Greater Manchester is changing the way that buses are run.

Buses are being brought under local control and will be run by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), on behalf of Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), in the biggest change to public transport in the city-region in over 30 years.

By bringing them under local control, it means that buses will be run for you, the passenger, as part of an integrated public transport network; allowing people to change easily between different modes of transport; with simple, affordable price-capped tickets.

Buses in Greater Manchester are going to be run under a system called franchising. Under franchising, GMCA will coordinate the bus network and contract bus companies to run the services. This will enable GMCA to develop an integrated, multimodal public transport network that can meet the demands of both passengers and the city-region's economy.

The Bee Network will help people to get around by providing a real alternative to cars, and buses will play a key part in the network - accounting for around 75% of all public transport journeys in Greater Manchester.

We have set out how we plan to improve our buses in our Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) and want to see a modern, low-emission, accessible bus system in place for everyone. The wide-ranging plans, based on customer research, will make journeys by bus quicker, cheaper, greener, more reliable, more accessible and more attractive. You can find out more about the plans on the BSIP webpage.

Passenger benefits

Over time, franchising, or local control, will deliver a number of benefits for passengers:

Simpler fares and ticketing

Simpler fares and ticketing

You will be able to use your tickets on all Greater Manchester’s buses and hop-on and hop-off between services. There will be a simple fare structure, so you will always know how much your journey will cost and we will work towards contactless payment and price capping – so that no one must pay more than a certain amount for daily journeys.



Local control offers the opportunity for better integration and more joined-up planning between buses and the rest of the transport system. This will mean passengers can change between buses and trams, or buses and cycling or walking – making your journey quick and easy from your door to wherever you need to go.



It will mean every bus will be accessible. We will ensure all vehicles can be used by everyone so you can be sure you can get on and use your local bus. And we will ensure the rest of the bus network infrastructure is accessible as well.

Simple travel information

Simple Travel Information

Buses will also have better, clearer on-board travel information so people know where they are going and where they need to get off, encouraging more people to take them for more journeys and improving their accessibility for the visually impaired. There will be a ‘one-stop shop’ for travel information and customer support, so you will always have the information you need to make your journeys as effortless as possible.

Single identity

Single Brand Indentity

Local control will also allow GMCA to develop a single identity for the transport network, which is attractive, clearly recognisable and easy for passengers to navigate and understand. This will create a unified, integrated and iconic network for our city-region.

Local accountability

Local Accountabilty

The bus network will be locally accountable and run for the benefit of its passengers. GMCA will set performance targets around punctuality, reliability and standards and take action if they are not met. This will ensure there is a consistent, high-quality passenger experience across the network.

Benefits for Greater Manchester

Franchising supports GMCA’s objectives as set out in the Greater Manchester Strategy to become the best place in the world to grow up, get on and grow old. With buses under local control, Greater Manchester leaders will be able to connect people by public transport to work, home, education, culture and leisure. Bus franchising also means GMCA can set environmental standards for a green bus fleet, helping to meet the city-region’s targets to tackle the climate emergency, reduce harmful emissions and clean up our air.


The decision to implement bus franchising in Greater Manchester comes after extensive public consultation over 20 weeks, which highlighted a high level of public support for the proposals. You can find all the reports summarising and setting out the response to the consultation on the GMCA website.

Next steps

Greater Manchester Map

Bringing buses under local control will be the biggest change to Greater Manchester’s buses since de-regulation in 1986.

Due to the scale of the change from the current deregulated market to a fully franchised system franchising will be introduced in phases across a number of years in different areas of Greater Manchester.

This is because of the size of the market and the time needed to prepare for franchising. This includes, for example, the time it would take to tender individual franchise contracts and the time needed for contracted operators to prepare.

Franchising will be introduced across Greater Manchester in three phases, dividing Greater Manchester into three sub areas (A, B and C).

  • Sub Area A includes bus services running within and from the north west of Greater Manchester. This includes the Bolton and Wigan Council areas as well bus services running through parts of Salford and Manchester from the west of Greater Manchester. First services will operate here from 2023.
  • Sub Area B includes bus services running within and from the north east of Greater Manchester. This includes the Bury, Rochdale and Oldham areas as well as the north of Manchester City Council area. First services will operate here from 2024.
  • Sub Area C includes some bus services crossing over from the north east of Greater Manchester as well as services running in the south of Greater Manchester – the south of the Manchester City Council area, Stockport, Trafford, Tameside and the rest of Salford. First services will operate here from 2025.

Once franchising is complete in Sub-Area C, there would no longer be any sub-areas and instead the entirety of Greater Manchester would be covered under the franchised scheme as one area.

In the period up to full transition, GMCA and TfGM will work with central government and bus operators to plan bus services which best support GM’s economic recovery.