Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has pledged to reinstate Bury’s "lost bus services" with the region's public transport model set to roll into the borough.

Mr Burnham said he will work with residents on a permanent bus timetable as he launched the next phase of bus franchising following the introduction of the Bee Network last year.

The mayor joined council leader, Cllr Eamonn O’Brien, and Greater Manchester Transport Commissioner Vernon Everitt at Bury Interchange yesterday, Monday, ahead of the next phase of bus franchising, which is set to begin on Sunday, March 24.

From that date, 80 new Bee Network buses will enter circulation in parts of Bury and Manchester as well as Oldham and Rochdale.

Mr Burnham labelled the network “the biggest change to public transport outside of London, anywhere in England” and promised that the new buses, which have been brought under public control “will be better than what they are replacing".

Bury Times: Transport Commissioner, Vernon Everitt and GM mayor Andy Burnham at Bury InterchangeTransport Commissioner, Vernon Everitt and GM mayor Andy Burnham at Bury Interchange (Image: Newsquest)

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Bus services had previously been run by private operators until the launch of the Bee Network in September last year.

Services across the whole of Greater Manchester will be under local control by January 2025.

The mayor said the Bee Network will work to "correct service reductions" put in place by private operators and work with residents to introduce new services where possible.

Mr Burnham said: “Services will be protected in a way they weren’t before. In the non-regulated world operators could just drop those services and there was not much we could do about it.

“In the Bee Network world, what comes in from March 24 is a permanent timetable, it won’t be chopped or changed and as we and as we built it up we are looking to reinstate services.

“Service reduction that people have had here will be corrected on March 24.”

The mayor said the operator will hold "network reviews" to assess service needs in boroughs across the region.

He confirmed that a review of bus services in Bury will take place later this year.

He added: “We will listen to calls from the public to see if we can introduce new services, particularly where they service a hospital, we will prioritise that.

“We absolutely want to work with the public here in Bury to prioritise the reintroduction of services that have been lost.”

Cllr O’Brien celebrated the launch of the latest phase as “an exciting day” for people in Bury and added that the current system of privately run buses does not adequately serve residents in the borough.

Bury Times: Bee Network busesBee Network buses (Image: TfGM)

He said Bury was at the "centre" of the project to improve transport in the region adding that an integrated public transport network was "integral" to improving the local economy, town centre regeneration and an £80m project to renovate the Bury Interchange.

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Cllr O'Brien said : “In Bury we are at the centre of a lot of this, with a new interchange over £80m being spent to improve what you see around us to make it more modern, more fit for the future and more accessible.

“Having the Bee Network, showing that it's better than what came before it, showing that it's better than what currently exists alongside is a fantastic thing to show when we go into those devolution talks in the future. It's fantastic to show our residents the value of cooperation across the greater Manchester.

“It's a great day for Bury, it's a great day for the city region and most importantly it’s a great day for our residents.”