BOLTON could be one of the key boroughs to benefit from billion-pound plans for a 'London style' public transport system.

The ambitious £1.4bn Bee Network proposal, aims to dramatically improve Greater Manchester’s bus network, extending its reach across the city region, particularly across northern boroughs like Bolton and Bury, while simplifying fares.

Conservative Bolton Council leader Cllr Martyn Cox and Labour Metro Mayor Andy Burnham have both given their support to the plan.

Cllr Cox, who is set to raise the subject at a fringe meeting at the Manchester-hosted Tory Party conference today, said: "It's not just about connecting Bolton to the city centre, it’s about connecting the towns up as well, particularly across the northern conurbation.”

Turing to his cooperation with Mr Burnham on the project, he added “Where it’s good for Greater Manchester, it’s ridiculous to have an argument about it. You don’t have to be a Conservative or a Socialist to recognise that our transport system is not what it could be or what it should be.”

Bee Network plans will see the city region’s bus networks united under a single publicly owned franchise, which will then be integrated with the Metrolink system, along with cycling and walking routes.

Fares for the new network will be simplified with a single ticketing system for both buses and trams and range of just five different fares for all GM journeys. similar to London’s Oyster Card system.

Mr Burnham hopes, with the support of Cllr Cox, he can pursue the government to fund the early delivery of the plan so it is completed by 2024, a year sooner than originally envisaged.

For Bolton, this comes not long after proposals to extend Metrolink services into the town centre came a step closer to being realised, with the Department of Transport having agreed to a feasibility study into the idea.

Cllr Cox said: “As regards the Metrolink, we think that’s essential as we look to level up across the region. But today is all about a significantly improved bus service, liveried in one colour and under a single franchise.”

The colour scheme will be yellow and black, evoking the region's 'worker bee' heritage.

Cllr Cox said: “Greater Manchester is full of enterprise and has a strong work ethic and we think that’s a great branding to have as far as we’re concerned.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to make an announcement on the network's future at the Tory conference on Wednesday.