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.”
The first 31 schools across Greater Manchester that will be served under the new contracts are:
Canon Slade High School
St Patrick’s RC High School
St John Rigby College
Hawkley Hall High School
Bury C of E High School
Philips High Schools
Elton High School
Derby High School
Rivington & Blackrod High School
Sharples High School
Smithills High School
St James’ High School
Byrchall High School
St Edmond Arrowsmith High School
Cansfield High School
Mount St Joseph High School
Shevington High School
Standish High School
Lowton High School
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