In the city centre, there is a Metroshuttle bus that offers a free hop-on, hop-off service running from all of the main train stations, shopping areas and business districts. There are three different routes, with buses arriving roughly every 10 minutes. Most buses leave from Piccadilly Gardens and then loop around the main parts of the city.
To explore Greater Manchester and the rest of the country, there are commercial buses and coaches that will take you all the way to London. For North Manchester, you’ll catch a First bus, or a Stagecoach for the south of the city. To get to the Trafford Centre, take Stagecoach Route 250 or First Route 100 and 110. The quickest and most direct route is Stagecoach X50, which runs every 15 minutes from Monday to Saturday.
For late flights, look out for bus number 43 which runs all day to the airport, as well every 30 minutes throughout the night.
You can purchase bus tickets directly from the driver when boarding. Both First and Stagecoach offer unlimited day travel passes, which can only be used on corresponding buses. A System One travel pass allows you take buses, trains and trams, so it’s a good option if you’re thinking of moving around a lot during your stay.
The tram is another popular way to explore the city centre as well as further afield. The Metrolink (or ‘Met’) network is one of the best light rail systems in the UK, with regular services and quick, traffic-free routes. Trams come every few minutes, running from 6am to 11pm. You’ll find stations in all the main areas of the city – Piccadilly Station, Piccadilly Gardens, St Peter’s Square, G-Mex, Market Street and Victoria Station. Trams also service MediaCityUK (15 minutes), Old Trafford (10 minutes), Heaton Park (10 minutes) and Chorlton (15 minutes). You can also catch the Metrolink to and from the
If you’re staying in Manchester for several days, it’s worth looking into the Travelcard options that offer unlimited travel on the network. Otherwise, you can buy single tickets right on the platform.
Manchester is a bicycle-friendly city with many designated bike lanes, easy-to-ride routes and no steep hills. Many Mancunians opt to cycle, especially since the start of the 6-month Mobike Manchester city bikes trial. Mobike, a popular public transport option in Asia, describes itself as the world’s first smart, dock-free bikeshare platform. The bikes have non-puncture airless tyres, a GPS tracker, built-in locks and a cashless smartphone app. To use the bikes, you have to download the app, register and pay a refundable deposit of £49. You will then be charged 50p per 30 minutes. Once you’ve reached your destination, you can leave the bike at an authorised bike parking area and close the lock on the bike. There are currently 1,000 bikes available for hire, with more to be added as the trial progresses.
Taxis are relatively inexpensive compared with other major cities. In general, you should reckon on around £5-10 to get about in the city centre. Black London-style cabs can be hailed at any point or found at taxi ranks, while yellow Manchester City Council taxis need to be booked in advance by phone.
Another option is Manchester’s water taxis, dubbed ‘waxis’. These bright yellow boats travel up and down the canals between the city centre, Old Trafford and the Trafford Centre. Waxis run 7 days a week but must be pre-booked online.
Manchester is a great city to explore by walking – you can get around the whole centre within 20 minutes. Leave the map at home and simply wander the streets; if you get lost, there are City Hosts positioned all around the centre who can help you with directions, public transport tickets and any other questions you might have.