Getting Around in Manchester
Getting around in Manchester is easy, as there are numerous transport options around the Greater Manchester area.
Although the roads are excellent, it is not necessary to own a car in Manchester and it is best to avoid driving during rush hour if possible.
Active expats will be pleased to learn that cycling is becoming more popular and that city authorities have taken measures to make Manchester more bicycle-friendly.
Public transport in Manchester
Public transport in Manchester is coordinated by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and includes buses, trains and trams.
Manchester’s public transport is not fully integrated and there are different service providers, some of which operate on the same routes but have their own fares and schedules. That said, TfGM offers tickets that are valid for multiple operators, such as the System One Travelcard.
Buses are the most utilised mode of transport in Manchester. Various bus companies operate in the city, including Arriva, First Manchester and Stagecoach. Tickets are usually purchased directly from the driver. Bus fares vary depending on the operator and most companies offer discounts on weekly and monthly tickets.
Buses in Manchester run late at night, but schedules vary according to the route and the company. Generally speaking, buses run every 10 to 20 minutes during the day, but certain busy routes are served every few minutes.
Trains in Manchester don't run as extensively as buses but are a faster way of getting around as they are less susceptible to rush hour congestion. Rail services regularly run to select locations in the city and surrounding areas. Most trains pass through Manchester Piccadilly or Manchester Victoria.
Train fares vary according to the distance travelled and there are weekly, monthly and season ticket options available for frequent commuters.
Trams in Manchester are known as the Manchester Metrolink and run along seven colour-coded lines. Tram fares are higher than the equivalent bus fare, but they are generally faster and more efficient.
Tickets for trams must be purchased from automated machines at stations before boarding. Expats who plan on travelling regularly will save money by investing in a weekly or monthly pass.
Taxis in Manchester
Taxis in Manchester are much cheaper than London cabs. Commuters can either flag down a black cab or book a taxi in advance online or over the phone.
Ride-hailing applications such as Uber are also operational within Manchester. By some accounts, these are cheaper than black cabs provided one is travelling outside of peak hours.
Driving in Manchester
Most expats who move to Manchester don’t need their own car. Traffic congestion during rush hour and the lack of cheap parking in the city centre means that driving can become fairly costly. Once in the city centre, expats will generally find that walking is the easiest way to get around and that most attractions in Manchester are accessible on foot. The city's major shopping streets are also pedestrianised, which can make bringing a car into town a futile exercise.
However, owning a vehicle does offer expats more freedom when it comes to travelling beyond the city limits. Cars are also useful for travelling to work and for those with children.
Expats in the UK can drive on their licence from home until it expires if they are from an EEA country. Non-EEA expats will have to replace their licence from home with a UK licence after 12 months.
Cycling in Manchester
Cycling is becoming increasingly popular in Manchester. Cycling to and from work allows people to avoid rush hour traffic, saves money on petrol, parking and public transport fares, and improves fitness. The city has a network of cycling paths that allow residents to cycle safely without having to deal with motor vehicles. There is also a bicycle-sharing scheme of more than 1,000 bicycles, making it easy for expats who don't own a bicycle personally to get around on two wheels.