A NEW app with real-time bus, tram and train travel information and cheaper tickets is now available to local passengers.
The Bee Network app, which went live this week, also enables people to buy combined bus and tram tickets that are 20 per cent cheaper.
It comes ahead of the launch of Greater Manchester’s first locally controlled bus services in nearly 40 years taking to the roads on Sunday, September 24.
Bus franchising signifies the start of the Bee Network, which is the city region’s plan for an integrated ‘London-style’ transport network.
It’s being rolled out in phases, with Oldham set for March 2024 and Tameside in January 2025.
The branding has been inspired by the bee, which symbolises the city’s hard-working reputation.
The new Bee Network app and website has live departure times, while passengers can see where their nearest bus or tram stop is or rate their journey.
From Sunday, the new app will also be the home of the new AnyBus+ tram ticket that makes travel 20 per cent cheaper.
More features are due to be added in due course, including journey planning and disruption information.
The website and app have been designed to be easy and accessible, with icons to help navigation, screen reader support and assistive technology compatibility for adjusting colour contrast and the size of text.
Buses already running in Greater Manchester will also be upgraded to be fully accessible over the next two years.
From next week, 30 new TravelSafe Support and Enforcement Officers will be patrolling franchised bus services, interchanges and bus stations.
A new customer contact centre will also allow passengers to get in touch to have their say about transport by calling 0161 244 1000 or emailing email@example.com. The Customer Commitments can also be found at www.beenetwork.com/commitments
The Greater Manchester Combined Authority, which will run the services on the public’s behalf, say the punctuality and reliability of services, and level of customer complaints, will determine operators’ contracts and impact what they get paid.
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said it was an exciting moment for public transport in the city region.
He said: “This is a real milestone for the Bee Network, coming less than a week before the first phase of bus franchising begins. It’s a taste of how, under this new system, customers will have a much better travelling experience, with their wants and needs coming first and foremost at all times.
“Our new app and website bring passenger travel in Greater Manchester firmly into the 21st century, with timetables, tickets and live updates literally at people’s fingertips.”
Greater Manchester’s Transport Commissioner welcomes the transformation he feels the Bee Network launch will bring.
Vernon Everitt commented: “The new Bee Network, alongside the first phase releases of a new app and website and an integrated contact centre, will help us to usher in a new era of joined up public transport and active travel in the region.
“Better transport will help grow the region’s economy and productivity, delivering new homes, jobs and inclusivity.”
All buses will be franchised by January 2025, enabling full ‘tap and go’ integrated ticketing across trams and buses. Contactless payments will also be introduced to the rail network in 2025 to join up all public transport services and cycle hire in Greater Manchester.