Go North West and First Manchester to Operate Bee Network School Buses

Go North West and First Manchester have been awarded contracts to operate school bus services for the second phase of Greater Manchester’s Bee Network.

Go North West has been awarded three contracts and First Manchester has been awarded six to cover a total of 11  schools in Oldham, Rochdale, Manchester and Bury.

These franchised bus services will commence operations on Monday 25 March, 2024.

A yellow, Bee Network school bus
A yellow, Bee Network school bus

These contracts are part of Transport for Greater Manchester’s (TfGM) move to bring buses back under local control through three phases of franchising.

The first phase, covering Bolton, Wigan and parts of Manchester, Salford and Bury went live on 24 September 2023 and has already delivered service improvements, alongside an increase in the number of people travelling by bus.

In addition to the newly awarded contracts to Go North West and First Manchester, the second phase of the rollout will also deliver school bus services run by Stagecoach, Vision and Diamond.

Under these new contracts, there will be no changes to the schools served or the number of buses used.

As with all franchised Bee Network services, the contracts prioritise reliability, and operators will be subject to financial penalties for poor performance.

Anne Marie Purcell, TfGM’s Bus Franchising Director, said:

“There continues to be a high level of interest in the Bee Network bus contracts and we saw a strong response from operators to run school bus services. Regular, reliable school bus services are vital for young people getting to and from school and we made performance and reliability a key part of the contract award process to make sure that is the case.

“Both Go North West and First Manchester provided extremely strong submissions and we are looking forward to working with them over the coming months and years as the Bee Network continues to develop and we work together to provide the best possible bus services we can for everyone in Greater Manchester.”

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