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The Greater Manchester Bus Strategy sets out Greater Manchester’s vision for the future bus network: namely, to make the bus the first choice for more journeys, as part of the Bee Network: the city region’s integrated transport system. Better buses are central to delivering the Bee Network and with it a fairer, greener and more prosperous city region.

Download the full Greater Manchester Bus Strategy. Or you can read the Executive Summary.

The first choice for more journeys

We want buses to be the first choice for more journeys in Greater Manchester. Our initial target is for a 30% increase in bus patronage by 2030 from 2022/23 levels. This would mean almost 50 million more journeys being taken by bus each year. The Greater Manchester Bus Strategy sets out how this growth can be driven by improvements, including affordable fares, a more integrated, user-friendly and frequent network, and better infrastructure to provide more reliable bus journeys. This growth will require additional investment and careful prioritisation of existing resources, enabled by bus franchising.

The Strategy sets an ambition for buses to run at least every 12 minutes on key orbital and radial routes. It also aims for 90% of the entire Greater Manchester population to be within 400m of a 30-minute frequency bus or Metrolink service on weekdays. Where this is not possible, we will look to put in place other options to provide connectivity as part of the Bee Network, such as demand responsive transport.

What we need to do

To reach these ambitious targets, we need to improve people’s experience of getting the bus. We want to deliver:

  • More reliable and quicker bus journeys.
  • Safe and secure journeys.
  • An accessible bus network.
  • A bus system that supports and values its employees.
  • Comprehensive and frequent bus services.
  • An environmentally friendly bus system.
  • An affordable and attractively priced bus system.
  • A responsive bus system, accountable to local people.
  • A fully integrated public transport system.
  • A high-quality passenger experience.

Governing the network

The Strategy also sets out how the Greater Manchester bus network will be governed in future - in a responsive and accountable way. It describes a rolling programme of integrated, area-based ‘Network Reviews’, which will commence a few months after franchising is implemented. Network reviews will consider how different areas’ transport needs can be better met, by amending our bus, Metrolink, rail, demand responsive transport and active travel networks. As part of these network reviews, we will apply seven network planning guidelines to help us deliver on the bus’s potential:

  • Integrated - because people need to find the network easy to understand and use.
  • Comprehensive - because people need access to convenient transport at all times.
  • Reliable - because people need to be able to depend on their buses.
  • Frequent - because keeping waiting times low makes the bus more attractive.
  • Direct - because bus users value low journey times.
  • Simple - because people need to find the network easy to understand and use.
  • Cost effective - because our bus network needs to be financially sustainable.

These guidelines will support new connectivity including orbital links and routes to support trips for health, education, and employment. This will help us to deliver the world class Bee Network that people in Greater Manchester deserve.