Destination Bee Network

The Bee Network

The Bee Network is Greater Manchester's bold vision to deliver a joined-up London-style transport system, with buses beginning to be integrated from 2023, trams from 2024 and commuter trains by 2030 - transforming how people travel in and around Greater Manchester.   

The network will be simple and accessible, supporting seamless end-to-end journeys whether you are walking, wheeling, travelling by bike or on public transport. It will be easy to understand and offer great value too with capped daily fares and tickets - no matter how many times you travel or how the journey is made.

A key step in delivering the Bee Network will be taking Greater Manchester's buses back into public control, by franchising services. The first phase of franchising will get underway in Wigan, Bolton and parts of Salford from September 2023. All bus services in Greater Manchester will be franchised by the end of 2024.  

World class safety and customer experience standards will be delivered across bus, tram, rail, taxi and private hire, supported with real time passenger information and audiovisual announcements. 

The Bee Network will also include the UK's largest cycling and walking network -- connecting every area and community in Greater Manchester, by creating more than 1,800 miles of routes and 2,400 new crossings.    

There will also be one recognisable look and feel uniting the entire Bee Network and marked with a bee - a long respected regional emblem which will clearly show the joined-up nature of the network and act as a mark of quality and integration.  

By designing and delivering a joined up public transport system, with local control and accountability at its heart we will deliver a simple, accessible and easy to use transport experience for everyone in Greater Manchester. It will also help us to deliver our ambitions to be a carbon neutral by 2038. 

This web page is the place to visit to find out more about where we are on our journey. Our animation tells the story, and our public definition makes clear what our ambitions are.

Destination: Bee Network Conversation

In Autumn 2021, TfGM carried out the "Destination: Bee Network" public conversation. The conversation saw over 5000 people across Greater Manchester share their thoughts and opinions around the vision for The Bee Network.

People shared their views through an online survey and face to face at our Destination: Bee Network bus as it visited every borough across Greater Manchester. We also held a number of targeted workshops to ensure Greater Manchester's diverse communities had an opportunity to voice their views on the future transport network.

Findings from the public conversation activity included:

  • Key priorities identified for an integrated network were affordability, reliability and accessibility
  • 93% of people who took part in sentiment voting activity at the Destination: Bee Network bus tour events, said integrated ticket would change how they travel in Greater Manchester
  • 63% felt the development of walking and cycling routes will change how they travel
  • 52% were in favour of allowing bikes on trams, 19% neither agreed nor disagreed and 30% disagreed
  • 45% were in favour of allowing pet dogs on trams, 22% neither agreed nor disagreed and 33% disagreed
  • 66% told us real time information would improve their journey
  • The most important features on a Bee Network Bus of the future included: Zero Emissions (56%), CCTV (50%) and Audio-visual announcements (44%)
  • 52% told us that there are journeys they avoid making due to feel unsafe
  • Feedback from targeted engagement workshops highlighted the importance of improving accessibility of the transport network including: use of audio-visual announcements on buses, real time travel information at stations and stops and the need to design streets and infrastructure with a range of people and needs in mind

Public insight and feedback from the Destination: Bee Network public conversation has influenced the development of key work areas to date including:

The feedback from the public conversation will continue to inform future development of the integrated, inclusive transport network for GM.

Progress to date

The Bee Network represents Greater Manchester's vision for an integrated transport system and work is progressing at pace to make it a reality. 

New low bus fares for Greater Manchester, originally planned to be introduced with the first franchised bus services in September 2023, have been introduced 12 months early to help ease the cost-of-living crisis. That means from 4 September 2022 bus passengers will save up to 50% on some journeys, with an adult single bus ticket costing no more than £2 and a child single bus ticket costing no more than £1. All day travel by any bus operator will cost no more than £5 for an adult and £2.50 for a child.  

The roll out of the GM Cycle Hire Scheme is well underway and when complete will deliver a fleet of 1,500 bikes including 1,200 'mechanical' bikes and 300 e-bikes across the Regional Centre in Manchester, Salford and Trafford, providing 198,000 residents access to the scheme within a 5 minute walk. 

We have secured a £1 billion government funding package, supported by £170 million in local contributions, meaning around £1.2billion worth of transport investment in local roads, bus, train and tram services over the next five years, including  50kms of new quality bus corridors, more than 50kms of new cycling and walking routes, 2,000 upgraded bus stops and further improved transport infrastructure and connectivity for towns and high streets across the region. 

Work is also underway to purchase 220 Zero Emission Buses -- with fifty new electric buses initially introduced in Wigan and Bolton from September next year as part of the first phase of franchising. An additional 170 will then follow, operating on routes to and from the future Stockport bus depot by 2024.  

This all means we are well on our way towards achieving our vision for the Bee Network, but we need your support to get us there - by choosing to use public transport and walking or cycling when you can.