Plans for 24/7 ‘night bus’ trial on some services in Greater Manchester revealed

The pilot forms part of 'phase two' of the Bee Network.

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 20th February 2024

Plans for a 24/7 ‘night bus’ trial to start on some popular services in Greater Manchester have now been revealed.

Details of the long-awaited pilot have been revealed alongside the launch of ‘phase two’ of Bee Network public transport franchising in across the region this week – but, at this moment in time, the trial is still subject to “ongoing engagement, funding, and approval”, according to Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM).

TfGM says the so-called ‘night bus’ pilot is set to launch in phase one bus areas, and is anticipated to include the V1 and 36 services.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, and transport bosses at TfGM are keen to introduce 24/7 services to “supporting people working in the night time economy”, as this means customers will never miss the last bus home, whatever time of the day.

Daytime fares and tickets would apply on night services, TfGM has confirmed, so a single trip would be capped at the standard £2 fare.


Services could also run hourly to “fill the gap in current provision” – which is thought to be between around 1am and 5am – seven days a week, and TfGM says it is currently in the process of working with partners to look at “the right level” of ‘TravelSafe’ support to make sure people feel as comfortable as possible on these services when it comes to their personal safety.

Andy Burnham has confirmed the trial will start “later this year”.


He added that the aim of the pilot is to “ensure that people working in hospitality, manufacturing, healthcare, or any number of other roles can get to and from work safely using public transport”.

“The details are currently being developed, and are subject to further engagement,” Mr Burnham continued, “but it will provide us with a blueprint as to what can be achieved as a part of the Bee Network in support of people in Greater Manchester.”

As mentioned, details of the proposed 24/7 ‘night bus’ pilot have been revealed alongside the unveiling of what ‘phase two’ of the Bee Network means for Greater Manchester.


In case you’re unfamiliar, the Bee Network launched back in September of last year, and is our region’s “vision” for an integrated ‘London-style’ public transport system that “changes the way people travel” across all 10 boroughs – with the ‘phase one’ rollout bringing bright yellow buses to Bolton, Wigan, and parts of Bury and Salford.

‘Phase one’ consists of 188 bus routes, but ‘phase two’ is set to, quite literally, cover new ground.

That’s because, on Sunday 24 March, buses in Oldham, Rochdale, and further parts of Bury, Salford, and north Manchester will come back under public control for the first time in almost 40 years.

The change will mean a total of 324 bus routes – 188 routes in ‘phase one’, and 136 routes in ‘phase two’ – totalling 50% of the bus network in Greater Manchester, will be managed TfGM as part of the Bee Network.

Services in ‘phase two’ will be operated by Stagecoach, First Group and Diamond under a franchising arrangement.


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Find out more about the Bee Network on the TfGM website here.

Featured Image – TfGM