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Willmott Dixon delivers new EV infrastructure for Manchester's zero emission buses

Willmott Dixon TFGM Rotala Bus Depot Bee Network 01


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Supporting the launch of Transport for Greater Manchester's Bee Network with the delivery of a new EV charging hub for 50 new iconic, yellow Zero-Emission Electric Buses (ZEBs).

Accelerated through our Construction framework, delivery partner Willmott Dixon has installed new Electric Vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure at Transport for Greater Manchester’s (TfGM) upgraded Bolton bus depot. This includes a new private high-voltage ring main and substations, together with low-voltage distribution which feeds 25 dual EV chargers.

The depot is now powering the first 50 ZEBs within the Bee Network - Greater Manchester's vision to deliver an integrated and inclusive London-style transport system across its buses, trams, cycling and walking routes. The Bee Network launched on 24 September 2023 and forms a key part of Greater Manchester’s aim to have a zero-emission bus fleet by 2032, supporting its longer-term ambition to be carbon neutral by 2038.

By upgrading the Bolton depot and installing this crucial EV charging infrastructure, Willmott Dixon is playing a critical role in enabling our new fleet of zero-emission electric buses to hit the streets from day one, bringing immediate benefits to our customers. It shouldn’t be underestimated how big a part this will play in creating a sustainable Bee Network as we strive to make Greater Manchester a greener and healthier place for everyone.

Anne Marie Purcell

Bus Reform Director, Transport for Greater Manchester

Making communities greener and healthier

The very first Bee Network service buses are now carrying passengers across Bolton, Wigan, and parts of Bury, Salford and Manchester. Fully branded as part of the Bee Network fleet from day one, each of the BYD-Alexander Dennis Eviro400EV zero-emission buses seats 62 passengers.

As the Bee Network expands, a further 50 ZEBs will be delivered to Greater Manchester in March 2024 to run services in Bury, Rochdale and Oldham and across parts of Manchester, Salford and Tameside.

The launch of the Bee Network is an incredibly exciting moment and will be transformational for public transport in Greater Manchester. We’re proud to play our part in creating a new hub for the very first of the region’s soon-to-be iconic yellow buses.

Anthony Dillon

Managing Director for Willmott Dixon in the North

Connectivity and levelling up the North

This is Willmott Dixon’s latest project for TfGM, who are also working in partnership with Stockport Council and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) to deliver a multi-million-pound transformation of Stockport's bus station into a modern transport interchange, which will be completed later this year.

TfGM's Bus Reform Director Anne Marie Purcell said launching the Bee Network and delivering the first phase of bus franchising had been a huge achievement – and one that would not have been possible without the vitally important contributions of partners such as Willmott Dixon and SCAPE.

The hundred new buses for the initial phases have been funded by the government’s City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement (CRSTS) via the Department for Transport (DfT). This funding is designed to make it easier for residents and visitors to travel in and around the region, and to access their homes, places of work and recreational destinations in a sustainable way.

They also support the levelling up agenda, by making out-of-town training and employment sites more accessible, particularly to those without a car, which is higher in more deprived areas.

As the need for sustainable infrastructure increases, the facilities to support the new Bee Network of zero-emission buses will ensure residents across the Greater Manchester area have convenient, efficient, low-carbon public transport. “By using the SCAPE framework, TfGM will be able to deliver quickly and evidence clear value for the taxpayer, whilst creating additional social value through local employment and engagement opportunities.

Mark Robinson, SCAPE

Group Chief Executive

Futureproofing transport systems

Bus use on the Bee Network is anticipated to increase by 30% by 2030, which is around 200 million bus journeys.

The use of sustainable, battery-powered public buses instead of the equivalent single journeys in private vehicles represents a huge potential reduction in traffic congestion, carbon emissions and pollution.

As a result, people and communities will benefit from improved air quality, with cleaner, greener and more sustainable transport systems.

Oldham College Willmott Dixon

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