Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has announced a rollout of night buses in Bolton and Wigan as part of a pilot scheme which hopes to eventually introduce the service across the wider region.

Speaking at the Night Time Economy Summit at Depot Mayfield on Thu 8 Feb, Burnham said: “For the first time in a long time, we’re talking about running night buses in Greater Manchester. We think we can stack up a night offer.”

While a night-time bus service operates around South Manchester and the surrounding areas, the latest plan will focus on routes between the city centre and northwards, where buses have recently been brought under public control as part of the expanding Bee Network.

“The point of taking control of buses is to then make the system work for people in a way that it’s not worked for people for a long time.”

Describing his vision for Manchester’s new nocturnal transport network as ‘a firm ambition’, he continued: “”It wouldn’t be a frequent service obviously, but it would be an all-night service. But it’s not finally agreed so at this stage, it’s still to be determined.

“But the idea is a night bus service of the kind that was common in the past, actually, and deregulation destroyed it because operators stopped providing it. Even though these services are socially necessary, obviously they’re not as commercial as other services and hence they disappeared.”

TfGM’s Chief Network Officer, Alex Cropper, said: “We recognise that transport is important to workers and employers in the night time economy and that there is a strong desire to enhance what is currently available.

“Having control of our bus network give us much more scope to explore options, and we’ve been working closely with the Mayor, Sacha Lord and other stakeholders to develop a business case to trial night services in areas served by the Bee Network. We are in the process of finalising these proposals, which we will be bringing forward to a future Bee Network Committee.”

Andy Burnham will set out further plans for night buses in Manchester in his manifesto ahead of the Mayoral elections in May.

Wolf McFarlane
Published on:
Fri 9 Feb 2024