Manchester: Officials urge patience over bus rollout

Bee network bus in Manchester
The Bee Network launched in Greater Manchester last autumn

Transport officials have asked commuters to "bear with us" as the return of locally-controlled buses continues across Greater Manchester.

It follows the launch of the Bee Network in September, which marked the first time bus deregulation had been reversed in England.

The second phase of the rollout began in Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford and north Manchester on Sunday.

Officials said they "learnt lessons" from disruption after autumn's launch.

Some buses arrived late or did not turn up when the network began last September in Bolton, Wigan and parts of Bury, Salford and Manchester.

Vernon Everitt, transport commissioner for Greater Manchester, said: "I think a lot of the teething problems in tranche one were purely around an unfamiliarity with routes - that's less of a case in this tranche."

He said there would be "less reliance on agency drivers" in the second phase.

"The process here is still quite complex so I would ask people to bear with us in the early days because it could be that not everything goes perfectly."

buses at Oldham depot
Oldham's bus depot has been electrified to charge the new buses

More yellow electric buses will replace older diesel vehicles as part of plans to cut carbon emissions and improve air quality.

In February, the region's mayor Andy Burnham said a reimbursement scheme would be available for passengers facing higher ticket prices as more buses come under local control.

Managed by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), the services will be operated by Stagecoach, First and Diamond Bus under a franchise agreement.

Officials previously said the locally-controlled Bee Network means commuters will have a "much greater say", with punctuality, reliability and complaints impacting what operators get paid.

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