Picture: Transport for Greater Manchester

Transport for Greater Manchester has ordered 50 zero-emission doubledecker buses from Alexander Dennis for the first phase of the franchised Bee Network bus system which will launch in September 2023.  

The buses will be manufactured at Alexander Dennis’s factory in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, with plans to operate in Wigan and Bolton, where bus franchising will be rolled out on 17th September 2023, along with other parts of Greater Manchester in 2024 and 2025.  

“We are delighted to have been chosen by Transport for Greater Manchester as supplier for the first tranche of zero-emission buses for the new Bee Network,” said Alexander Dennis President & Managing Director, Paul Davies. 

“We look forward to playing our part in transforming bus services in Wigan and Bolton with these iconic buses, which will be built in the North of England at our factory in Scarborough and supported locally from our AD24 aftermarket hub in Skelmersdale. 

“Choosing Alexander Dennis shows Transport for Greater Manchester and the Mayor’s commitment to building buses locally in the United Kingdom, for which we are grateful. The new livery will inspire pride in Manchester’s Bee Network and the improvements it will deliver for the region.” 

The new Alexander Dennis zero-emission buses will be the first to have the branding of the new Bee Network. The network will represent Greater Manchester’s aim for a fully integrated, London-style integrated transport system comprising of buses, trams, walking and cycling, and eventually trains. 

“The countdown to bringing buses back under local control for the first time in 36 years is well and truly on. With the order placed for our first 50 new electric buses and strong interest from operators who want to run the first franchised services a year from now, the Bee Network is gathering real momentum,” said Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, who unveiled the distinctive black and yellow design. 

“I am also delighted to unveil a sneak peek of what the Bee Network is going to look like. We’re building on Manchester’s symbolic bee and Metrolink colours – both of which are synonymous with our city-region – to deliver something modern and iconic that reflects the first-class transport network it will become.” 

Initially, the 50 new buses will be funded from the government’s City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement, with around 300 more electric buses to be delivered from 2024 through to 2027.