The latest round of Bee Network contracts has been awarded for school services in Wigan, Bolton and parts of Salford and Bury.
It’s hoped that making more reliable, sustainable buses across the city-region will minimise the use of personal cars for short journeys, including the school run and help to meet Greater Manchester’s net-zero targets.
The areas will be the first to have locally controlled bus services for almost 40 years when franchising starts in September.
Stagecoach has been awarded 17 contracts and Vision six, covering a total of 31 schools, with services beginning at the start of the new school year.
There will be no changes to the schools served or the number of buses used under the new contracts.
As with other Bee Network services, ensuring a reliable service is a key part of these contracts, and operators will be subject to financial penalties for poor performance.
The move to a franchised network, including school bus services, means Greater Manchester can:
- Better plan and integrate services with the wider Bee Network
- Improve the performance of services with a consistent monitoring regime, fleet specifications and on-board equipment
- Improve customer services through the Bee Network Customer Contact Centre
- Provide access to integrated ticketing products.
Anne Marie Purcell, TfGM’s Bus Franchising Director, said: “We’re pleased to have once again received such high-levels of interest from operators to run the first school services.
“We have made performance and reliability a key part of these contracts to ensure a positive experience for all those young people who will be relying on them to get to and from school.
“We look forward to working with Stagecoach and Vision over the coming months as we gear up for the first Bee Network school bus services starting in September.”