Night buses could be coming to Bolton under plans being developed by transport bosses.

The Bolton News understands a business case for the service is being developed, with a paper set to be presented at the Bee Network Committee with more details.

Transport for Greater Manchester said it was not in a position to discuss timescales for the services to begin.

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TfGM’s chief network officer, Alex Cropper, said: “We recognise that transport is important to workers and employers in the night time economy and that there is a strong desire to enhance what is currently available. 

“Having control of our bus network gives us much more scope to explore options, and we’ve been working closely with the Mayor, Sacha Lord and other stakeholders to develop a business case to trial night services in areas served by the Bee Network.

“We are in the process of finalising these proposals, which we will be bringing forward to a future Bee Network Committee.”

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On X (formerly Twitter), Greater Manchester’s nighttime economy adviser Sacha Lord posted: “Greater Manchester Night Buses are coming...

“Great news, not just for customers, but more importantly for staff. Finally staff will have access to public transport.

“A huge benefit of @AndyBurnhamGM  taking buses back under public control.”

Night bus services have previously run between Bolton and Manchester.

In 2016, First Greater Manchester stopped running the 8 and 36 services, which connected Bolton and Manchester via Salford into the night.

The Bolton News: Night bus services were withdrawn in April 2016Night bus services were withdrawn in April 2016

At the time, the company blamed the withdrawal of TfGM funding support for the changes, saying the cost of running the services was not being covered.

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham and bus operator Go North West, which runs services on behalf of the Bee Network, have been contacted for comment.

What is the Bee Network?

As part of the new Bee Network, bus routes, timetables and more are controlled by Transport for Greater Manchester from now on in Bolton and Wigan, as well as parts of Salford and Bury.

The Bolton News: A yellow Bee Network busA yellow Bee Network bus (Image: TfGM)

Oldham and Rochdale's buses will come under the system from March 24, 2024, along with the remaining parts of Bury and Salford.

The remaining parts of the city region are set to join the system from January 2025.

After Greater Manchester buses in every borough have been brought under the system, passengers will be able to tap-in and tap-out across all buses and trams without having to decide on a ticket in advance, with fares capped at the “Bee AnyBus + Tram” price, similar to the system which has already been in place in London’s transport system for years, as well as many other major cities across the globe.

The system may even go cashless in the future, with Mr Burnham previously saying there was “an argument both ways” and that a decision had not been taken, before adding that most felt it would be safer and speed up journeys to go cashless.  

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