Manchester’s franchised Bee Network launches
Greater Manchester’s franchised bus network, the Bee Network, is now up and running.
The first Bee Network buses left depots in Bolton and Wigan this morning.
The mobilisation marked a culmination of months of preparation by a team of 600 people at Go North West, which won the first two contracts to operate Bee Network buses. Go North West’s parent company, The Go-Ahead Group, deployed bus drivers from across the UK to help with this weekend’s launch.
A fleet of 320 buses will operate 50 routes – the first piece in place of a network eventually intended to span buses, trams, trains and bikes across the city.
The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, was at Bolton’s Weston Street bus depot to see off the first bus, along with Christian Schreyer, Chief Executive of The Go-Ahead Group.
“This is, of course, only the start of the Bee Network and there is a lot of work still to come” – Nigel Featham, Managing Director, Go North West
Nigel Featham, Managing Director, Go North West, said: “It’s been a real pleasure to welcome the first customers on board our Bee Network buses – the response we’ve had from the public today has been terrific.
“We’ve been preparing for today’s launch for many months and it’s fantastic to see the buses out on the road. This is, of course, only the start of the Bee Network and there is a lot of work still to come. But our goal is to work with the Mayor to deliver world class transport for a world class city, Manchester.”
“Operators are working hard with the Combined Authority to make a success of the new bus network in Manchester” – Graham Vidler, CEO of the Confederation of Passenger Transport
Graham Vidler, CEO of the Confederation of Passenger Transport, said: “Operators are working hard with the Combined Authority to make a success of the new bus network in Manchester. Buses account for three quarters of all public transport journeys in Greater Manchester and there’s room to grow the role of bus even more.
“The launch of the Bee Network is just the start. We also need a package of bus priority measures which reduce congestion, speed up journey times, keep fares low and ensure buses are reliable – factors we know are important for passengers.
“The industry looks forward to working closely with the Combined Authority and the Mayor to ensure passengers reap the benefits of improved bus services.”