Tips For Travelling on Buses in Manchester

In greater Manchester, we’re lucky to have a fantastic public transport network that spans our county. Plenty of buses, trains and trams mean that we’re never far from a stop or station that’ll help us get around.While it isn’t the biggest area in the UK, there’s still nearly 1,300 km2 to cover, so tips for travelling on buses in Manchester will always be welcome.

At System One Travel, we’ve come up with a few ideas to make bus travel a little easier but we’d love to hear your recommendations on everything from how to beat the ticket queues to the best place to grab a coffee to enjoy on your ride. Take a look at our list and don’t forget to get in touch via Facebook or Twitter to share your tips for travelling on buses in Manchester.


Plan Ahead


To avoid hanging around unnecessarily at a bus stop, make sure you thoroughly investigate your route before venturing out. You can use a range of journey planning tools that are easily accessible online or, if you know the route you need to take, pick up a bus timetable from a Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) Travelshop at any bus station or interchange.

As well as Manchester City Centre’s Piccadilly Gardens and Shudehill Interchange, bus stations are scattered throughout the county in towns such as Altrincham, Ashton, Bolton, Bury, Eccles, Hyde, Leigh, Middleton, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport, Wigan and Wythenshawe. Remember that some routes don’t operate in the evenings or at weekends, and others have reduced services at certains times.

Comfort Counts

While buses in Manchester are generally warm (and dry!), you’ll need to dress for the weather as, with all road traffic, buses are sometimes unavoidably delayed. You’ll want to be as comfortable as possible if you have to wait at a bus stop for a short while so on the off chance that your chosen stop doesn’t have a shelter, we’d encourage you to bring an umbrella and, if the season demands, a good coat.

If you’re intending to bring a lot of baggage with you, beware that buses can get crowded and while there are allocated spaces for luggage, they are often full and/or difficult to reach due to other passengers. Travel as light as possible and if you do have to carry a lot of bags, make use of the storage areas at the front of the bus.

Just The Ticket

Get the most out of bus travel in Manchester by making sure that you have the right ticket. Unlike London, we don’t have one single Manchester bus company so there is quite a range of bus-specific travelcards out there. Fortunately, a System One Travelcard can be used on any bus, any time, anywhere in Greater Manchester. With a range of 1-day, weekend, weekly, 28-day and annual travelcards available from just £5.20, you’ll find uncomplicated, affordable bus travel to suit your needs.

For added convenience, the new get me there smartcard also gives you access to any bus in Greater Manchester and can be topped up as and when needed. Simply load a 1-day, weekly or 28-day bus travelcard onto your smartcard and away you go! Prices start at just £5.00, so you’ll also make savings on the regular ticket prices.  Order your free get me there smartcard today!

Travel in Style


Another benefit of using buses in Manchester City Centre is that it gives you a chance to sit back and watch the world go by. Though it might not bring you directly from door to door, bus travel  will give you the opportunity to do other things along the way - check your work emails, monitor your social media, catch a few zzzs or enjoy a well deserved drink from your preferred coffee shop.

So, pay attention along your route and you’ll spot handy places on the way - a post office or bank, a branch of your favourite shop, or a supermarket - where you might need to break your journey from time to time.


Neat Seat


Regular bus users will have their own preference when it comes to seat location. Top deck? Near the doors? Back seat? If the bus is full, you might not have a choice but if it’s reasonably empty, you’ll be able to take your pick.

Go practical and pick a seat near the doors so that you can can jump up quickly when you reach your stop (handy if you’ve asked the driver to let you know when you’ve reached your stop). Or take the scenic option of top deck, front row which will give you a bird’s eye view of the city. Seats behind the stairwell often have more legroom than the rest of the bus while those opposite the doors will allow for a welcome cooling breeze in summer months.

If you’re looking forward to having a little snooze, avoid the seats over the wheel arches - restricted legroom means that your knees could be near your chin as you experience every little bump in the road.   

It’s a good idea to leave the priority seats for others (unless you are in need of one), you’ll only need to move if a pregnant woman, disabled person or pensioner gets on the bus. If you’re in need of assistance yourself, please do tell the bus driver or print off and use one of our handy travel care cards to help make your journey easier and safer.


If you’re new to bus travel: we hope we’ve been some help; if you’re an old hand: have we covered everything? To be in with the chance of winning one of 10 FREE one-day travelcards, share this blog post and let us know your travel tips using the hashtag #S1TravelTips.

However you use buses in Manchester, don’t forget to stop by System One Travel to find out how to get hold of a Travelcard to make your journey simpler.


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