Transport for Greater Manchester has unveiled its latest transport plans as part of its Bee Network initiative.

Since the Bee Network launched its first franchised bus services in Wigan and Bolton in September 2023, and in parts of Bury, Salford, and north Manchester in March 2024, ridership and service quality has improved.

Over the past six months, bus ridership increased by 5% with a record of over 849,000 passenger journeys recorded in a single week in May. The punctuality of these services has also improved, with more than 80% of buses running on time, a significant increase from the previous year’s 68.7%.

A Bee Network bus in Bolton where franchised services are already operating
A Bee Network bus in Bolton where franchised services are already operating

Looking ahead, a key mayoral commitment to make bus travel more affordable will come into effect in January 2025. New fare structures will reduce costs, with seven-day unlimited travel available for 20 GBP for adults and 10 GBP for children. Additionally, the introduction of a ‘hopper’ fare will allow unlimited transfers within one hour for the price of a single ticket, further enhancing affordability and convenience for passengers.

Greater Manchester is also focusing on creating the largest active travel network in the UK, with 6.8 million GBP allocated for new walking, wheeling, and cycling improvements. The goal is to ensure that 95% of residents live within 400 meters of high-quality active travel routes. The successful Starling Bank bike hire scheme, which has seen over 810,000 rides, is set to expand, offering more opportunities for integrated travel.

The Bee Network also plans to integrate eight key train routes by 2028, facilitating seamless travel across buses, trains, and trams. This integration will include new environmentally friendly trains, improved facilities, and better accessibility. Additionally, the network aims to enhance the Metrolink system, with new tram-train lines and potential underground services being considered to support long-term growth.


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