New Wigan bus operators and plans for railway station in Golborne revealed
The operators for Wigan’s first locally controlled buses in decades have been revealed, along with plans for a railway station in Golborne.
Go North West will run two large franchises and Diamond will run seven smaller franchises across Wigan, Bolton and parts of Salford and Bury.
Nigel Featham, managing director of Go North West, said: “We are extremely proud and excited to have been selected to run the first franchised bus services in Greater Manchester and to be able to play our part in delivering the Bee Network.
“We are absolutely committed to providing the best possible service to the people of Bolton and Wigan and can’t wait to get started. This new era of public transport will not only represent major change for bus passengers, but the thousands of people working to provide these vital services.
“While change can be exciting and full of new possibilities, it can also be unsettling and I want to reassure staff working at the depots to be run by Go North West from next September that we will be working hard to ensure a smooth transition in the coming months.”
Bob Dunn, managing director at Diamond, said: “I am pleased that we have won seven of the 11 franchises that we have bid for and look forward to the new challenges and opportunities that the next year will bring.
“In 2023, in partnership with the Mayor, TfGM and GMCA, we will be stepping up the quality on over 40 bus routes in Greater Manchester, supported by our team of over 250 colleagues and 80 buses."
Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) plans to introduce several improvements, including the launch of a Bee Network customer contact centre and a Bee Network app.
Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham said: “Locally controlled bus services are fundamental to our Bee Network vision for a better public transport network for all, and as the first area to do this outside London, Greater Manchester is once again blazing a trail.
“Franchising will enable us to better integrate services as part of a joined-up network, with simpler fares and ticketing, a price cap so no one pays more than they need to, a better customer service offer and a single look for the whole network.”
There are plans for services on six key rail routes to be integrated into the Bee Network once buses are brought under local control from 2025.
That includes Wigan to Victoria, with the development of a new station in Golborne anticipated to open late in 2025, subject to DfT and industry approvals.
Transport Commissioner for Greater Manchester, Vernon Everitt, said: “Today’s announcements on bus franchising and our ambitions for local rail services demonstrate further strong momentum towards delivery of the Bee Network – an integrated London-style transport system.
“We will progressively make it easier for everyone to use our services with simplified and joined-up fares, ticketing and information provision across bus, tram, rail and cycle hire. We will also continue to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour and support vulnerable people on the network in collaboration with the TravelSafe Partnership.
“We are also developing major local transport schemes at pace, with more than £100m of projects currently being delivered including new electric buses, quality bus routes and better transport interchanges."