Transport for Greater Manchester has unveiled a new online business portal that supports Greater Manchester firms in encouraging their workforce and customers to get on board with public transport and active travel.
It’s hoped that the use of the portal will help shape the future of the region’s integrated Bee Network.
The interactive portal, launched by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) today, will act as a ‘one-stop shop’ guiding businesses looking to make affordable and sustainable travel choices and support the wider regional economy.
Visitors to the TfGM business portal will find resources for both employers and employees, ranging from travel planning tools such as travel survey templates to information on new flexible tickets and active travel provisions such as Greater Manchester’s cycle hire scheme.
A business commuter toolkit, recommended for medium-sized businesses with around 50 employees or more, is available for download.
Smaller businesses may want to consider sharing TfGM’s employee journey planning guide, which will support employees to plan their commute considering sustainable options at an individual level.
With the early introduction of new lower capped fares, it’s never been more cost-effective for people to use the bus for their daily commute. There are also now flexible ticket offers on Metrolink, and Greater Manchester is constantly working to improve options to walk, cycle or wheel to work making active travel safer and more accessible.
By giving people the tools needed to rethink their journeys to and from work, businesses can play a crucial role in helping Greater Manchester work towards its ambitious target of becoming carbon neutral by 2038.
With a year to go until the formal launch of the Bee Network, Greater Manchester’s vision for a fully-integrated transport system, the launch of the portal also coincides with the start of the Get On Board campaign, which will promote public transport and active travel in Greater Manchester.
New single journey bus fares, capped at £2 for adults and £1 for children, and a lower £5 any bus all-day ticket, were introduced earlier this month to help people during the cost-of-living crisis.
The first franchised bus services will come into service in September 2023, as the bus network begins to come under the control of the Mayor and Greater Manchester Combined Authority.
Vernon Everitt, Greater Manchester’s Transport Commissioner, said: “The integrated Bee Network will help drive economic growth across our city-region, creating new jobs, housing and opportunity for all.
“Encouraging affordable sustainable travel for employees, customers and visitors will provide the platform to boost productivity and improve people’s health and wellbeing across the region. It also makes a huge contribution towards protecting the environment and helping to meet Greater Manchester’s carbon reduction targets.
“To support this, there will be a step change in how TfGM engages with businesses, including the new business portal providing information and advice on getting the best value for money tickets and sustainable transport choices.
“As we launch Get On Board, our major campaign to promote public transport and active travel, it’s never been a better time for businesses to encourage and embed sustainable travel choices for staff, customers and visitors.”
Mike Blackburn OBE, Chair of Marketing Manchester, said “Greater Manchester’s transport plans are some of the largest and most ambitious transport projects in the UK, which will benefit businesses and their employees.
“It will give people much better alternatives to using their own vehicles. The launch of this interactive portal gives individuals and businesses access to an array of information and tools that will help them rethink their commute and make informed choices with a keen eye on sustainability.”
The toolkit has been developed in partnership with local authorities, the Growth Company and informed by feedback from Greater Manchester businesses.
Steve Connor, Green Lead for the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership and CEO of communications agency Creative Concern added: “When it comes to Greater Manchester’s net-zero commitment, business has got a pivotal role in getting us there, whether it’s through their direct operations and emissions, or through the massive influence they have on society.
“Getting Greater Manchester’s workforce out of their cars and onto public transport or cycling and walking to work is a huge opportunity with massive benefits for the productivity of a business and the wellbeing of its staff, but it can also be good for a business’ brand if they can prove to partners and customers that they care about the environment and are taking action.”
Dame Sarah Storey, Active Travel Commissioner for Greater Manchester, said: “Walking, wheeling or cycling is an important component of everyone’s working day and being active helps improve mental and physical health. We are working to build a network and places that not only help staff to get to and from work but enhance the opportunities for meetings to be held outside, and for staff to move during their breaks.
“The active travel links of the Bee Network are being created to provide greater flexibility for people’s journeys around the city region and the TfGM business portal will make journey planning even easier for employers and workers in Greater Manchester.
“High-quality routes at Bee Network standard for walking, wheeling or cycling to a public transport stop – or the entire way should people feel able – will all be part of this journey planning tool, helping businesses support employees with a cost-effective and healthy way to get to and from their workplace.
“I do some of my best thinking when walking or cycling, and I regularly punctuate my day with some exercise; some of my most productive meetings have been when walking as it allows me to think more freely. I enjoy the flexibility of combining active travel and public transport for my journeys to work and this new platform will make it easier for others to do the same.”
If you are a business in Greater Manchester looking for advice on promoting public transport and active travel, visit TfGM’s dedicated travel planning page for employers.