Museum of Transport, Greater Manchester
Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority & Executive
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On 1st April 1974, the role of the Passenger Transport Authority was transferred to Greater Manchester County Council ("GMC"), to which the Executive was responsible. This change arose from reorganisation of local government in England and Wales. Consistent with this reorganisation and in accordance with the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Area Order 1973, the Executive became the Executive for the area of the Greater Manchester County ("the GMC area") instead of the former SELNEC designated area. Its name was changed to the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive.
Rising inflation and a reduction in government grants led to policy changes.
In some districts, parts of which were in the former SELNEC designated area, the Councils chose to purchase Greater Manchester concessionary permits, covering travel within Greater Manchester together with an extension to the old boundary line.
Fare adjustments introduced in July 1973 and February 1974 reduced the number of separate monetary values within the fare scales operated by the Executive.
On 1st April 1974, a flat concessionary fare of 2p per bus trip for elderly persons and children in the Greater Manchester area was introduced.
The announcement of the 'Silent Rider' high performance battery bus jointly developed by Chloride Technical Limited and the Executive received substantial publicity throughout the world and attracted many overseas visitors. In addition, the "Centreline" high performance battery bus, developed by Joseph Lucas (Group Services) Limited, was successfully operated in service. These were the only two types of high performance battery bus operating in the country.
The Executive's film "A pretty Fair Week" which was aimed at discouraging vandalism and hooliganism on buses was widely shown to selected groups in the presence of an Executive officer.
Information panels were erected at many bus stops giving both time-table details, and in central Manchester, an overall "where to board your bus" guide to bus destinations from various points in the city. More bus information was displayed at rail stations and bus station signage was redesigned.
The "Centreline" midi-bus service linking Manchester's two main rail stations was introduced in July 1974.
Dial-a-Ride Limited launched an extensive demand responsive transport system in Sale.
1974 was the 150th anniversary of public transport in Greater Manchester and to celebrate this, an omnibus parade was held on 19th October, with vehicles ranging from the horse bus of 1890 to modern double deckers. It was followed by an "open day" at Hyde Road Works on 20th October, which was attended by over 45,000 visitors.
In February the then Minister for Transport Industries visited Manchester and indicated that all transport planning should assume that the Picc-Vic project would go ahead.
Construction of a new garage, to be called Tameside, commenced on 17th March 1975. Designed to accommodate 150 buses, it was scheduled for completion by the end of 1976.
By March 69% of the Executive's fleet was suitable for one man operation.
Over a third of all vehicles had been equipped with radios by 31st March 2005, including all all-night service vehicles.
On April 1st a Central Government Block Grant (Transport Supplementary Grant) replaced grants paid direct to PTE's and other highway authorities and transport operators.
April saw the introduction of Almex ticket machines which were introduced to replace the Fare Box and Set Right ticketing systems.
In August concessionary fares were increased from 2p to 4p. Other fares went up by an average of 45%.
In November a 'SaverSeven' weekly ticket was launched giving unlimited bus travel within the County for £2.50.
'Silent Rider' and 'Centreline', both battery powered buses, started in operation.
'Bus News', in which details of bus/rail service alterations, traffic delays etc. was launched on Radio Manchester.
Individual service bus guides replacing timetable leaflets were introduced.
On January 1stThe Executive acquired Lancashire United Transport at a cost of £2.6m.
April saw the extension of the SaverSeven ticket to include all rail travel within the County.
In July Mr. David Graham replaced Mr. G.A. (Tony) Harrison as Director General. Tony Harrison took up the post of Chief Executive at GMC.
On 1st November the Executive acquired the Godfrey Abbott coaching Group. November 1st also saw the opening of the Altrincham bus/train/car interchange scheme.
The recruitment section announced that despite advertising there was still a shortage of platform and maintenance staff.
The 'Picc-Vic' line was shelved.
Mr. David Silverman (Conservative) replaced Mr. George Mann (Labour) as Chairman of the Transportation Committee of Greater Manchester Council.
In September fares were increased by an average of 11.5%.
A new rail station was opened at Brinnington near Stockport, the first to be opened in the Greater Manchester area since 1938.
In July fares were increased by 11%.
A new bus station at Rochdale became operational.
Hattersley rail station was opened.
Industrial action by bus crews reduced service reliability.
Due to the fuel tanker drivers' strike and oil shortages some restrictions were placed on bus services.
A revenue protection unit was formed in an attempt to check abuse on fare collection.
A severe winter with un-gritted roads led to reductions in bus services.
In July, fares were increased by an average of 15%.
In September the new Arndale bus station was opened.
In November following the biggest publicity campaign ever undertaken by the Executive, the ClipperCard ticketing scheme was launched. By March 1980 sales had reached 70,000 per week, SaverSales in 1979 were averaging 50,000 per week. Sales of pre-purchased tickets accounted for 25% of total adult revenue.
For the first time in 4 years, the 1979 pay award saw the return of free collective bargaining.
An attendance bonus for platform staff was introduced in an attempt to encourage improved attendance and time-keeping.
British Rail received parliamentary powers for the 'Castlefield Curve'.
In January fares were increased by 14.6%.
In March the Bury bus / rail interchange became operational, it was officially opened on 9th July by Princess Alexandra.
In April and November phases 1 and 2 of the new Stockport bus station were opened.
August saw fare increases of 15% and the introduction of 2 new ClipperCards; Shop-n-Save and Teentravel.
Unemployment in the County increased from 77,000 April 1980 to 141,30 March 1981.
British Rail published proposals for opening a new passenger rail link between Windsor Bridge (Salford) and Deansgate (Manchester).
Mr. Ken Hickman (Labour) replaced Mr. David Silverman (Conservative) as the Chairman of the Passenger Transport Committee.
In January Oldham (town centre) bus station was opened.
In March Stockport bus station was completed.
In April, an experimental reduced fare scheme was introduced on the Ashton New Road corridor.
In August the County Council introduced a fares freeze.
On 1st September Oldham's (Clegg Street) bus station was opened.
November saw the opening of Wythenshawe's new bus station.
One man operations now extended to over 90% of the Executive's bus services.
New livery was introduced on the bus fleet (White, Orange and Brown).
Unemployment in the County increased from 141,300 April 1981 to 171,500 March 1982.
The Hazel Grove rail electrification scheme was completed.
During the year staffing levels were reduced by 944, of which 824 left under the provisions of the Executive's voluntary redundancy scheme.
A number of short strikes by staff concerning garage closures and reductions in uneconomic operations took place.
In December the Shop-n-Save ClipperCard was renamed the Off-Peak ClipperCard. The Concessionary ClipperCard was introduced.
The County Council, after taking legal advice, found that within current legislation they were unable to maintain a fares freeze and in April increased fares by 15%. The Saver Monthly was introduced.
Industrial action on the railways in January and February and June and July caused widespread disruption.
Approximately 50% of staff were absent on 22nd September, the TUC's Day of Action in support of the Health Workers.
The Executive organised a major bus transport operation when Pope John Paul II visited Manchester.
Introduced for the summer season was a Peak Wayfarer ticket giving cheaper access to leisure destinations in North Cheshire and the Peak District.
Attempts failed to get a second reading for a parliamentary Bill which would have extended concessionary travel to the unemployed.
Working hours for platform and catering staff were reduced from 40 to 39 on a 'without loss of pay' basis.
Mr. Ian Buttress was given a dual role: Principal Transport Advisor to the GMC and Secretary to the Executive.
In February fares for passengers travelling between 1-2½ miles were reduced by 34%. The Teen Travel ClipperCard was extended for se by all 16-19 year olds.
In April the Travel Companions Group was launched.
The GMC's Rail Study Group's initial evaluations indicated that light rapid transit with surface links be approved for Structure Plan purposes.
The reconstruction of Ashton bus station was completed.
Christmas time saw the opening of the new bus station at Manchester Airport.
In December four one day strikes over pay settlements took place at most depots.
Bus services were provided free of charge on 25th and 26th December.
Plans for new bus stations at Leigh and Wigan were proposed.
The working week for inspectors and traffic staff was reduced from 39 to 38 hours, on a self financing basis.
April saw the completion of Radcliffe's bus station reconstruction.
In June an under 16 years proof of age card was introduced, at the same time the age at which children could travel free was raised from 3 to 5 years.
Manchester's 'Centreplan' pedestrian and traffic scheme was completed on 22nd July.
New low cost experimental rail stations were opened at Humphrey Park (Stretford) and Mills Hill (Middleton).
An overtime ban by craftsmen and a two day stoppage took place during pay negotiations.
Mr. Guy Harkin (Labour) became the first Chairman of the joint board Passenger Transport Authority, (shadowing the Transportation Committee until 1st April 1986).
In February Post Offices began to sell the PTE's SaverSeven and ClipperCard pre-purchased bus tickets.
In July a 'Localine' scheme for the mobility impaired, which comprised of two Leyland Tiger Cubs with tail lifts, went into operation in Wythenshawe.
In September a Manchester Ring and Ride dial-a-ride bus service for the mobility impaired was established, sister schemes in Wigan, Tameside and Bolton were also being considered.
Discussions took place between the PTE, the PTA, British Rail and Manchester Airport regarding a proposed airport rail link.
Financed under Section 20, new British Rail class 142 'Pacer' diesel units went into service.
To promote the use of ClipperCards and Saver tickets, the Executive for the first time used television in an advertising campaign, under the theme 'They cut the fares, they cut the fuss'.
A new low cost rail station at Flowery Field (Hyde) was opened. Other stations were opened at Smithy Bridge (near Littleborough), Derker (Oldham), and Ryder Brow and Belle Vue.
For the third year running there were no bus fare increases.
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