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Greater Manchester unveils latest transport plans from Bee Network

Greater Manchester unveils latest transport plans from Bee Network

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

Since 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, passenger numbers and service quality have improved.

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

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

© Transport for Greater Manchester

Looking ahead, a major commitment from the Mayor 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 for adults and £10 for children. In addition, the introduction of a ‘hopper’ fare will allow unlimited transfers within an hour for the price of a single ticket, further increasing affordability and convenience for passengers.

Greater Manchester is also focusing on creating the UK’s largest active travel network, with £6.8m allocated to further improvements to walking, cycling and cycling. The aim is to ensure that 95% of residents live within 400 metres of high-quality active travel routes. The successful Starling Bank cycle hire scheme, which has already seen more than 810,000 journeys, is set to expand, providing more opportunities for integrated travel.

Bee Network also plans to integrate eight major rail routes by 2028, facilitating seamless travel between buses, trains and trams. This integration will include new, environmentally friendly trains, improved facilities and improved accessibility. In addition, 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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