Building the Bee Network: TRANSPORT Smart Class, North of England 2023 Retrospective

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As Transport Strategy Director at Transport for Greater Manchester, Simon Warburton’s work focussed in recent years on progressing the case for integrated public transport through ever-greater devolution and in establishing active travel as a genuine component of the city region network. Greater Manchester is currently establishing a system of bus franchises which, when complete in 2025, will form the basis for the Bee Network: the most developed integrated transport system outside London.

In his opening keynote at TRANSPORT Smart Class, North of England 2023 (just before his move to become the new Executive Director for Transport at West Yorkshire Combined Authority), Simon outlined how TfGM is building the Bee Network to bring together bus, tram, active travel and ultimately rail services into one system with integrated ticketing, information and a high-quality user experience.

Simon updated us on Greater Manchester’s 2040 Transport Strategy, took us through the network principles and spatial themes that underpin this strategy, and explained how the Bee Network, with bus franchising as the single largest component, will support a shift to more sustainable forms of transport to help meet GM’s decarbonisation targets and achieve the ‘Right Mix’ of journeys.

Summary of presentation highlights:

  • Breakdown of GM’s 2.8 million population – Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan;
  • Fastest growing city region outside of London – GM Economy vs Wales, North East England, Northern Ireland and further afield;
  • Inequalities (earnings, health, life expectancy) and indices of multiple deprivation;
  • Growing car dependency – Declines in bus patronage and growth in motor traffic;
  • A growing region needs better transport – Supporting population growth to 3 million by 2040, 1.56 million jobs by 2035 and 200,000+ new homes;
  • Greater Manchester Transport Strategy 2040 – Transport Vision: World-class connections that support long-term sustainable economic growth and access to opportunity for all;
  • Greater Manchester Transport Strategy 2040 – Seven Network Principles that set out key desired characteristics of a more customer-focused transport system;
  • Greater Manchester Transport Strategy 2040 – Five Spatial Themes (from “Connected neighbourhoods” to “A globally connected city”), each with distinctive ambitions and priorities;
  • Right Mix: 2040 Vision – At least 50% of journeys to be made by walking, cycling and public transport by 2040, to avoid future growth in traffic – One million more sustainable journeys per day;
  • What is the Bee Network? A fully integrated transport network for the people of Greater Manchester; Bringing together bus, tram, active travel and ultimately rail services into one system with integrated ticketing, information and a high-quality user experience;
  • What will the Bee Network deliver/support? More jobs, businesses, home and inclusion in a sustainable way; a shift to more sustainable forms of transport to help meet decarbonisation targets;
  • Bus Franchising – Single largest component of the Bee Network; four months to go until first franchised services; allows network to be planned as one for the first time; integration across fares, ticketing and information;
  • Bus Franchising 2023/2024/2025, Metrolink, GM Rail (Stages 1 & 2);
  • Greater Manchester Trailblazer (March 2023): Rail – new Partnership with Great British Railways and commitments to full fares and ticketing integration by 2030; Bus – powers to tackle anti-social behaviour; single settlement model, fiscal devolution and new accountabilities; skills and employment; net zero and environment; housing etc.

If you meet our regular delegate qualification criteria but were unable to join us at Nexus, University of Leeds, for the live in-person event on May 25th, CLICK HERE and complete the short “Download form” (located at the bottom of the post) to receive a unique link enabling free access to the presentation video recordings and slides (including the film footage and slides from Simon’s keynote).

Those qualifying to receive the rich presentation content from this event include commissioning, procurement, trialling, partnering and policy leads, senior influencers, strategic decision makers and planners from local authorities (e.g. city, borough, metropolitan, district and county councils); public transport operators; regional transport partnerships, sub-regional transport bodies, combined authorities, integrated transport authorities and passenger transport executives; highways authorities and road operators; government and supporting national transport agencies; fleet operators, parking operators, prime contractors etc.

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TRANSPORT Smart Class, North of England 2023

On May 25th we will be casting a spotlight over the North of England, hosting our speakers discussions on how the latest digital innovations can help overcome the transport and mobility challenges faced by city-regions of the Northern Powerhouse and beyond.

  25/05/2023

   Leeds, UK

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