We’ve had a lot going on recently when it comes to the public transport network in Greater Manchester – probably the less said about that, the better. But now, it seems we have some progress to report in terms of our much-used, and often much-hated, rail network, aiming to have an integrated network of services.
Hot on the heels of the launch of Greater Manchester’s Bee Network, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and Great British Railways Transition Team (GBRTT) has today (18 October) formally started work to deliver a more locally accountable and integrated rail network in Greater Manchester.
This means, for us, a sustainable, integrated, low-cost, high-frequency public transport system in Greater Manchester, as is TfGM’s Bee Network vision, with the ambition to integrate local rail into the Bee Network by 2030.
The partnership will support the roll-out of ‘tap-in, tap-out‘ technology to enable simpler fares and seamless journeys on different modes of transport across the Greater Manchester region. Work is ongoing to develop the first contactless pilot on rail in Greater Manchester, and is due to be launched in 2025, envisaged for services between Stalybridge and Victoria, and Glossop and Piccadilly (subject to confirmation).
Integration between train, Metrolink, bus and active travel such as walking and cycling is also a key aim of the partnership, alongside better integration of rail stations into the Bee Network. In the short term, this will make it easier for passengers to change between the Bee Network and the railway, meaning the public will be able to move around more easily and flexibly.
Rufus Boyd, Interim GBRTT Lead Director, said: “Our current railway system has lost focus on customers and doesn’t align to the new model of political devolution.
“This new partnership brings together key organisations involved in the city-region’s transport with the aim of enabling people to make and pay for journeys seamlessly across trains, buses, trams and bikes. This improved connectivity and joint approach can unlock jobs, housing and economic growth across the city region.”
Vernon Everitt, Transport Commissioner for Greater Manchester, said: “The delivery of the first phase of bus franchising alongside the existing Metrolink tram network lays the ground for integrated public transport through Greater Manchester’s Bee Network by January 2025. We then want to go further.
“By setting up this partnership with GBRTT we will work together to integrate local rail into the Bee Network by 2030. This will provide customers and businesses with access to joined-up journeys with simple fares and ticketing and high-quality real-time information and will transform transport for people across our growing city-region.”
We will definitely be keeping you updated on the very latest, with transport being a huge topic of conversation, especially in Greater Manchester.