Manchester's Metrolink is probably the easiest way to get around the various locations in Manchester although it is not always that reliable and is quite expensive. In the Winter the tram service can be a little scetchy especially if there has been a lot of snow and ice. When it was first opened the Metrolink didn't cover very much area but it has recently been regenerated and now reaches areas such as Ashton-Under-Lyne (famous for Ikea and Ashton Market), Oldham (I don't know what that is famous for) and stops at places like Failsworth, Newton Heath and Rochdale.
Travel cards can be bought for unlimited daily travel on all metrolink tram services for £6.70 for an adult during peak times and unpeak times.
For an off peak travel card (any time after 9:30am) you can purchase an unlimited daily travel card for £4.90.
Information about fares and routes are available on www.metrolink.co.uk. It is also useful to check the website for information on any delays or closed station.s
It is easy to get around Greater Manchester, You can pick up transport maps from various places but if you have access to the internet you can use the website below to plan your journey.
You can also download bus time tables here http://www.tfgm.com/journey_planning/Pages/bus_times_leaflet_library.aspx
and have info sent to you before hand here http://www.tfgm.com/journey_planning/Pages/have_leaflets_sent_to_you.aspx
The Metro is a good way to get around and provides links from the City Centre to towns in Greater Manchester, It provides a quick link to the city Centre from Piccadilly station as well as to Oldham, Rochdale, Bury, Didsbury, Droylsden (Soon to Ashton) and more. the metro station at Piccadilly is under the rail station.If you are going to the city centre it is only a short walk and there are also free buses outside the station.
If you plan to visit any of the sights outside of the city centre, like Old Trafford, the Lowry, or Ordsall Hall, one way to go there is by bus.
I went to Old Trafford by Arriva Bus. The journey took about twenty minutes and it was very easy, the bus stops almost in front of the stadium. I had earlier asked for information in the traveline office at Piccadilly, and they had told me that it was possible to buy a day saver ticket for £3,70 which would be valid on all busses in Manchester. I bought that ticket.
After I had visited Old Trafford, I walked to Ordsall Hall, and then wanted to go back to the city, so I walked to the nearest bus stop. When the bus arrived, though, the driver told me that my ticket was not valid, as I had bought an Arriva Day Saver, and this was a First Bus, where the Arriva ticket was not valid. I had gotten something wrong, there is no day ticket valid on all busses in Manchester, you can only buy a day ticket for one bus company!!!
I was very tired and really wanted to go back, therefore I just bought a new ticket - but I thought it was very annoying.
I can only recommend that you really check your ticket and take care to buy the ticket you actually need, to avoid waisting money.
Otherwise I found the busses in Manchester quite easy to use and the drivers friendly, although sometimes it was not easy to find the right bus stop.
Piccadilly is something like the travel hub in the city centre, most busses start from here. It is a good place to look for information, as both the tourist information and the traveline office are located here. Ok, they did not make the thing with the day ticket clear enough, but they gave me the right information concerning which bus to take to Old Trafford, and also told me where exactly I had to catch it - this made my journey to the stadium much easier!
The metroshuttle is a FREE bus going around Manchester's city centre. There are three lines, each with their own colour, and it is very easy to identify the metroshuttle bus stops throughout the city - you just need to look out for the colour and number.
Busses of line 1 go from Piccadilly around the town centre and leave every six minutes
Busses of line 2 go from Oxford Road and Deansgate to Victoria, therefore connecting the three train stations north and south of the city centre, they leave every ten minutes
Busses of line 3 go from Piccadilly to Salford, providing a connection from the west to the east of the city centre, leaving every ten minutes
I only took the metroshuttle once, from Victoria to the town centre, but I must admit that I did not really like it - the bus was so crowded and very hot, and because of the traffic it only went very slow. I realized that walking would have been much quicker.
However, I think it is still great to provide a free bus service, especially for people who don't like walking or are not able to do it for a longer distance.
The Metrolink is a light rail system that operates through Greater Manchester operating from the north in Bury to the South in Altrincham. The network opened in 1992 and is currently being extended as far as Manchester Airport (estimated completion will be in 2016).
I used the Metrolink to catch a tram to MediaCityUK in Salford. An Off Peak Single is 2.20 gbp (October 2011) but you can get a Day Saver for unlimited usage of the network in Greater Manchester for 4.20 gbp (October 2011).
It usually cost around 1.00 gbp for a single ride within the city centre.
You can find out further information including ticket options on this website
Manchester have three free city buses that go by the name of Metro shuttle.
They are easy to tell apart as they are colour coded.
METROSHUTTLE 1 (Orange)
Monday – Friday every six minutes 7am – 6pm
Then every ten minutes 6pm-7pm
Saturday every six minutes 8am-7pm
Sunday and public holidays every ten minutes 10am-6pm
This service starts and finishes at Piccadilly station . It travels across the northern half of the city centre to Spinningfields and back.
Places to stop off are Arndale Centre, Royal Exchange, John Rylands library, Opera house, people’s history museum, Town Hall and the Art gallery.
METROSHUTTLE 2 (green)
Every ten minutes
Monday – Friday 7am-7pm
Sunday and public holidays 10am-6pm
This service starts and finishes at Shudehill interchange and travels to Oxford road station and back.
Places to stop off are Arndale centre, Printworks, Victoria station, MEN arena, Manchester Cathedral, Royal Exchange, John Rylands library, Opera house, MOSI, and the Palace theatre.
METROSHUTTLE 3 (purple)
Every ten minutes
Monday – Friday 7am-7pm
This service starts and finishes at Piccadilly station and travels to Salford central and back.
Places to stop off are Piccadilly gardens, Central coach station, Chinatown, Palace theatre, Opera house, MOSI, People’s History Museum, Town Hall and the Art gallery.
Maps are available from Piccadilly station and Tourist Information Centre at the corner of Piccadilly gardens on Portland street.
The Manchester Metro-Link is a Tram network that operates in the City Centre and other parts of the Manchester area.It is a very modern network with trams to all parts of the city.It consists of four lines which converge in the city centre and terminate in Bury,Altringham,Eccles and Chorlton-cum-Hardy.the system is currently undergoing major expansion with four new lines to be finished and opened by 2016 and further expansion is on the horizon to Stockport and the Trafford centre.The current developement will mean stops to East Didsbury,Ashton-under-Lyne,Oldham,Rochdale,Sportcity,MediaCityUK and Manchester Airport.Trams run on average of evry 12 minutes and carry on average over 90 thousand passengers per week,and up to 20 million a year.The main depot is in Cheetham Hill,M8 just North of the City Centre.A new depot will be built and soon completed at Old Trafford,M16.
For times and fares see website.
The Manchester Metroshuttle is a FREE bus service that runs on three routes. It passes by most of the main attractions and links the cities railway stations, Metrolink tram stops, most bus stops and the main NCP car parks.
The service runs 0700 -1900 Mon - Sat Services 1+2 run 100-1800 on a Sunday too.
Each bus has low floor, easy access for wheelchairs, prams, and those with limited mobility
Service 1 (orange) runs every 5 minutes from PICCADILLY TRAIN STATION. This route covers Piccadilly Gardens, China Town, City Art Gallery, Designer Stores/Town Hall/ Albert Square (For the Christmas Markets etc), John Rylands Library, Spinningfields(Peoples History Museum, MANCAT, RBS Opera House and John Rylands Library), Deansgate, St Ann's Square, Arndale, Royal Exchange, New Cathedral St, Albert Square, Piccadilly Gardens,(YORK STREET BUS STATION, Chinatown, CENTRAL COACH STATION/ Gay Village, Universities and City College then PICCADILLY STATION
Service 2 (green) runs every 10 minutes from SHUDEHILL INTERCHANGE (Printworks and Arndale Centre) and covers VICTORIA STATION (MEN Arena), Chethams school of music, New Cathedral Street Designer Stores, Manchester Cathedral, Barton Arcade, St Ann's Square, John Ryland library/ Spinningfields RBS, AMC cinema, Gt Northern, G-Mex, MICC, Opera House, Castlefield Gallery, Deansgate Locks, DEANSGATE TRAIN STATION, MMU, BBC, OXFORD ROAD TRAIN STATION Corner House, Palace Theatre, The Green Room, Roman Fort, Castlefield Area, Museum of Science and Industry, Spinningfields (Granada TV,Opera House, MANCAT) King Street, Deansgate/ Barton Arcade, St Marys Gate, VICTORIA STATION and SHUDEHILL INTERCHANGE
Service 3 (purple) run every 10 minutes from Piccadilly to- Piccadilly Gardens, Central Coach Station/ Chinatown/City Art Gallery, Cube, Central Library/Library Theatre/ Palace Theatre/Corner House, G-Mexx/ MICC / AMC cinema/ Great Northern, Opera House, Spinningfields/ Granada TV/Museum of Science and Industry, MANCAT, SALFORD CENTRAL TRAIN STATION,Spinningfields (Peoples History Museum/ MANCAT, RBS/Opera House) G-Mexx/MICC/AMC Cinema/ Great Northern, Central library/ Library Theatre/ St Peters Square, Albert Square (Seasonal Speciality Markets), Town Hall, City/Art Gallery and Chinatown, CUBE/ Central bus Station /The Gay Village, Universities/ City College/ Palace Theatre and Piccadilly Station.
Maps are displayed at the bus stops and on the buses (pic 4). Or click onto Link for more info and map to download.
Our bus wasn't too busy, and the driver was quite helpful in offering directions to the various attractions. We were wanting the Central Library, to cut down to the Town Hall and Albert Square for our meeting point
Check out the useful website for upto date information on route/time changes. Route maps to download etc
This is a pretty good website for planning your journey around the greater Manchester area by bus, train and tram. You enter a start and end point and it will list 3 or 4 routes including the bus numbers, metro stops, distance and time, if walking is required (even if just to walk to a different stop at a bus terminal). It's very useful. Of course you need access to a computer but if you know ahead of time where you want to go, or if you're handy a cyber cafe, it gives fairly accurate directions.
I would recommend parking on the park and ride at Ladywell metro link tram stop and get the tram to Exchange Quay.
Ladywell is just off the M602. Next to the tram stop is a large free park and ride. It is manned 24 hours a day, dead safe.
You just park there, get a tram outside a few stops. Trams run till after midnight.
These free Metroshuttle buses links the city centre's railway stations, bus stations, tourist attractions, city landmarks and buisness and shopping centres.
There are three Metroshuttle circular routes:
(Every 6 minutes at peak times and every 10 minutes at off peak time)
Piccadilly Railway Station - China Town - Spinningfields (peak only) - Deansgate - The Village - Piccadilly Railway Station
Attractions: Manchester Art Gallery, Opera House, John Rylands Library, Royal Exchange
(Every 10 minutes)
Shudehill/Vicitoria Railway Sation - Deansgate - Castlefield - Oxford Road - Castlefield - Spinningfields/The Avenue - Victoria Railway Station/Shudehill
Attractions: The Printworks, MEN Arena, Manchester Cathedral, Royal Exchange, John Rylands Library, Great Northern, MOSI, Castlefield Gallery, Deansgate Locks, Cornerhouse, Palace Theatre, Manchester Central, Bridgewater Hall, Deansgate Locks, Castlefield Arena, Roman Fort, Opera House
(Every 10 minutes)
Piccadilly Station - Spinningfields - Salford Central - Spinningfields - Albert Square - The Village - Piccadilly
Attractions: Chinatown, CUBE Gallery, Palace Theatre, Cornerhouse, Manchester Central, Great Northern, Opera House, MOSI, People's History Museum, Town Hall, Mancheter Art Gallery
It's so easy to get around Greater Manchester. The area has an extensive public transport system.
To get to Salford Quays from the city centre, I used the tram service 'Metrolink'. There are 2 lines, Bury to Altrincham via the city centre & Piccadilly to Eccles. The trams were clean, fast & easy to use.
If you are visiting Greater Manchester, I would look on the Metrolink & GMPTE websites before you go. They will help you plan your journey & make the most of your time there.
I recently went to see a friend in Leeds and travelled with National Express. My return ticket cost £8 with a 50 pence charge for my ticket sent to my mobile. The coach leaves the bus station on Chorlton Street (just off Portland Street). The journey took 1 hour 5 minutes (can take longer at other times). This is 15 minutes longer than the train, but saves over £7.
Like most UK cities, Manchester's bus services are provided by many different bus companies. Each company has its own fare charging system with daily, weekly and monthly tickets, some of which can only be used on that specific bus company's routes or selected routes provided by that specific bus company.
Locally based companies who have a tendency to charge cheaper fares include R Bullocks and Finglands but run on a limited number of routes (mainly serving southern suburbs).
National companies include First Buses and Stagecoach who tend to have slightly higher prices but run on numerous routes.
Each bus company will have its own daily or weekly ticket which will allow unlimited travel on that company's services (some provided scaled-down tickets which run on popular service areas like Wilmslow Road).
If you want to travel throughout the Greater Manchester area using buses from most of the bus companies, then a System 1 ticket is probably going to be your best option. The daily ticket costs GBP4.00 off peak or GBP4.50 peak (off peak is weekdays after 09:30 and weekends). The weekly ticket (which requires accompaniment of a photo ID card available free of charge from GMPTE Travel Shops) costs GBP17.00 - hence, if you're going to be travelling extensively for more than 3 days, a System 1 Weekly Bus ticket may be your best purchase. The System 1 day saver ticket for all buses can be purchased from the driver of any bus within the scheme.
Please note that System 1 travel tickets lasting more than one day are not available for purchase at Manchester Airport.