THE poor state of public transport was a major reason why Bury people voted so strongly against, if our straw poll of locals is representative.

John Schofield, aged 43, of Malvern Avenue, Bury, said the charge would not affect him as he did not have to drive to Manchester.

But he added: “I wouldn’t have minded if the money went on public transport which was not run for profit, but the bus companies are in private hands, so where’s the money going: services or shareholders?”

One of the few Yes voters we could find was Nick Chew, aged 41, of Victoria Street, Ainsworth.

“I am disappointed with the selfishness and short-sightedness of those who voted No,” he said.

“However, I can see why people voted against, when most of the money would go into the pockets of the shareholders of privatised bus services.

“As a public transport user, I know how terrible the services currently are and do not believe any amount of money will improve them because they are run by short-sighted, greedy, shoddy operators.

“The only reason I voted Yes was because of the environmental considerations.”

Fellow Ainsworth resident Carl Taylor, aged 50, of Moorside Avenue, said: “I want to see better public transport, but I don’t think we should persecute the motorist as an excuse to do it.

“And I don’t think it will work: the people who will pay it will still end up in a traffic jam.

“One way of tackling congestion is for parents not to drive their kids one mile to school.

“When Bury Corporation ran the transport here, the buses were always on time.

“We should get the same treatment as those in London are getting.”

Another No voter was Lee Giles,aged 45, of New George Street, Bury. “It’s not just a vote against the congestion charge, it shows how the travelling public in this area have no confidence with the GMPTA to pull it off, considering the services and how badly run they are.

“First Bus rhymes with Worst Bus.”

Similar sentiments were voiced by Simon Gracey, aged 38, of Harwood Walk, Tottington, who also voted No.

“Public transport should be improved and run on time, but it’s ridiculous at the moment.

“It would not encourage me to get out of my car. I used to use public transport, and I don’t believe the promises that were made.

“With the price of buses, it’s cheaper for me to drive my car to work. If it’s good enough for the Government to spend £20 billion to improve London transport, why can they not spend it here?”

Although a Yes voter, Sandra Firth, of Horne Street, Bury, accepted the people’s decision.

“As a public transport user, I considered the matter very carefully and it seemed to be the right decision.

“However, I don’t think I was given the full story; a lot of it was propaganda, biased in favour of a Yes vote.

“In hindsight, my decision was not very well informed. But it’s the right decision, because so many people voted.”