The first 31 schools to join Greater Manchester’s new bus network

The majority of services will have a new operator from September.

Details of the first school buses to be part of Greater Manchester’s new bus network have been revealed. The companies which will run bus services for 31 schools across Wigan, Bolton and parts of Salford and Bury have been chosen.

Under the Bee Network which launches later this year, bus services will be under public control for the first time in nearly 40 years. This allows local leaders to decide routes, fares and standards under a franchising model.

All buses in Greater Manchester will be under public control by the beginning of 2025 with the rollout planned in three phases. Last year, Labour mayor Andy Burnham revealed which operators would run the first Bee Network buses in Wigan, Bolton and parts of Salford and Bury from September 24.

Since then, the first buses with yellow Bee Network branding have been spotted on the city-region’s roads. Now, the first operators which will run school buses under the new publicly-controlled system have been revealed.

There will be no changes to the schools served or the numbers of buses used under the new contracts, but the majority of services will have a new operator from September. Vision, which currently runs some school services, has won six of the new contracts, while Stagecoach has been awarded the other 17.

These school buses will not be new Bee Network branded vehicles, but will meet Euro VI emission standards and be fully accessible. As with other Bee Network contracts, operators face financial penalties for poor performance.

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM)’s Bus Franchising Director Anne Marie Purcell said: “We’re pleased to have once again received such high-levels of interest from operators to run the first school services. We have made performance and reliability a key part of these contracts to ensure a positive experience for all those young people who will be relying on them to get to and from school.

“We look forward to working with Stagecoach and Vision over the coming months as we gear-up for the first Bee Network school bus services starting in September.”

School bus in Greater Manchester Credit: TFGMSchool bus in Greater Manchester Credit: TFGM
School bus in Greater Manchester Credit: TFGM

The first 31 schools across Greater Manchester that will be served under the new contracts are:

Co-Op Academy

Canon Slade High School

St Patrick’s RC High School

Winstanley College

St John Rigby College

Hawkley Hall High School

Bury C of E High School

Philips High Schools

Unsworth Academy

Elton High School

Derby High School

Rivington & Blackrod High School

Sharples High School

Smithills High School

Thornleigh College

St James’ High School

Byrchall High School

St Edmond Arrowsmith High School

Cansfield High School

Outwood Academy

Mount St Joseph High School

Shevington High School

Standish High School

Lowton High School

Hope Academy

Bedford High School

St Mary’s High School

Turton High School

St Catherine’s Academy

St John Fisher Catholic High School

St Peter’s Catholic High School