CAMPAIGNING for the Greater Manchester mayoral election is underway  in Bolton with current incumbent Andy Burnham outlining his pledge for an integrated, centrally run bus and tram system while on a visit to Horwich - with the Conservative candidate also visiting the  town recently.

Mr Burnham popped into shops and businesses on Lee Lane to chat about the effects lockdown had on their businesses and how it feels to finally be back serving customers.

Speaking during the visit he outlined that if re-elected the central theme for the next three years would be the public transport network for the region.

He said: “Greater Manchester is world class in many respects but not when it comers to transport.

“It’s the thing that’s holding towns like Bolton back and it’s got to be fixed.

“We need an integrated system on the same principle as London where there’s a cap on what you can spend in a given day, tap in tap out and it doesn’t matter which mode of transport you use.

“For 35 years the franchised bus companies have had the run of the place.

“They decide where they go and what they charge. If we take control we can decide that.”

This Is Lancashire:

Mr Burnham will be challenged in the poll on May 6 by Conservative candidate Laura Evans, pictured right.

She was in Bolton seeing how brownfield sites are being used to regenerate town centre  sites, such as the old Moor Lane bus station. 

She said: “It is great to see the fantastic work being done on brownfield sites, such as the site I visited recently in Bolton.

“The future must be to look at the opportunity that we have to see mixed use sites of retail, leisure, and homes that are in the heart of our towns.

“This is the key to the regeneration of our high streets and leads the way for future developments that will ensure we protect our green belt and use existing infrastructure.

“If elected Mayor I would make sure we had a clear brownfield strategy and work with our communities to make sure we built the right homes in the right places, planting more trees, parks, and green spaces.”

The Liberal Democrat candidate for GM mayor is Simon Lepori.

Among his pledges are refocusing policing back into communities, a transport system that ‘works for Greater Manchester not against it’ and ‘a housing plan that puts people first, not developers’.

He said: “Let us rise up from the ashes of Covid and recession and rebuild Greater Manchester together.”

The final list of candidates for the Greater Manchester Combined Authority mayoral election includes six other candidates.

The other names on the ballot paper will be Nick Buckley, Reform UK, Marcus Farmer, Independent, Melanie Horrocks, Green Party and Stephen Morris will be the English Democrats candidate.

Other candidates Alec Marvel and David Sutcliffe have not specified a description for the ballot paper.