Bee Network: Changes travellers will see when Transport for Greater Manchester’s new network launches

The much anticipated launch of the Bee Network is Sunday September 24

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One of the biggest overhauls of Greater Manchester’s public transport is almost here. Tram, bus and cycling routes across the region are being readied for the launch of the Bee Network later this month. 

The changes, no matter how small, have been gradual over recent weeks and they are all gearing up for the change to The Bee Network. Greater Manchester’s transport network is coming under one roof, and you’ll see plenty of bright yellow bees around the region. 

Ahead of the launch, we’ve taken a  look at some of the things that have changed or are new about the transport network. For all the latest information on the Bee Network, visit the network’s website. 

Public owned buses

Perhaps the biggest change to kick off the Bee Network is the switch to public ownership of 180 bus routes in Greater Manchester. This signified the first time buses in the region were owned by the public in almost 40 years. 

Electric buses

A total of 50 new electric buses will be entered into service in Bolton and Wigan on routes serving parts of Bury, Salford and Manchester too. These new buses will have audio-visual announcements and charging ports for mobile devices.

Timetable changes

When Bee network buses launch on September 24, there will be some changes to existing routes across the region. A new addition is the restoration direct V2 service between Atherton and Manchester Royal Infirmary as well as the reinstating of the V4 service from Ellenbrook to Manchester Royal Infirmary.

There will also be improved frequency on some Sunday services and earlier and later buses on some routes connecting to trams and trains, so more people can catch the first or last tram or train of the day. For a full list of all the changes being made to Greater Manchester buses under the Bee network, visit the Bee Network website.

New logo on bus stations

One of the first changes was an aesthetic one. At the start of August, several Greater Manchester bus stations were fitted with the yellow hexagonal logo of the Bee Network. Bolton and Wigan interchanges were amongst those to be fitted. 

Brand new ticket and information app

Another change to Greater Manchester’s transport network was the launch of the brand new Bee Network app. Customers can now download the new app or visit the new website, where they can get access to live departure times, see where their nearest bus or tram stop is or rate their journey.

A fresh face on social media

The Transport for Greater Manchester Twitter channels are no more. Instead, all transport queries will behandled by @BeeNetwork and this includes bus and Metrolink information. 

Norman Baker from Campaign for Better Transport, said: “Greater Manchester’s groundbreaking Bee Network will be the first integrated transport system of its kind in 40 years.“It’s fantastic to see how this will benefit Manchester, beginning with the first phase of Bee buses being brought under local control, while the network’s new app and website will make planning and paying for journeys simple and seamless.”

The Bee Network is coming... (Photo: TfGM) The Bee Network is coming... (Photo: TfGM)
The Bee Network is coming... (Photo: TfGM)

Vernon Everitt, Greater Manchester Transport Commissioner, has welcomed the transformation that the launch of the Bee Network will bring.

He said: “The new Bee Network, alongside the first phase releases of a new app and website and an integrated contact centre, will help us to usher in a new era of joined up public transport and active travel in the region. Better transport will help grow the region’s economy and productivity, delivering new homes, jobs and inclusivity.

“The Rate Your Journey facility on the app will allow passengers to have their say directly to us and bus operators, bringing sharper accountability for services and shaping further improvements to the Bee Network.

“All buses will be franchised by January 2025, enabling full ‘tap and go’ integrated ticketing across Metrolink and buses. We are also working with the rail industry to begin bringing tap and go payment to the region’s rail network in 2025 as part of fully joining up all public transport services and cycle hire.”