Chris Boardman appointed Greater Manchester’s first transport commissioner

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has appointed former cycling and walking commissioner Chris Boardman in an expanded role as Greater Manchester’s first transport commissioner.

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

“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,” said Burnham.

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.”

TfGM has also published results from new research which has found that more than half of the residents (54%) living in phase one of the city-region’s proposed cycle hire zone (which has an overall population of 198,000) would consider using the scheme when it launches. Currently, 13% of Greater Manchester’s residents cycle once a week.

More widely, the survey revealed that four in ten people living in or travelling to Greater Manchester would also consider using the scheme. Only 26% of current cycle trips in Greater Manchester are made by women, but 45% of those who said they will consider using the scheme are female.

The plan for electric bikes to make up a significant portion of the cycle hire offer also looks to be well-founded, as 67% of those who would consider using the scheme said the inclusion of e-bikes would make them more likely to use it.

“There is clearly a big appetite for Greater Manchester’s cycle hire scheme and plans are now moving at pace to bring this to our streets,” Burnham added. “TfGM is working closely with Manchester City Council, Salford City Council, Trafford Council and other partners to bring the first phase of this world-class cycle hire scheme to our city-region by November.”

Boardman added: “All the data suggests the cycle hire scheme is likely to lead to a huge increase in the numbers choosing to get around by bike, especially women. Ownership, storage and maintenance of a bike are all barriers for many and cycle hire will take that away by offering an affordable, sustainable and healthy transport alternative to hundreds of thousands of residents and visitors. I travel around the region every week, so I am one of the many that can’t wait to personally use the service.”

Phase one of the cycle hire scheme will cover the regional centre, the 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. The first is Salford’s Trinity Way/Irwell Street Beeway scheme which will deliver segregated cycle lanes and widened footpaths, enhanced with trees and planting. The second is the GM Bee Network Crossings scheme which will provide a network of new and upgraded crossing points for the Bee Network in every council area of the city-region, making on-foot travel safer and easier.

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