The Bee Network officially rolls out in Oldham and Rochdale as more buses join local transport system

The pieces in the public journey jigsaw are gradually falling into place.

Danny Jones Danny Jones - 25th March 2024

The Bee Network just keeps getting bigger with a new fleet of eco-buses having now rolled out in Oldham and Rochdale as Greater Manchester continues to integrate its new transport network.

With many city centre buses having been franchised across the likes of Wigan and Bolton since the Bee Network officially launched back in September 2023, the new centralised public transport system is becoming a real hive of activity (pardon the pun).

Now making up approximately more than half of the region’s wider bus network, with more bright yellow buses put into service across the likes of Bury and Salford as well, the vision for the Bee Network is slowly starting to take shape.

Celebrating this latest phase in the long-term plan for a universal and centralised public transport network across all ten boroughs, Mayor Andy Burnham hopped on board one of the new vehicles to show off the improvements made to bus journeys here in Greater Manchester.

The Bee Network has finally arrived in Oldham and Rochdale with more boroughs soon to follow.

As you can see, not only are the new Bee Network buses an obvious upgrade on many existing lines running in and around the city centre for the past two decades, but there are more of them on more key routes, including 50 new zero-emission vehicles and 84 new, best-in-class low emission buses too.


Reducing costs for the likes of those travelling in and out of Oldham, Rochdale, Bury and Salford is also a massive win since these routes have come under local control too, with the combined tram and bus tickets – making most journeys 20% cheaper, to be more precise.

As per the latest stats from Transport for Greater Manchester, the Bee Network is already proving to be offering more reliable service than prior to franchising, with 74.30% of buses on time between 1 January and 19 March compared to 67.62% of commercial services and 62.75% during the same period in 2023.


The number of people using Bee Network services has also increased, with the average number of weekday passengers having grown by over five per cent and hitting a high of 141,720 on 6 March across more than 17 million journeys since it began. The results are plain to see and they’re stopping there.

Trials of bikes on trams and ‘tap in, tap out’ train travel are also being tested out this year.

Read more:

The goal is to have all of Greater Manchester‘s buses fold into the Bee Network by January 2025 and whilst we’re still in the early days of this centralised shift, it’s great to see such progress being made so far and how it’s already benefiting locals around the region.

This latest chapter comes just a week or so after the brand-new Stockport Interchange was officially opened to the public as well, a borough which is also hoping to see more buses and potential plans for an extension of the Metrolink tram system coming their way.


Burnham also reiterated longer-term plans to start bringing some Greater Manchester railway lines back under local control as well, with an aim to have at least eight train routes come under the network by 2028.

With Bee bikes, the rejuvenated trams and more new buses than ever, what have you made of the Bee Network experience so far?

For all the latest news, events and goings on in Greater Manchester, subscribe to The Manc newsletter HERE.

Featured Images — Bee Network/Michael Ely (via Geograph)