Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has chosen Softwire, a leading digital transformation consultancy, to develop the mobile ticketing and real-time journey information app for the Mayor’s Bee Network.

The Bee Network represents Greater Manchester’s vision for a high-capacity, low-cost transport system similar to London’s, aimed at revolutionizing travel within the city region and supporting its carbon-neutral goals by 2038.

Softwire will be responsible for the design, development, and deployment of the app. The initial version of the app is set to launch in time for the commencement of TfGM’s locally controlled bus services on September 24, 2023. This app will serve as the primary platform for passengers to purchase combined Bee AnyBus + Tram tickets, offering savings of approximately 20% compared to standalone tickets.

The first version of the Bee Network app will include the following features:

  • Integration of Greater Manchester’s new bus and existing tram services into a unified platform.
  • Access to real-time departure information to assist passengers during their journeys.
  • Navigational tools displaying stops and stations within the Manchester transport network.
  • The capability to purchase retail tickets across the Manchester transport network.
  • In-app mobile tickets, allowing passengers to use their mobile devices for ticket validation.

Following the app’s delivery, Softwire will collaborate with TfGM to facilitate knowledge transfer, enabling the organization’s in-house teams to manage ongoing maintenance and future enhancements while building upon the app’s foundation.

Helen Humble, Head of Ticketing at TfGM, expressed their excitement about the partnership with Softwire, emphasizing the importance of user-centric design, accessibility, and seamless integration with various services.

Alex Wolff, Director of Public Sector & Transport at Softwire, echoed their enthusiasm for contributing to TfGM’s ambitious Bee Network vision, highlighting the critical role user experience plays in increasing public transport usage.

Apps like this, Wolff explained, have the potential to significantly impact public transportation usage, emphasizing the need for optimal user experiences across functionality, design, and underlying architecture. Softwire’s expertise in the travel industry, including their work with train operator LNER, where their app currently boasts a rating of 4.9 out of 5 on the iOS App Store, positions them well to meet these expectations.