In Oldham, bus riders tire of high fares and unreliable service


On a windswept Tuesday morning in Greater Manchester, you might expect the local buses to be full of passengers commuting to work, school and college. Yet taking the No 83 from Manchester to Oldham, the double-decker was almost empty – and the cost of a single fare £4.40.

A Guardian analysis has found that while bus passengers in London pay only £1.50 for a single fare, elsewhere in the country prices are significantly higher and services more fragmented, leading to increasing numbers of locals abandoning the bus as a form of public transport.

Oldham is the perfect example of this phenomenon: here the average salary for 2018 was £25,000, compared with £37,000 in London, and yet single fares are almost three times higher than those in the capital. As a result, in Oldham and throughout Greater Manchester bus usage has dropped by 40% in the 30 years since the buses were deregulated.

Read the feature in the Guardian.

[This piece was published on 05/05/19]