Passengers will come first under plans to transform public transport in Bolton.

Buses operating in Bolton will be the first to come under public control.

And today Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham confirmed the operators of the first bus services to be brought under public control in more than 30 years.

In summer, the idea received the green light after a legal challenge by Rotala and Stagecoach went to the High Court, then on to the Court of Appeal.

It allowed the authorities to accept bids for two large contracts covering Bolton and Wigan, and a number of smaller contracts covering both boroughs and parts of Bury and Salford.

On Friday, flanked by a trio of council leaders, Mr Burnham confirmed the operators of the first bus services to be brought under public control since their deregulation in 1986.

The two large contracts were awarded to Go North West, while the smaller contracts were awarded to Diamond.

All of these franchises come into action on September 24 next year, with Bury, Oldham, Rochdale and North Manchester to follow in early 2024 and Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and South Manchester to follow at the end of 2024. The operators for these bus services are to be confirmed.

Mr Burnham said: "Thank you to all the companies who came forward. There was huge interest in this process. And of course congratulations go to Go North West and Diamond."

Although the authorities are to be responsible for prices, tickets, routes and timetables, the passengers are to be at the centre of the operation of public transport, Mr Burnham said.

The Mayor revealed the operators are to be assessed against several targets, including customer complaints, with poor performance resulting in penalties.

Mr Burnham said: "Now, if you're standing at a bus stop and the bus doesn't turn up, there's little you're able to do. 

"In the new world, you're able to do something."

Bolton Council leader Martyn Cox, who was also in attendance, said: "Today is a day of celebration for Bolton and Wigan. We're delighted it's happened.

"It might be one of the last things we've done this year, but it's one of the most significant things we've done this year."

Other announcements made at GMCA HQ included a plan for the rail network to be integrated into the Bee Network after the integration of buses and trams.

By the end of the decade, subject to an agreement with the government, lines such as Manchester to Southport could be integrated in a similar style to the Overground in London.