Manchester Metrolink prepares for integrated travel options
With the start of the transformational Bee Network just three months away, Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham today announced a range of new tickets that will make travel across the whole city-region cheaper and easier. 
The new Bee AnyBus + Tram tickets – delivered by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) with support from Greater Manchester TravelCards Ltd (GMTL) – will make combined bus and tram travel around 20 percent cheaper compared to buying products separately and will launch on 24 September when the city-region becomes the first area to begin to bring buses under local control for the first time in almost 40 years (from 24 September). 
Bought through the new Bee Network app and other retail channels, it means unlimited journeys on any bus service and any chosen Metrolink zone for as little as £5.40. 
The move to a simplified, integrated and cheaper fare structure is a key part of the Bee Network – Greater Manchester’s plan for a ‘London-style’, high volume, low fare, transport system, which will transform the way people travel across the city region. 
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “We know that lower fares make a real difference to people – particularly in today’s challenging times – so I am delighted to be able to announce that not only are we extending the capped bus fares for at least another year, we are cutting the cost of travel even more with our new Bee AnyBus + tram tickets, making multi-modal journeys 20% cheaper from September than they are today. 
“We are working to deliver a network for our millions of residents and visitors that is every bit as good as the one Londoners have – one that has frequent, reliable services and low fares – and it starts by bringing buses back under local control in three months’ time. 
“With the potential to travel across the whole of Greater Manchester by bus for just £5 – or as little as £7.80 with the entire tram network included too, the lower fares represent great value for money, particularly compared to the cost of travelling by car. 
“Cutting the cost of public transport benefits everyone and I want it to be a lasting and defining part of the Bee Network. That can only happen if more people use it, so my plea today is for everyone to get on board with us and help keep fares low. You'll be better off with the Bee Network. 
“I would also like to put on record my thanks to Rail Minister Huw Merriman for his commitment to working with us to pilot a new way to pay on rail that will ultimately enable us to integrate certain key rail services in Greater Manchester into the Bee Network.” 
(L-R) Vernon Everitt, Transport Commissioner for Greater Manchester; Cllr Shah Wazir, Portfolio Holder for Highways and Facilities for Rochdale Council; Cllr Lucy Smith, Deputy Leader of Bury Council; Andy Burnham, Greater Manchester Mayor; Cllr Arooj Shah, Leader of Oldham Council; Cllr Neil Emmott, Leader of Rochdale Council; Lorna Fitzsimons, Greater Manchester Business Board member and co-founder of The Pipeline 
While the numbers of people using the city-region’s buses, trams and trains continues to grow, inflation has rapidly and permanently increased the cost base of public transport. 
Since the pandemic, transport authorities and operators have relied on funding from central government to maintain services in some areas, and the Mayor says a review of public transport funding is needed to provide longer-term certainty and stability: 
“We are grateful for the support we have received from government, that has helped us retain services and introduce lower fares, but under the current system the way that funding is allocated is unpredictable and inconsistent – not just in Greater Manchester, but elsewhere too. 
“A good transport system needs certainty and stability to keep people connected with jobs, education and other essential services. Failure to do so leaves transport authorities like ours facing a cycle of declining services and increasing fares. 
“That is why we need to look again at how public transport is funded in all parts of the country and we will be bringing proposals forward to government and opposition parties during party conferences later this year on just that,” Andy Burnham added. 
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