Greater Manchester's first transport commissioner is appointed

Olympic cyclist Chris Boardman has been appointed as Greater Manchester's first transport commissioner.

Friday, 21st May 2021, 2:06 pm
Updated Friday, 21st May 2021, 2:08 pm
Chris Boardman

He was previously the region's cycling and walking commissioner and has been appointed to the expanded role by Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester and former Leigh MP.

Mr 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.

He will attend the newly established Bee Network delivery board, which meets weekly, to ensure the city-region’s plans stay on track.

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Mr 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.”

Mr 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.”

Greater Manchester Combined Authority 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 published results from new research which found more than half of the people (54 per cent) living in phase one of the city-region’s proposed cycle hire zone would consider using the scheme when it launches. Currently, 13 per cent of Greater Manchester’s residents cycle once a week.

More widely, the survey revealed four in 10 people living in or travelling to Greater Manchester would also consider using the scheme.

Phase one of the cycle hire scheme will cover the regional centre, Etihad stadium, Old Trafford, the Oxford Road cycling and walking corridor, Chorlton, Salford Quays and the University of Salford.

Development costs for the two latest Bee Network active travel schemes are also set to be approved at this month’s Greater Manchester Combined Authority meeting. They are Salford’s Trinity Way/Irwell Street Beeway scheme, which will deliver segregated cycle lanes and widened footpaths, enhanced with trees and planting; and a network of new and upgraded crossing points for the Bee Network in every council area of the city-region.

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