Bee Network: phase two roll out includes new school bus contracts for Go North West and First Manchester

The next stage of the Bee Network roll out will be in the coming months
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The next stage of the Bee Network roll out in Greater Manchester will see two companies handed school bus contracts. Go North West and First Manchester will run school buses across the region from March 25 2024. 

Go North West has been awarded three contracts and First Manchester six contracts, covering a total of 11  schools in Oldham, Rochdale, Manchester and Bury. Greater Manchester buses are being brought back under local control in three phases through the Bee Network. The second phase of the franchising will be launched in Oldham, Rochdale, and parts of Bury, Salford and north Manchester on March 24 2024. 

There will be no changes to the schools served or the numbers of buses used under the new contracts. TfGM added that they are committed to ensuring reliable services on these new contracts. 

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.”  

New bus contracts have been awarded under the Bee NetworkNew bus contracts have been awarded under the Bee Network
New bus contracts have been awarded under the Bee Network

Zoe Hands, Managing Director of First Bus in Manchester, said: “First Bus is delighted to be awarded these franchise contracts for school services in Greater Manchester. We look forward to working with the Mayor and Transport for Greater Manchester in building the Bee Network and are thrilled to be serving new communities in the region.” 

Go North West managing director Nigel Featham said: ‘We are delighted to be awarded additional work, and look forward to working closely with TfGM to deliver “best of class” school bus transport.   

“This adds to the large franchise work we already operate based at Bolton and Wigan depot.  We have an exceptional team at Go North West and proud of the quality of services we provide for passengers."