Greater Manchester welcomes first zero-emission Bee Network buses

Posted: 5 June 2023 | | No comments yet

Greater Manchester moves closer to its sustainable and integrated transportation system, as the new Bee Network buses are set to join the fleet of 50 electric double-decker vehicles introduced in Wigan, Bolton, Salford and Bury.

Greater Manchester welcomes first zero-emission Bee Network buses

Credit: Transport for Greater Manchester

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has announced that it has received its first batch of Bee Network buses, marking a significant milestone in the region’s transportation system. The electric buses, assembled over several months, are 10.8m long and powered by 382kWh batteries, ensuring zero tailpipe emissions. 

In September 2023, these buses will be among the 50 new electric double-decker vehicles that have been introduced in Wigan, Bolton and parts of Salford and Bury when local control of buses is reinstated after almost four decades. The buses will be fully inclusive, featuring amenities, such as two wheelchair bays, hearing induction loops, audio and visual announcement systems and anti-slip flooring.

An additional 50 buses will be delivered in March 2024, supporting the continued expansion of bus franchising in areas including Bury, Rochdale, Oldham, Manchester, Salford and Tameside. By January 2025, services across the rest of Greater Manchester will also come under local control.

The Bee Network plan aims to create a more accessible and integrated transportation network, combining local trams, buses and eventually train services with the UK’s largest walking, wheeling and cycling network. Bringing buses under public control empowers the people of Greater Manchester, granting them a greater say in services, with punctuality, reliability and complaints affecting operator compensation.

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In order to enhance the service, TfGM is implementing improvements, including the Bee Network Customer Contact Centre and a new app, enabling customers to purchase tram and bus tickets, as well as access real-time information.

The funding for the 100 new buses comes from the UK government’s City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement, with an additional 250 buses planned for delivery from 2024 to 2027. Furthermore, 170 electric buses, jointly funded by Stagecoach and local and national government, will operate in Stockport from 2024, significantly reducing carbon emissions by 1.1 million tonnes. These efforts contribute to the city region’s goal of achieving a sustainable public transport system with a zero-emission bus fleet by 2032.

A state-of-the-art electric bus depot capable of accommodating 250 buses will be constructed at Central Park in Manchester to support the introduction of the new environmentally friendly fleet. TfGM will also acquire existing bus depots, refurbish them, and transform them into modern, technologically advanced facilities.