transport system into one similar to that in the capital.
Burnham also unveiled plans for a brand-new network of hire bikes he is looking to integrate into the city. Around 1,500 docked bukes and 300 e-bikes will be introduced in the first part of the scheme by mid-2022. The ‘Bee Bikes’ are set to make getting in and around the city a lot cheaper and more environmentally friendly.
The introduction of these schemes follows the news earlier this year that the Manchester bus network would be brought back under public control. Following his re-election as Mayor earlier in the year, Burnham vowed to speed up his plans for an improved, London-style transport network whilst also aiming to accelerate the bus franchise by 2024, and so far, the region seems on course to achieve just that.
Burnham had this to say after securing funding in the Budget; This is an important first step towards a London-style public transport system for Greater Manchester and we welcome this announcement from the Chancellor.
We believe it shows the Government is listening to the case that Greater Manchester is making.
As welcome as it is, infrastructure investment alone will not make levelling up feel real to the people of Greater Manchester.
That will only happen when the frequency and coverage of bus services are increased, and fares are lowered to London levels.
So, we are now hopeful that the Government will soon build on this foundation and match this allocation with revenue funding to make our Bee Network vision a reality.”
But what does this widescale change to the region’s transport network mean for the Greater Manchester property market?
Well, good transport links is constantly featured as a key feature for those moving to a new home, so a more accessible and affordable transport network is a huge plus for people looking to move to Greater Manchester. Properties within closer proximity to these transport links also will usually benefit from a premium compared to a similar property that is less accessible. According to Nationwide, the average premium for a property close to transport links is £11,000, proof of just how important transport links are when it comes to purchasing a property.
In a property market that is already experiencing rising house prices and rents, the introduction of these new public transport schemes will only bolster the already impressive economy in Greater Manchester, allowing the region to continue its impressive growth and solidify its status as one of the UK’s leading property investment hotspots.
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