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Manchester’s first locally controlled bus service in 40 years launches Sunday

Transport users could get combined bus and tram tickets at 20% cheaper than if purchased separately

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Bee Network

A Bee Network App which shows Greater Manchester’s bus, tram and train travel times in real time has officially gone live today.

The news comes ahead of the launch of Greater Manchester’s first locally controlled bus services in nearly 40 years, taking to the roads this Sunday, September 24th. 

Commuters can download the app today on the App store or Google Play and have all the information and tickets they need for their journey through the convenience of a touch of a button.

Bee Network

With Bee Network services starting on Sunday (September 24th), customers can now download the Bee Network App or visit the new website, where they can get access to live departure times, see where their nearest bus or tram stop is or rate their journey. 

Combined bus and tram tickets will also be available from Sunday – which could work out as 20% cheaper than Anybus and Metrolink tickets when purchased separately – as part of a newly reformed Greater Manchester public transport system.

The move represents the biggest change to public transport in a generation, after services were deregulated across Great Britain in 1986. 

Bee Network

Since then, the number of bus journeys made in London – where bus services remained under local control – has doubled, while in Greater Manchester bus use has fallen from 355m in 1986/87, to just over 182m at the end of the last decade (and before Covid).

Bus franchising signifies the start of the Bee Network and is the first step in reversing decades-long decline in bus use, with the recently published GM Bus Strategy setting out how the city-region aims to deliver 50 million more bus journeys each year by the end of the decade.

Passengers can give feedback via the Rate Your Journey feature, which will be key to making bus services accountable to the travelling public in Greater Manchester for the first time in decades.

Bee Network

Customer focused performance targets – including punctuality and reliability of services and levels of customer complaints – will sit at the heart of the operators’ contracts and impact what they get paid.

And a new Bee Network customer contact centre means customers can now get in touch have their say about transport in Greater Manchester by calling to speak to a member of staff.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said it was an exciting moment for public transport in the city region.

He said: “This is a real milestone for the Bee Network coming less than a week before the first phase of bus franchising begins.

“It’s a taste of how, under this new system, customers will have a much better travelling experience, with their wants and needs coming first and foremost at all times.

“Our new app and website bring passenger travel in Greater Manchester firmly into the 21st century, with timetables, tickets and live updates literally at people’s fingertips.”

Norman Baker from Campaign for Better Transport said the ‘Bee Network will be the first integrated transport system of its kind in 40 years’.

“It’s fantastic to see how this will benefit Manchester, beginning with the first phase of Bee buses being brought under local control, while the network’s new app and website will make planning and paying for journeys simple and seamless,” he added.

Bee Network

Vernon Everitt, Greater Manchester Transport Commissioner, has welcomed the transformation that the launch of the Bee Network will bring.

“The new Bee Network, alongside the first phase releases of a new app and website and an integrated contact centre, will help us to usher in a new era of joined up public transport and active travel in the region,” he said.

“Better transport will help grow the region’s economy and productivity, delivering new homes, jobs and inclusivity.

“The Rate Your Journey facility on the app will allow passengers to have their say directly to us and bus operators, bringing sharper accountability for services and shaping further improvements to the Bee Network,” Mr Everitt continued.

Bee Network

He added: “All buses will be franchised by January 2025, enabling full ‘tap and go’ integrated ticketing across Metrolink and buses.

“We are also working with the rail industry to begin bringing tap and go payment to the region’s rail network in 2025 as part of fully joining up all public transport services and cycle hire.”

With accessibility and inclusivity in mind, a fleet of 50 new zero-emission, Bee Network-branded buses (ZEBs) will come into service. These will include two bays for wheelchair-users, hearing induction loops, audio and visual announcement systems and anti-slip flooring.

Buses already running in Greater Manchester will be upgraded over the next two years as The Bee Network strives for full accessibility across the city region.


Stagecoach hiring over 100 new bus drivers for Bee Network with £31k salaries

Fancy a career change?

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Stagecoach Manchester is hiring over 100 new bus drivers to work from its Oldham depot, following the second phase of the Bee Network launch in March.

You can apply for a range of roles, from positions with no experience required to fully qualified bus drivers.

Successful applicants will receive full training as part of the job, and trainees will get paid to train. Then after only 12 months’ service at Stagecoach, drivers can expect to earn up to £16 per hour, which equates to £31.6K per year, before overtime.

As well as that, drivers that already hold a PCV licence may be eligible to receive a £1,200 joining bonus.


There’s also a host of other benefits available to all Stagecoach employees, like 28 days paid holiday, generous pension and free Stagecoach bus travel for successful applicants and a companion.

Rob Jones, Managing Director at Stagecoach Manchester said: “Expanding our offering in Oldham means we’ll be investing more in the economy and supporting our local community, as well as strengthening our workforce.

“Whether you’re looking for a career change or you’re a fully qualified, experienced bus driver, there’s a role for everyone here in Oldham.

“We’re looking for personable and dedicated drivers who are ready to help us build on the success of the Bee Network and connect the people of Oldham and Greater Manchester with the places and people that are important to them.”


Phil Cornwall, bus driver at Stagecoach Manchester, said: “I’ve been a driver at Stagecoach for 25 years and I couldn’t recommend it more.

“From the perks to the people to the passengers, it really is a great place to work.”

To apply, head to the Stagecoach website HERE.

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Two men charged with murder after torso discovered in Salford nature reserve


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Greater Manchester Police

Two men have now been charged with murder, following the discovery of a human torso in Kersal Dale.

As well as that, more suspected human remains were also discovered this morning, Monday April 29th, in an alleyway close to the railway lines off Worsley Road, Eccles.

This follows earlier discoveries of human remains over the past three weeks, at Kersal Dale, Blackleach Reservoir and Colliery Wood, all in Salford.

Greater Manchester Police

Michal Jaroslaw Polchowski (25/04/1956) and Marcin Majerkiewicz (10/04/1982) both of Worsley Road, Eccles, have been charged with murder.

They are set to appear at Tameside Magistrates Court this afternoon.

While formal identification is still ongoing, the remains found at Kersal Dale are believed to be of a local man in his 60s. The remains found at the other three locations are still to be tested, but police are confident they belong to the same victim.

ACC Sarah Jackson said: “We have had large numbers of officers, staff and specialists working diligently on this investigation over the last three weeks. It has been very much a large, collective effort, with the victim and family at the heart of it from the outset.

“We have specially trained officers deployed to support the family as they come to terms with this tragic news. They are aware of this morning’s further discovery and will continue to be kept up to date with how we are progressing.

“Despite the charges brought today, our work is far from over.

“The scenes we already have established in Bury and Salford will remain in place for much of this week whilst our searches and enquiries continue. Local officers will continue to patrol the impacted areas to provide reassurance.

“We will continue following every line of enquiry to recover and reunite the victim with his family, bringing a dignified end to this terrible scenario.

“I’d like to thank the communities of Salford and beyond for their cooperation throughout this investigation. I know this incident has come as a shock, and the support we’ve had from those in the area is very much appreciated.”

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More human remains discovered in Greater Manchester as police identify victim

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N Chadwick / Geograph

Detectives investigating the discovery of a torso in Kersal Dale have found more human remains around Greater Manchester.

GMP released a statement on the weekend, revealing they had opened four scenes for extensive searches – one of them at a warehouse in Bury, and three in Salford.

Searches took place at Blackleach reservoir, where human remains were found, and a dog walker found a package containing human remains at Colliery Wood.

Officers believe they have now identified the man, who they believe to be a man in his 60s that lived in Salford, and his family have been informed.

Two suspects have already been arrested in connection with the murder probe, with officers saying they are thought to have lived with the victim.

Greater Manchester Police / Facebook

Detective Superintendent Lewis Hughes, Senior Investigating Officer for this investigation, said in a statement at Blackleach reservoir yesterday, Sunday April 28th: “We have continued to make significant progress in our investigation into human remains being found in Kersal earlier this month.

“From day one, our priority has been to identify the man and his family so that we can give them the support and the answers that they need.

“Thanks to meticulous forensic work, we are now confident we have identified the man. Formal identification hasn’t yet taken place, but we believe he is a man in his 60s and lived in Salford.

“Specially-trained family liaison officers have met with his family this afternoon to give them the devastating news, and we will do all that we can to support them at this awful time.

“We believe he is known to the two suspects we have in custody. They have remained in custody for questioning over the weekend, as we work to establish how the victim met this tragic outcome.”

He continued: “We have painstakingly worked to follow up every line of inquiry in this investigation. Over the last couple of days, we have acted on information and had four scenes in place for extensive searches – one of them is at a warehouse in Bury, and three of them are in Salford, including here at Blackleach reservoir.

“Today, we have found some human remains at the reservoir here, and last night a dog walker found a package containing human remains at Colliery Wood. Forensic tests will continue to establish whose remains these are, but we are very confident that this is also the victim in our investigation.

“We have also been searching a house in Winton where we believe the victim and the two suspects lived. We have found evidence that the victim is likely to have died there – most likely in late March.

“While this is significant progress, we know there is still some way to go to complete this investigation. I also recognise details of this case will have been distressing for the people of Salford and beyond – including the officers that are diligently working on this investigation, and most importantly the man’s heartbroken family.

“Local officers will continue to patrol the affected areas, and we will provide updates when we have more information.”

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