A NEW interchange for buses and trains could be built in Bolton as part of a £3 billion scheme to improve the region's public transport.

The plans, which were revealed yesterday, will see the Moor Lane bus terminal moved to land close to the Trinity Street train station.

The Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) has drawn up the proposals as part of its plan to introduce congestion charges of up to £5 a day on roads leading into Manchester.

The plans, which will have to be put to a public consultation and then agreed by the Department for Transport (DfT), would see the £3 billion invested in bus and train services ahead of the introduction of road pricing, which could be as early as 2012.

The integrated transport scheme would also include creating a segregated bus lane for the number eight route, from Bolton, through Farnworth and Pendlebury to Manchester, more carriages on jam-packed trains into Victoria and Piccadilly and extra school buses to reduce traffic during the school run.

Detailed plans for the interchange have not yet been drawn up, but Cllr Nick Peel, Bolton spokesman for the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority (GMPTA), said the scheme was a priority.

"This is a massive scheme, which would involve relocating Moor Lane bus station to near the train station," he said.

"It would probably be in the railway triangle, on the surface car park off Great Moor Street, but it is only in the very early stages at the moment.

"It would cause disruption while building work is going on but we have to look at this in the context of other developments.

"People will grumble while it goes on, but the end result would be worth it."

Members of the public will be consulted about the transport proposals before AGMA makes its bid to access the cash through the DfT's Transport Innovation Fund.

Under the proposed congestion charging scheme, people would pay £2 to drive into an outer zone encircling the city, near the busy M60, with a further levy of £1 to get into the centre.

An extra £1 would be charged to leave each of the zones, but motorists who use the roads outside peak times would not pay a penny.

There would be no charges at weekends or on weekdays before 7am, between 9.30am and 4.30am, or after 6.30pm.

Automatic number plate recognition cameras positioned around Manchester would aim to catch motorists trying to dodge the charge.

Lord Peter Smith, chairman of AGMA, said: "People travelling from Bolton to Manchester for work would not have to pay the congestion charge because they will have a choice to use quality public transport.

"Bolton will see a significant investment, which will greatly improve services and make travelling by public transport a more pleasant experience."