How the new ‘tap in tap out’ Bee Network will change Greater Manchester transport forever

Trams and buses across Greater Manchester will effectively become one system - with a cap on what people can spend in a day

When he was re-elected last May, Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham put a transport revolution across Greater Manchester at the centre of plans for his second term.

The aim is to make the transport system across the city-region more integrated, more affordable and easier to use.

The Bee Network is the new name for Greater Manchester’s entire transport network, inspired by the name used for the city-region’s cycling and walking network.

So how will it work?

Over the next three years, trams and buses across Greater Manchester will effectively become one system that works on the London principal of ‘tap in, tap out’.

There will be a cap on what people can spend – adult fares £2 and under 16s will be £1 – on any given day, no matter how many trams or buses they take, and that will apply across the city-region.

It will make the whole thing work as an integrated system, all under public control, explained Mr Burnham in an interview with the Labour candidate for Didsbury West ward, Luke Savage.

Wigan and Bolton will be the first to have regulated services and that will come in towards the middle part of next year.

Manchester will follow soon after.

The first fleet of Greater Manchester’s Bee Network cycle hire bikes were launched in November, with bikes along Oxford Road, at the University of Salford and at MediaCityUK, as part of a new ambition to become the first city-region to deliver a carbon neutral transport network.

Under the plans, the city-region’s bus fleet will be 50% electric by 2027 and 100% electric within a decade, a move that would singlehandedly reduce carbon emissions by 1.1 million tonnes.

Photo: GMCA

“Across the world, the most successful city-regions have one thing in common – an affordable, integrated and accessible transport network,” said Mr Burnham about the new transport plans when he was re-elected in May 2021.

“People in Greater Manchester have made clear that they won’t settle for second best any longer – that is why on day one of my second term as Mayor I’m vowing to accelerate the delivery of a world-class transport network for our city-region and its people.

“It is absolutely critical to our future economic and social prosperity.

“People here deserve a transport network where you can seamlessly travel across our city-region on buses, trams and trains – without spending a fortune each time.

“We will deliver this alongside hundreds of new Electric Vehicle charging points, a bike hire scheme and world-class cycling and walking corridors which will make everyday trips to school, to work and to the shops safe, easy and fun.

“This will benefit our people and our planet as we step up our plans for carbon neutrality.”


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