Transport for Greater Manchester has announced that it has taken receipt of the very first buses to form the Bee Network fleet.
The Mayor of Greater Manchester was in Larbert, Scotland on Friday 2nd June to see the new buses, with each one being powered electrically to ensure that there are no tailpipe emissions. The buses seen by the Mayor will be part of a 50 strong fleet of electric, double-decker vehicles that will be used around Greater Manchester as part of the Bee Network scheme that sees bus services brought back under local control for the first time in nearly 40 years.
Come September (when the network will go live) passengers will be able to enjoy the fully inclusive vehicles that are fitted with two wheelchair bays, hearing induction loops, audio and visual announcement systems and anti-slip flooring.
Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said:
“By bringing buses under local control and investing in new vehicles, routes, and services, we will start to transform how people get around Greater Manchester.
“Key to that is a world-class fleet of modern, accessible, and environmentally friendly buses – which is what these are.
“It was great to see the first ones off the production line and I can’t wait to see them full of passengers when the first services come under local control from September.
“The contract with Alexander Dennis is a brilliant example of the far-reaching benefits the work we are doing to improve public transport in Greater Manchester has to the UK economy. Through our supply chains we are helping to secure skilled jobs and training and I was delighted to have the opportunity to speak with the young apprentices, who look to have a great career ahead of them.”
Fifty further vehicles will be delivered in March 2024, allowing the rollout to spread to services in Bury and Rochdale, as well as parts of Manchester, Salford, and Tameside. The rest of the Greater Manchester region will come under local control in January 2025. This control will allow communities to have more of a say in how their services are run, whilst also ensuring that operators’ pay can be affected by punctuality, reliability and complaints.
The rollout of the network will be complimented by the construction of a new, state-of-the-art bus depot, capable of holding 250 buses, in Central Park. Alongside this, Transport for Greater Manchester will take control of existing depots through buying or leasing, allowing them to be refurbished and transformed into modern, hi-tech facilities.