Greater Manchester has been allocated over £1 billion in funding to deliver its “transformational” transport network.
It’s been a long time coming, but Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has revealed that the government has officially confirmed a package of revenue funding from the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlements (CRSTS) for the city-region.
The funding will ultimately pave the way for the highly-anticipated, London-style transport system – the Bee Network.
Although the CRSTS funding allocation of £1.07 billion was initially announced ahead of last year’s autumn Budget, it’s been confirmed this week that it will be supported by £170 million in local contributions, which means there’ll be £1.2 billion worth of investment in local roads, bus, train and tram services over the next five years – with new quality bus corridors, cycling and walking routes and improved transport infrastructure and connectivity for towns and high streets in the region, GMCA says.
The funding will also help boost the city-region’s plans to improve air quality.
It’s set to support a move to a fully-electrified bus fleet, with 50 new zero emission buses expected to serve Bolton and Wigan when the first phase of bus franchising is introduced on 17 September 2023.
Cheaper fares will also be rolled out alongside bus franchising, with adult and children single journey fares capped at £2 and £1 respectively.
Breaking down the funding allocation from this week’s groundbreaking announcement, it was confirmed that Greater Manchester will receive £94.8 million from the government’s Bus Back Better strategy, and the Metrolink will also receive £20.5 million recovery funding to support the continued operation of services for the next six months.
A funding allocation for the city-region’s bus operators, however, is yet to be confirmed.
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has called for “more certainty over recovery funding”, with around £70 million said to be needed to keep tram and bus services operating at the current level throughout this financial year – especially as a “stable and reliable” public transport network is central to the delivery of the Bee Network.
“This funding will allow us to bring forward an improved bus service, with new buses, lower fares and more frequent services,” Mayor Andy Burnham said of the funding announcement.
“However, as welcome as [the] announcement is, the revenue funding is about half of what we bid for, and we still don’t know how much recovery funding bus operators will get to keep services running.
“We have been working closely with government on a funding model that will enable us to stabilise, rebuild and ultimately transform public transport, but can only deliver the Bee Network if we have a sound foundation to build upon and without a longer-term recovery settlement, the threat of cuts to services still looms large.
“This is the final piece of the puzzle that will really enable us to get on and deliver the Bee Network and this is the case I will make to government as we continue to work together to unlock Greater Manchester’s full potential.”
Ancoats restaurant publicly exposes ‘angry influencer’ after spat over free meal
A restaurant in Ancoats has publicly exposed an influencer (twice…) who tried to ask for a free meal in exchange for exposure.
Lucky Ramen, a tiny spot on Blossom Street that has had queues forming for its noodle soups and Asian brunches, has become embroiled in a spat with an unnamed social media star.
It all started yesterday when the restaurant went public with a message it had received, which was requesting a complimentary brunch in exchange for a post on Instagram.
Lucky Ramen shared the message and wrote that they were ‘thrilled you appreciate our food’ but that the team ‘appreciate paying customers even more’.
They described it as ‘another thrilling DM from a blue tick superstar asking for a free feast in exchange for an Insta post’.
Which was already dramatic enough, but the influencer in question has been quite cross that Lucky Ramen in Ancoats has taken a swipe at them publicly.
It appears they’ve followed up with a much less polite message, saying the independent business is ‘bang out of order’ for trying to expose them.
The influencer asked: “So you think people like us don’t deserve to eat for FREE???”
They argued that they were trying to promote the restaurant for free, offering ‘time, labour, effort and positive energy’ in exchange for the free meal as compensation.
The unnamed user then said: “Your arrogance makes me sick. Haha very funny, you got a couple of giggles but we’re the ones that are laughing.
“We go where we want, eat what we want and lastly – it’s all for free! WHOS LAUGHING NOW???”
Of course, Lucky Ramen hasn’t left that message in the DMs either, once again sharing screenshots on its Instagram page.
And they’ve chosen to smack the influencer with pure sarcasm in retaliation…
They wrote: “Dear angry influencer. Okay, aaalright… you got us! We’re truly sorry for attempting to uncover your behind-the-scenes tactics yesterday and, you know, us trying to make a living and sh*t.
“But hold on, the new message we just got deserves more than a standing ovation!
“This follow-up DM is a total game-changer, and guess what? We’re now rolling out the red carpet for all the free meals you desire. And that’s not all – our chefs are ready to part ways with their Crocs and Birkenstocks, throwing them in as an extra bonus for your tender love and labour! Even my dad’s medal of honour from the Japan war is up for grabs – he’s feeling generous the old geezer, and he’s even contemplating wheeling in his new eco-friendly hybrid wheelchair for you!
“Just hit us up with another DM, let us know when you’re swinging by to collect your well-deserved goodies, and don’t forget to leave a glowing 5-star review on both Google and TripAdvisor.
“We appreciate your understanding and, once again, sorry for the “inconvenience” we caused.
“Bon appétit + Arigato-the-f*ck-outta-here.”
Will the influencer reply again? Someone pass the popcorn.
‘Dangerous’ disqualified driver jailed after crashing into funfair in Wigan
A “dangerous” disqualified driver has been handed jail time after crashing into a funfair in Wigan last year.
Jordan O’Reilly, from Platt Bridge in Wigan, has been sentenced after pleading guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, driving without insurance, perverting the course of justice, and failing to provide a specimen.
The 21-year-old was given three years behind bars following a trial at Bolton Crown Court yesterday (29 February).
O’Reilly’s sentencing comes after he crashed his vehicle into a funfair in Wigan while trying to evade a police pursuit back in October 2023.
#JAILED I A disqualified driver who led police on a chase and crashed into a crowded funfair in #Wigan has been jailed for 3 years
After failing to stop for a Greater Manchester Police (GMP) patrol, O’Reilly then drove in excess of the speed limit and overtook a number of vehicles, all before proceeding to abandon his own moving vehicle to escape.
The vehicle O’Reilly abandoned then carried on moving, and shockingly, ended up colliding with two members of the public at the funfair – with one woman sadly left with “serious injuries” as a result.
But thanks to the help of members of the public, O’Reilly was identified as the driver and later arrested by police.
A ‘dangerous’ disqualified driver has been jailed after crashing into funfair in Wigan / Credit: GMP
After he was released on bail, it was established that he had attempted to engage others into assisting him in evading prosecution.
Speaking following O’Reilly’s sentencing this week, PC Wood, of GMP Transport Unit, commented: “O’Reilly’s disregard to his driving disqualification and actions behind the wheel that day were reckless and dangerous, and he put countless people at risk of harm. The injuries caused to the victim show the consequences dangerous driving has on other people.
“GMP would like to thank the members of the public who ensured that O’Reilly faced justice for his actions.”
PC Wood also took a moment to remind the Greater Manchester public that if they know someone who is driving whist dangerously, or while disqualified or unfit to be doing so, then they should report it to GMP.