Independent Transport Videos

Greater Manchester Buses Bee Network - The First Tranche

Code: ND450
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On the 24th September 2023 the Bee Network went live marking the most significant change to the bus services in the Greater Manchester area since deregulation in 1986. The Bee Network will be introduced in three tranches each having a mix of small and large franchise contracts which operators had to bid for. This DVD programme looks at the events resulting from the introduction of the first tranche filmed in October and December 2023. The areas affected include Bolton, Wigan and parts of Salford and Bury. The biggest of the franchises was awarded to Go North West (GNW) covering Bolton and Wigan, with smaller franchises awarded to Rotala’s Diamond North West. In order to run the services a fleet of 50 BYD/ADL Enviro400City battery-electric double-deckers were introduced as well as a large fleet of ADL Enviro200MMC single-deckers that were starting to enter service during our filming. Before their arrival GNW borrowed over 40 similar vehicles from Go North East - mostly in their Green Arrow livery and from Go South Coast with buses appearing in both Swindon and Morebus liveries, all of which are seen on this DVD programme.

Our filming begins in Bolton during October and is centred on the bus station and Great Moor Street. Here we see a plenty of buses and liveries on the GNW buses as well as Stagecoach and Transdev buses in service. We then move to Wigan. Beginning on Hallgate our independent transport videos cameras then move towards the exit and then the entrance of the bus station, which is a superb place for filming as we see all the buses running through in Bee Network livery and the liveries of the borrowed ADL MMC200 single–deckers, not forgetting some Arriva and Stagecoach buses as well. From Wigan our cameras move onto Leigh where we film at the busy bus station and on King Street. Most of the buses are in Bee Network livery and it is here we see the former Firstbus Wright Gemini 3-bodied Volvo B5LH hybrids for the ‘Vantage’ guided busway, their route terminating at the bus station, with their striking purple livery and ‘Vantage’ names removed in favour of the Bee Network yellow and black livery. Three former London MCV EvoSeti double-deckers have also had guide wheels fitted for the V2 service and are seen on this programme. After Leigh we make a brief visit to the Trafford Centre bus station to record the buses before they join the Bee Network at the beginning of 2025 in the third tranche. Manchester city centre is our next major location. We see the buses in action on Princess Street, Portland Street, Piccadilly Gardens and Shudehill. There is a mixture of liveries and fleetnames that will change in time to the all yellow livery with Bee Network fleetnames.

During December 2023 our cameras visited Ashton-under-Lyne, which is another area that will come under the Bee Network banner in early 2025. We see buses from the fleets of Firstbus, Stagecoach and independent Stotts. From Ashton we visit Rochdale. Filming locations include Water Street, Drake Street and the bus station. This area will join the Bee Network in the second tranche in March 2024. We see buses from GNW as well as Transdev buses in the liveries of Team Pennine, Rosso, generic Transdev and their various route branded vehicles adding to the colourful scene.  Our final location is a return to Manchester city centre with our filming taking place at Shudehill, Piccadilly Gardens and Portland Street. A good variety of buses are seen, including a Preston Bus from the Rotala group operating a Bee Network X50 route for Diamond North West. Interesting times!

Produced by - Independent Transport Videos
Duration - 109 minutes approx
Region - 0 (worldwide) PAL
Aspect Ratio - 16:9 Widescreen
DVD only
Released - March 2024

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