Bee Network brings benefits to bus passengers as new fleet takes to the streets

Bee Network
Bee Network

Bee Network brings benefits to bus passengers as new fleet takes to the streets

01 March 2024 at 10:12

Brand new Diamond Enviro200 Single Deck buses manufactured by Alexander Dennis in the UK.

A brand-new fleet of Bee Network buses is being rolled out to passengers in Bolton and Wigan.

By bringing buses under local control, Greater Manchester can define the types of buses that should run on Bee Network services – and now the first of 67 state-of-the-art low-emission buses, operated by Diamond, are taking to the streets. It follows the introduction of 50 new Zero Emission Buses (ZEBs) in September, with a further 50 due to be introduced over the coming months.

With investment from Diamond via its contracts to run locally controlled services, passengers will experience improvements, including frequent services and better, more modern buses operating across Wigan and Bolton.

The new fleet is serving communities that were often not prioritised by operators before franchising, with companies tending to target busier, more profitable routes.

The routes the new buses are running on are just as important as busier routes and often provide the only access to public transport that some communities have.

The new single deck vehicles are built by manufacturer Alexander Dennis to Bee Network standards, and include improved accessibility features, including two spaces for wheelchair users and real-time audiovisual passenger information. Other benefits include air-conditioning and USB chargers, and a brand-new radio system to enable operators to communicate with drivers.

Transport Commissioner, Vernon Everitt – who visited Diamond’s depot in Eccles to mark the buses arrival, alongside representatives from Diamond and manufacturer Alexander Dennis – said:

“Building the Bee Network is about delivering benefits to bus passengers across Greater Manchester. Key to that is the provision of these modern, accessible and environmentally friendly buses on routes providing vital access to public services and leisure facilities for local communities in Bolton and Wigan. And all of them have been built in the UK. It’s great to see them about to take to the road.”

As part of the Bee Network, buses in Greater Manchester are being brought back under local control for the first time in almost 40 years, through franchising in three phases.

Sixty of the low emission buses – manufactured by Alexander Dennis – will run across Bolton and Wigan and serve several key destinations, including North Manchester General Hospital, Leigh Infirmary and Sports Village, Royal Bolton Hospital and the Trafford Centre, with 25 buses already in service from Diamond’s depots in Bolton and Eccles. A dozen more have been delivered and are due to go into service in early March, with 23 more due to arrive over the coming weeks. Seven other buses will arrive later in the year for use in Oldham under the next phase of franchising.

Rotala Chief Executive, Simon Dunn, said: “Following the award of franchises by Transport for Greater Manchester, Alexander Dennis offered us the right combination of versatile vehicles and production capabilities for these 67 single deck buses. Their entry into service this year has given us a state-of-the-art low emission fleet for our Diamond North West operations.”