TfGM talks of a “buzz in the air” with app a week ahead of Bee Network launch

A new Bee Network app that puts real time bus, tram and train travel information at customers’ fingertips for the first time – and allows them to buy combined bus and tram tickets that are 20% cheaper – has gone live.

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.

TfGM says the move represents the biggest change to public transport in a generation, after services were deregulated across Great Britain in 1986. It points to statistics showing that since then, the number of bus journeys made in the capital – where bus services remained under local control – has doubled, while in Greater Manchester bus use has fallen from 355m in 1986/87, to just over 182m at the end of the last decade (and before Covid).

Bus franchising signifies the start of the Bee Network – Greater Manchester’s plan for an integrated, ‘London-style’ transport network – which TfGM says is the first step in “reversing decades-long decline in bus use”, with the recently published GM Bus Strategy setting out how the city-region aims to deliver 50 million more bus journeys each year by the end of the decade.

Ahead of services starting on Sunday, customers can now download the new Bee Network app or visit the new website, where they can get access to live departure times, see where their nearest bus or tram stop is or rate their journey. TfGM says passenger feedback from the Rate Your Journey feature will be “key to making bus services accountable to the travelling public in Greater Manchester for the first time in decades”.

Customer focused performance targets – including punctuality and reliability of services and levels of customer complaints – will sit at the heart of the operators’ contracts and impact what they get paid.

The creators says that for people who prefer to pick up the phone, or without access to a smartphone or computer, a new Bee Network customer contact centre means customers can now get in touch have their say about transport in Greater Manchester by calling and speaking to a member of staff.

Once services start on 24 September, the new app will also be the home of the new AnyBus + tram ticket that makes travel 20% cheaper.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said it was an exciting moment for public transport in the city region: “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.”

(Picture – TfGM)


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