Greater Manchester introduces cheaper and integrated Bee Network fares

Posted: 26 June 2023 | | No comments yet

Greater Manchester launches cheaper and integrated Bee Network tickets, aiming to create a seamless and low fare public transport system across the city region.

Greater Manchester introduces cheaper and integrated Bee Network

Credit: Transport for Greater Manchester

With the Bee Network set to launch in three months, Mayor Andy Burnham of Greater Manchester has announced new tickets that will make travel across the city region cheaper and more convenient. The Bee AnyBus + Tram tickets, available through the Bee Network app and other retail channels, will offer combined bus and tram travel at a 20% discount compared to purchasing separate products. The tickets will be available from 24 September 2023, coinciding with the city region’s transition to local control of buses for the first time in nearly 40 years.

These new tickets will allow unlimited journeys on any bus service and chosen Metrolink zones for as little as £5.40. Off-peak travel on all buses and the entire Metrolink network will cost £7.80, while peak times will be priced at £9.50. The introduction of capped bus fares in 2022, which have been extended until September 2024, has already resulted in a 12% increase in bus trips.

The Bee Network aims to create a London-style transport system with frequent, reliable services and low fares. Bringing buses back under local control will be implemented in three phases, starting in Wigan, Bolton and parts of Salford and Bury. The second phase will include Rochdale, Oldham, Bury and parts of Manchester, Salford, and Tameside. The integration of fares across different modes of transport is a key component of the Bee Network, and a touch-in/touch-out contactless system will be implemented by early 2025.

In addition to buses and trams, the Mayor has proposed the integration of local train services into the Bee Network by the end of 2030. A rail contactless payment pilot is also set to be launched on services between Stalybridge and Victoria, as well as Glossop and Piccadilly. Passengers will be able to touch in and out and have their fares automatically calculated, eliminating the need to buy tickets in advance. The ultimate goal is to achieve full multimodal integration, including fares simplification and capping, across bus, Metrolink, rail and cycle hire by 2030.

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The Bee Network‘s integration of transport services is expected to benefit businesses in Greater Manchester by improving access to jobs in a tight labour market. However, the cost base of public transport has increased due to inflation, leading the Mayor to call for a review of public transport funding. 

Transport Commissioner for Greater Manchester, Vernon Everitt, said: “We know that customers and businesses want easy and simple access to the whole transport system and the creation of the integrated Bee Network, bringing together buses, trams, trains and cycle hire, will transform transport in the region. September is the start of implementing this very exciting journey.”

Mayor Andy Burnham said: “A good transport system needs certainty and stability to keep people connected with jobs, education and other essential services. Failure to do so leaves transport authorities like ours facing a cycle of declining services and increasing fares. That is why we need to look again at how public transport is funded in all parts of the country and we will be bringing proposals forward to government and opposition parties during party conferences later this year on just that.”

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