Night buses to be rolled out across Greater Manchester's Bee Network

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The next phase of the Bee Network will roll out in March. Credit: ITV Granada

With one month to go until the Bee Network rolls out in Oldham, Rochdale, parts of Bury and Manchester, Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham is set to reveal important details about this next phase.

The Bee Network was launched in Greater Manchester in September 2023, and means the region now has publicly-controlled bus services for the first time since the 1980s when services were deregulated everywhere outside London.

It is a long term plan to join up bus, tram and train services, giving people one joined up transport network, like London, where one ticket can be used on multiple modes of transport.

The first phase in September saw 50 new electric buses launched in Bolton, Wigan and parts of Salford and Bury.

The Bee Network is rolling out across Greater Manchester Credit: PA

The Metrolink tram service is part of the Bee Network, with 99 stops and a network of lines across Greater Manchester.

Bee Network bus services will be planned to link up with Metrolink, local rail and the cycling and walking network.

Rail services will join the network in 2030.

There are also ideas for an underground and tram-train services, where Metrolink can run on the same lines as trains.

Earlier this month it was confirmed night buses are set to arrive in parts of Greater Manchester this year, with plans for a trial being finalised by Transport for Greater Manchester.

Some night buses already run in the region, largely south Manchester, but the new plans would see them operate in areas where Bee Network buses are currently in operation, namely Wigan and Bolton and parts of Bury, Salford and Manchester.

It is hoped that the night buses will be a boost to Greater Manchester’s night time economy.

Mayor Andy Burnham launched the Bee Network September 2023. Credit: GMCA

The Bee Network being under public ownership means the Greater Manchester Combined Authority has more control over fares, timetables and routes by issuing franchises to private firms to operate services.

The public will have the power to pass comment and rate journeys, which will affect the financial contracts.

On 24 March 2024 the second phase of bus franchising in Greater Manchester will roll out in Oldham, Rochdale and parts of Bury and Manchester, following the launch of the Bee Network in September 2023.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, Transport Commissioner Vernon Everitt and Leader of Bury Council, Eamonn O’Brien will be giving important updates about the new roll out on Monday 19 February.

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