Getting around in Manchester is easy thanks to the numerous transport options in and around the Greater Manchester area. Although the roads are excellent, it isn't necessary to own a car in Manchester.
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 is coordinated by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and includes buses, trains and trams.
Public transport in Manchester
Buses are the most widely used mode of transport in Manchester. A number of bus companies operate in the city, including Arriva, First Manchester and Stagecoach. Tickets are usually purchased directly from the driver, either in cash or via a travel smartcard. Tickets can also be bought online. Bus fares vary depending on the operator and most companies offer discounts on weekly and monthly tickets. There is also a free bus that runs in the city centre.
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.
While trains in Manchester don't cover the city as widely, they're generally still 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.
Trams in Manchester are known as the Manchester Metrolink and run along eight colour-coded lines. Tram fares are higher than the equivalent bus fare, but they are generally faster and more efficient.
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 won’t need their own car. Factors such as traffic congestion during rush hour and the lack of cheap parking in the city centre make driving a costly endeavour. 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 their home country until it expires, as long as they're 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, of course, is rather healthy too. The city has a network of cycling paths that allow residents to cycle safely without having to deal with motor vehicles.
►Looking for a job in the city? Read Working in Manchester.
"Public transit, despite how much people moan about it, is much better than it is in Canada. While trains can often be late, it is usually by minutes and not a huge inconvenience. My most memorable experience of taking public transport here was when I stumbled across the ‘folk train’." Keep reading our interview with Allison to find out about her experiences of getting around in Manchester.
Are you an expat living in Manchester?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Manchester. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
With 86 million customer relationships in over 200 countries, Cigna Global has unrivalled experience in dealing with varied and unique medical situations and delivering high standards of service wherever you live in the world.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.