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New journey planner and live bus tracker to be added to the Bee Network app as Greater Manchester gets ready for phase two of bus franchising

Two new functions that will make it easier for people to plan and track their bus journeys are being added the Bee Network app, as Greater Manchester gets ready for the next phase of bus franchising in just over a week’s time.

A new journey planner is now available on the Bee Network with a live bus tracking service to follow over the next week, adding to an existing range of useful functions on the app for customers.

The journey planner will enable people to plan any trip using public transport, whether it’s bus, tram or train, as well as walking, wheeling and cycling routes. The planner will also show Park and Ride locations and bike hire stations.

Meanwhile, the bus tracker will allow customers to see where their bus is on a map. In the coming weeks, work will be ongoing to continually improve the accuracy of the service as Greater Manchester takes on more control of the network.  

Live bus tracker feature coming to the Bee Network app from Thursday 21 March

The new additions have been designed to complement existing Bee Network app features including live departure times for local bus, tram and train stops and stations; the ability to buy tram tickets, Bee AnyBus travelcards, and Bee AnyBus + Tram travelcards; access to travel alerts and the ‘rate my journey feature’.

The bus tracker will be rolled out in the next week ahead of the second phase of franchised bus services launching in Oldham, Rochdale and parts of Bury, Salford and North Manchester on Sunday, 24 March.

The Mayor, Andy Burnham at the launch of the Bee Network last year.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham said: “It’s an exciting time for public transport in the city-region with the next phase of bus franchising launching imminently, a move that will bring half of Greater Manchester’s bus services under local control as we make another big step towards the full delivery of the Bee Network.

“We’re making real progress with the Bee Network app and I’m pleased to confirm that the new journey planner and live bus tracker will both be available in the coming week, making it easier for passengers to plan their journey, buy tickets, and see exactly where their bus is on the route.

“While tracking should be available for most buses on the network, there might be a small number of services where the tracking service isn’t available on day one, however we are working hard behind the scenes to get all buses on the tracker.

“Customers can help us by giving us feedback, whether it’s by rating their journey on the app or providing feedback on how the app is working. These valuable insights will enable us to keep making ongoing improvements to the Bee Network and the app.”

The Bee Network is Greater Manchester’s vision for an integrated, ‘London-style transport system, which will change the way people travel across the city region. It launched on 24 September 2023 with the successful implementation of the first phase of bus franchising across Wigan, Bolton and parts of Bury and Salford.

The change next Sunday (24 March) 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 by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) as part of the Bee Network. General bus services in phase two will be operated by Stagecoach, First Group and Diamond under a franchising arrangement.

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