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Taking the bus to school

Planning the journey

  • It’s a good idea to check which bus is best to catch. You can plan your journey on this website or on the Bee Network app.
  • Even if you’ve caught the bus before it’s always best to check that the bus times and route haven’t changed.
  • Find out where your bus stop is before you set off, so you’re confident where to go on the first day.
  • Plan to arrive at the stop five minutes before the bus is due to make sure that you don’t miss it.

Waiting for the bus

  • Be careful to stay away from the road.
  • Be considerate of other people waiting and give them space. Join a queue if there is one.
  • Make sure you have your igo card. Be ready to pay for your fare before the bus arrives so the bus can get on its way.
  • Always check you’re getting the right bus. Check the service number on the front of the bus.
  • Raise your arm as a signal to the driver that you want the bus to stop.

Getting on the bus

  • There’s no rush to get on. Make sure that you allow other people to get on the bus first if they were waiting before you.
  • Show your igo card to the driver and pay for your journey. If you’re paying with cash try to have the right change.
  • Then find a seat on the bus. You can sit upstairs if downstairs is full.

During the journey

  • It’s important to stay seated throughout the journey.
  • If there’s no free seats and you need to stand then make sure that you always hold onto handrails.
  • Don’t stand upstairs, on the stairs, or to the side of the driver.
  • Think of others on the bus and how your behaviour affects them.
  • Don’t distract the driver unless it is an emergency.
  • Don’t touch the emergency door handle unless it’s an emergency – or damage any part of the bus.

Getting off the bus

  • When your stop is next, ring the bell once. If it has already been rung, you don’t need to ring it again.
  • If you need to cross the road when you get off the bus, wait until the bus has moved off and go to the nearest available safe crossing point.

How we expect you to behave

It’s fine to have fun. But it’s also important you don’t do things that might make other people using the bus feel frightened or uncomfortable.

That includes not:

  • shouting or making too much noise
  • vaping or smoking
  • playing loud music
  • pushing past people or throwing things

It could get you removed from public transport and lead to your travel pass being taken off you.

Don’t do anything that’ll get you banned, including:

  • messing with the emergency door handle for no reason
  • harassing or intimidating other people
  • damaging vehicles or property
  • tram or bus surfing

If you cause any damage to buses, stops or shelters you could also be prosecuted and have to pay for any damage.

Information for parents and guardians

Got questions about how school services work in Greater Manchester? We’ve got you covered.

Dedicated school bus services are planned and co-ordinated by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and run by commercial bus operators. Most of the services are funded by TfGM although some are funded by schools.

Greater Manchester is gradually bringing all Greater Manchester bus services – including school services – under local control, through the Bee Network.

Find out what the Bee Network means for school bus services.

Find out more about the Bee Network.

Reduced fares are in place for young people and there are tickets for use on school buses only.

To travel for reduced fare on the bus, students must hold an igo card and present this to the driver each time.

More information on fares.

More information about the igo card.

Some schools give us information to help us understand where students live. This lets us see where there is likely to be a demand for a dedicated school-only service. Otherwise we will look at where students travelled in previous years.

Bus services are not cheap to run, so we plan our services carefully to make sure that we carry the maximum number of students.

No. Buses will stop at all stops along the route. There are some exceptions where buses run non-stop on certain sections of route, but these are shown clearly in the timetable.

Most of our school bus services are in place to carry students who live more than two miles from school.

That’s because two miles is the minimum statutory distance before students may be eligible for free school travel.

While there may be places available for students who live closer than two miles, local students are encouraged to walk or cycle to school.

Read advice on walking and cycling to school.

Many students across Greater Manchester use the general bus network to get to and from school. You can see general bus timetables on this ‘Travelling to school’ webpage.

You can also use our journey planner, which will show you all transport and active travel options including bus, tram, train or cycling, walking or wheeling.

Read advice on walking and cycling to school.

Sometimes we need to change routes as the number of students in some areas changes.

We have to make sure there’s enough students on the route to justify the service running. So we might need to combine bus services from different areas so there’s students for each bus to run.

TfGM reviews how school services are running and being used throughout the year.

Mid-year changes can take place at any point in the year but mainly take place by October half-term.

We particularly look at school bus services are doing in the autumn term to see if any changes are needed for the next school year.

It is possible that routes may change if the number of students using services is low, there’s suitable alternative bus service in place, or if there’s been a big change to where students attending your school live.

School services can change for a number of reasons. Just because a school has a school bus service this year does not always mean that it will run in the next academic year.

Before deciding to attend a non-local school, we recommend you consider how your child would get to school if a school bus service was no longer provided.

To make the best use of our buses, we often use the buses to run more than one journey.

Some students may be dropped off earlier in the morning or picked up later in the afternoon, so that the bus can be used for other school journeys.

Most buses provided allow for both seated and standing passengers.

This means that some students may need to stand (especially on more popular services) for part or all of their journey. This way we can provide places to the maximum number of students possible.

TfGM’s funding comes from Greater Manchester’s 10 local authorities and, ultimately, your council tax. We have a limited budget and don’t have the money to simply put on extra buses.

Where school bus services are not provided, it means the student numbers can be accommodated on the general bus service network.

We look to provide places for everyone in the most cost-effective way. Smaller buses cost less to run than larger buses. So we try to provide the right size of bus to match the current demand for places.

This may mean some double deck vehicles have been replaced by single deck vehicles, with some students needing to stand for part or all of their journey.

All school bus services operate as local bus services. This means that they are open for everyone to use.

Most of the time services are not used by anyone other than students, but it is possible.