Wigan Bus Service Changes

TFGM Bee Network Bus

From September 24th we will start seeing a number of Wigan bus service changes. From that date private operators will no longer manage our buses. Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) will control all aspects of the operation instead. TFGM responsibility will include setting fares routes and service frequencies. TfGM will still use private companies to drive and supply some physical buses.

It will be the first time that a local authority is in charge of Wigan’s bus network since deregulation back in 1986. Similarly it will also apply to Bolton, Bury and parts of Salford, and Manchester. Eventually, the Bee Network will be our one-stop shop for all local public transport and active travel journeys. By January 2025 all Greater Manchester buses will be under local control.

By 2030 TFGM will also organise local train services too. They are already responsible for trams. Finally bikes are also in the mix. As a result it will be the first local authority to offer an integrated transaporrt network outside of Greater London. It does not apply to services operated by Arriva travelling to Merseyside destinations from Wigan.

What Will TfGM Control?

So we know TFGM wll now control all prices, routes and frequencies. They will also handle all public enquiries, whether by phone, email, letter or face to face. Wigan is part of the first roll out phase along with Bury and parts of Salford. In igan Diamond and Go Northwest will provide buses and drivers to the authority under contract. The current operator, Stagecoach will not be providing buses or drivers.

TfGM promise to deliver a Bee Network that is safe, accessible, affordable, reliable, sustainable and accountable to local people.

The Immediate Visible Changes to Wigan Bus Services

Wholesale changes to routes are unlikely at first. Possibly that could be down to the fact that the authority will still have other areas to expand the Bee network out to first. The transition in Wigan alone is a huge exercise. It is currently underway. However from the 18th September you can download the new TfGM Bee App and also view the website.

With responsibility to specify routes, services levels and fares, a seven-day ticket for unlimited bus journeys in Greater Manchester costs just 21 GBP and for children it is half that. A key One objective is for a range of tickets making travel across the city-region more affordable.

The authority has also taken on 30 extra TravelSafe Officers from September across the network.

Currently, bus services in Wigan and Greater Manchester are provided on a commercial basis by private bus companies. Those companies including Stagecoach choose routes, frequencies, timetables, fares and quality standards. This is also true for the UK with the exception of London. The new operations turns that around completely. We have seen them combine services such as Hawkley Hall and Winstanley. Thery also cut service levels of those kept.

From the 18th September a number of activities will take place. They include the availability of a Bee Network App and website.

Bee Network App

You can download a new Bee Network app from Google Play Store or Apple App store. The App features; 

  • Live departure times for nearby bus, tram and train stops and stations.
  • Buy Metrolink tickets.
  • Buy Bee AnyBus and Bee AnyBus + Tram tickets from 24 September. 
  • Rate Your Journey.

In time we will roll out more features (including journey planning and disruption information. Bee Network app the one-stop shop for public transport in Greater Manchester.

Bee Network Website

You can also access the same App information and more via the Bee website;

  • Easily find the bus or tram ticket for you.
  • Check travel alerts and see any affected bus and tram journeys.
  • Use the site more easily, with a fresh Bee Network look.
  • Find timetables and live departure times for the Bee Network and all Greater Manchester buses.
  • Report any property lost on a Bee Network bus.

SustainableTransport Network

Electric Buses

A huge change to the new services is the arrival of 50 new zero-emission electric buses (ZEBs). The new hard to miss bright yellow buses will carrying passengers in parts of Greater Manchester from 24 September 2023, when the first Bee Network bus services come under local control in Bolton, Wigan, and parts of Bury, Salford and Manchester.

In the brand new yellow livery, they are completely CO2 emissionfree. each of the BYD-Alexander Dennis Eviro400EV zero-emission buses will seat 62 passengers.

The Zero Emission Buses (ZEB) are;

  • Sustainable: Powered by 382kWh batteries and an electric motor, ZEBs do not produce exhaust gases.
  • Fully inclusive: With two wheelchair bays, hearing induction loops, audio and visual announcement systems and anti-slip flooring.
  • WiFi enabled

The first 50 ZEBs will be running from the Bolton bus depot. At the time of writing, WWO learnt that Wigan depots are currently under reorganisation for the transition. 50 more ZEBs will be delivered in March 2024 to run services on services in Bury, Rochdale and Oldham and parts of Manchester, Salford and Tameside, which are coming under local control from 24 March 2024.

The hundred new buses are being funded from the government’s City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement (CRSTS), with up to 250 more being delivered from 2024 to 2027.

A further 170 electric buses – jointly funded by Stagecoach and local and national government through the Zero Emission Buses Regional Area scheme – have also been ordered and will be run in Stockport.

Greater Manchester aims to have an all zero-emission bus fleet by 2032.

Where are the Buses From?

While TfGM is responsible for managing services at all levels, the buses will be provided and driven by contracted operators.

Bee Network Bus Operators

Go North West and Diamond have won new competitive bus contracts from Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM).

These are the first locally controlled bus services to be introduced since then, using powers contained within the Bus Services Act 2017.

Go North West will run 55 routes and Diamond will run 40. The contracts were signed on 23 December and services will commence on 24 September 2023. Go North West will operate two large franchises and Diamond will operate seven smaller franchises across Wigan, Bolton and parts of Salford and Bury.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said:

“Locally controlled bus services are fundamental to our Bee Network vision for a better public transport network for all, and as the first area to do this outside London, Greater Manchester is once again blazing a trail.

Find Out More About Bee

But you might start to see a splash of yellow on buses, stops and shelters. That’s to get ready for the first Bee Network bus services coming soon.

There’ll be a contactless payment trial for some local train journeys in 2025 and local trains will be added to the Bee Network from 2030.

Say yellow to the Bee Network | Transport for Greater Manchester (tfgm.com)

A little more on who will be driving and supplying buses.

TfGM Announces Bus Operators for Its Bee Network | Bus-News

As printed on the bus stop signs you can also cal the Bee Network on the following:

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Feel free to pass on your thoughts by commenting on here. Whether it’s about the service or the article too.

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