Magic busGetting around in Manchester is very important for students in the city. There are lots of options available for students from bus travel to cycling & simply walking.

This simple getting around guide will tell you all you need to know in terms of getting around and saving money on all types of transport including:

Using the bus in Manchester

The Oxford road bus lane is the busiest in Europe! With buses running 24/7. This is a quick and easy guide to whizzing around Manchester and Greater Manchester on the right bus.

Manchester not only has one of the most frequent bus lanes but also one that is well known for the services on offer with Hybrid buses from Stagecoach and many with low floor wheelchair access. All buses also have CCTV fitted for safety.

Main Bus Routes (for students)

  • Fallowfield/Withington/Didsbury – Universities – Piccadilly : # 42, 42A, 43, 45, 142, 143
  • Man Met and University of Manchester – Piccadilly (city centre) : # 15, 42, 42A, 43,45, 85, 86, 142, 143, 145, 147

Manchester Bus Passes

There are a few choices of company that you can go with. You can choose from year passes to week passes to suit your needs but obviously paying for a year upfront is the best way to save up to £300 a year.

Year Bus Passes

1. Stagecoach & Magic Bus Pass (Annual UniRider)

uniriderThe cheapest way for students to get around Manchester by bus is to purchase Stagecoach’s ‘annual unirider’ bus pass. The price of the annual unirider works out at around 63p a day!

For the academic year 2013/2014 the price is £205 for the year (when you buy online) or £45-£100 for one term. Buy online direct from Stagecoach, otherwise it will cost you more.

You only have to make one payment to Stagecoach and then you are free to travel on any Stagecoach or Magicbus and time of day all through the year.

2. System One Travel Card

If you are looking to travel around the whole of Greater Manchester on any bus you like then you will need to get your hands on the System One Travel Card. With a student card it works out as little as £1.75 a day.

Plus you get a 26% student discount online today!

Once you have bought your annual System One Travel Card you can travel on any bus in the Greater Manchester areas, all year at anytime (so great for travelling home after a night out or those who have placements).


Weekly Passes

1. Weekly Magic Bus Pass (MagicRider)

Allows you to hop on any Magic Bus along Oxford or Wilmslow road, any time. Does not include Stagecoach buses. Currently £8.50 a week, bought from the bus driver, ask for a ‘MagicRider’.

2. System One (Student Weekly Saver)

Once again, the System One pass allows you to travel on any bus in Greater Manchester all week for a small cost of just £14.90 for the week. Take a look for more info on the System One website.

3 .Finglands (Weekly Bus Pass)

The Finglands weekly bus pass is £1 cheaper than the Magic Bus Pass at £7.50 but you may end up waiting longer for a bus.

4. Weekly Stagecoach (MegaRider)

To use Stagecoach and Magic buses in the wider Greater Manchester area outside of the main bus route, you can get a ‘MegaRider‘ for £12.50 a week or £46 for 28 days or monthly by recurring payment.

Single Bus Tickets

Single bus tickets can vary depending on which bus you take and your destination.

Rough guide for the prices are

Fallowfield – Piccadilly – £1.55 – £2.50

Fallowfield – Universities – £1.50-£2.20

Fares after midnight – £2+

What the buses look like!

Types of buses in Manchester

Taxis for students in Manchester

Every now and then there is an occasion when you will need to use a taxi as a student in Manchester. We could be talking about anything from taking a trip to the airport, a night out to 5th Avenue or just beating the bus.

Most taxis in Manchester are safe and affordable but one company that excels, especially for students, is Manchester Cars. They offer excellent customer service from being honest with you about how long your taxi will take to arrive, to offering you a text back service in case you want to complain about anything (but why would you want to do that?).

What’s more, for you penny pinchers, there is a fare calculator on the Manchester Cars website, which you can access from the Manchester cars listing.

Cycling in Manchester

The cycle lanes in Manchester run from the main student areas all the way into town. It is a great idea to cycle to university from Fallowfield or Withington and can not only save you a lot of money but be a lot quicker believe it or not.

One thing you should keep in mind when cycling in Manchester is that most of the cycle lanes are shared with the buses. This can make it a little bit dangerous at times but if you wear your cycle helmet and keep your wits about you then you should be fine. Also, unfortunately Manchester has a high rate of bike theft so you should definitely invest in a sturdy bike lock.

You can get good local bikes and repairs at Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperative at the start of the Curry Mile or The Bicycle Doctor just between Fallowfield and Rusholme. Also, throughout the year it’s a good idea to look out for local markets where you can pick up second hand bikes for as little as £50.

Train travel in Manchester

There are 3 major train stations in Manchester that you should keep an eye out for (Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Oxford Road and Manchester Victoria). Manchester Piccadilly is the main station and has trains running to London and all over the U.K. on a regular basis.

If you are travelling home for the holidays or even for a short tip then make sure you book early at First Trans Penine Express for the best deals.

You can also take a look at money saving website Save the Student who have a cheap student rail travel article.

Getting the Tram in Manchester

The tram in Manchester is best for accessing areas in the North of the city. It has 3 lines that end at Altrincham, Eccles and Bury. There are a lot of notable stops that students in Manchester need to keep in mind for the tram.

The major stops on the tram are:

  1. Piccadilly Gardens – This is where the buses stop in town and the best place to catch the tram on the start of your journey.
  2. Victoria (On the line to Bury) – One of the 3 major train stations in Manchester.
  3. Deansgate (On the line to Altrincham) – This is where the G-Mex is located and some great bars and clubs.
  4. Old Trafford (On the line to Altrincham) – The famous home of The red devils or Manchester United Football Club. The tram is the best form of transport to take on match day.
  5. Salford Quays (On the line to Eccles) – This is a great place for a day out and a walk. Definitely worth a visit during your time at University.

Unfortunately there is no student discount for the trams in Manchester. A single ticket costs around £3.60 and a return is £5.40. If you are interested in a monthly savers ticket then they cost around £40-£50 depending on your journey.

Obviously the prices of the ticket will vary with location and these figures act as a rough guide. For more information visit the Manchester Metrolink website.

Using a car in Manchester

The majority of students will not have cars with them at University, especially in Manchester because the public transport is so good, but for the ones that do there are some great tips for driving in Manchester.

When driving in the city centre you should be aware that there is a one way system which can be easy to get confused with. Also, if you are looking to get out of Manchester and travel home then it is best to get onto the M60 which circles Manchester and then go from there.

Free parking in Manchester can be hard to come by in the city centre but there are a few hot spots should you need to make this journey.

For Manchester Piccadilly railway station you can park on Old Mill street at any time and Wadeson Road or Hanworth Close after 18:00 in the evening.

For free parking near Manchester Metropolitan University head to Reilly Street at any time.

Free parking in the town centre is hard to find and quite often full but can be found on Wadeson Road or Hanworth Close after 18:00 and Bond Street at any time.

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