Major win for Metroline in Manchester franchising awards

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ComfortDelGro’s Metroline, which does not currently have a presence in the city, has won a large share of the final round of franchise contracts in Greater Manchester

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has awarded the contracts to operate the final round of Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) Bee Network franchised services in Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and the remaining parts of Manchester and Salford from 5 January next year, from which point all buses across Greater Manchester will be operated under the new franchised regime.

The first and second rounds of franchining contracts have already resulted in around 50% of services, in Wigan, Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford and parts of north Manchester becoming part of the new franchised network of services. The latest and final round covers the largest area yet, with a total of nine franchises (made up of five large and four small ones) across the south of Greater Manchester, covering 248 different services.

Newcomer to the city ComfortDelGro-owned Metroline has been awarded contracts to operate four of the five large franchises, with the fifth going to Stagecoach. Diamond Bus has been awarded three of the four small franchise contracts, and Go North West the remaining one, with up to 120 new electric buses promised as part of the changes.


Chief Executive of Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) Eamonn Boylan said: “Awarding the last round of franchised contracts is a major milestone towards delivering the Bee Network. That ambition is central to our devolution journey. It’s exciting to think that in around nine months’ time all bus services across the whole of Greater Manchester will be under local control and accountable to the people they serve.

“We look forward to working with the winning bidders over the coming months as we prepare to deliver this positive change for people and businesses in Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and the rest of Manchester and Salford from January next year.”

TfGM says there will be some early improvements to services, including later trips on routes 314 and 325 for train connections at Stockport, earlier trips on route 330 and earlier and later services on route 347 to connect with Metrolink services at Ashton. It added that extra buses are being allocated to some routes from phase one of the franchising process on a 12-month trial basis, and that performance of franchised bus services in phase one is positive, with punctuality consistently tracking above both the non-franchised network and the equivalent services this time last year.

Tranche 3 contract awards:

  • Hyde Road large franchise Metroline
  • Sharston large franchise Metroline
  • Wythenshawe large franchise Metroline
  • Stockport large franchise Stagecoach
  • Tameside large franchise Metroline
  • Tameside A small franchise Go North West
  • Tameside B small franchise Diamond Bus North West
  • Trafford small franchise Diamond Bus North West
  • Stockport small franchise Diamond Bus North West