Transport in Manchester

Hi everyone, how is your summer going so far? Welcome Week, and your move to Manchester, is almost a month away, and I know you must all be feeling an array of emotions right now! Hopefully you’ve got your flights and visas sorted, as well as your accommodation. When I was preparing to go and study abroad, these three things were the most stressful things for me, and I felt so much more relaxed when they were sorted!  Remember, the role of the Orientation team is to make sure that you’re feeling more excited than nervous about your move to Manchester, and we want to help you in any possible way that we can. So please feel free to get in touch with us, either via our Facebook page or by commenting on our blog!

As always, my blog today is a request from one of you lovely lot! Viktorija asked if I could write about transport in Manchester, and how to get to campus/the city centre. As I’ve mentioned a few times before, in Manchester, and the UK as a whole, it is generally very easy to get around without a car. Public transport is everywhere, with bus and train being the most convenient ways to travel throughout the country. High petrol prices, combined with expensive insurance for young drivers means that the vast majority of students don’t own a car.

I’d highly recommend that you all download the free app “Citymapper” to your phones. It will give you public transport directions to anywhere in Manchester, in a way which is easy to follow and understand.


  • The University of Manchester’s campus is split into two different sites – the Main Campus, on Oxford Road, and North Campus which is situated about a mile away nearer to the city centre. Engineering and some other science subjects are based on this campus, and is also the location of the Joule Library. There is a FREE bus (when you show your university ID card) which goes between the two campuses every 10 minutes, Monday to Friday, or alternatively, it is only a 15 minute walk.
  • Oxford Road, where main campus is situated, is actually the busiest bus route in the whole of Europe. There are three universities, three hospitals and hundreds of other businesses on the road, and so there needs to be lots of buses to transport people to and from work! Buses from the city centre, to Fallowfield (where the majority of student accommodation is based) and beyond run every thirty seconds, and you will never ever have to wait for a bus to get you to class!
  • During rush hour (7am-9am, and 5pm-7pm) the traffic on the roads can be pretty bad, and it can take quite a while to get to/from uni, so I would make sure that you always leave enough time to set off so you won’t be late for anything



  • There are two main operators of buses on the Fallowfield-University-City Centre route – Stagecoach, and First Manchester. Both are fairly similar in price, but Stagecoach offer more frequent services, and some of their buses go to Manchester Airport. As a result, most students use Stagecoach.
  • Stagecoach offer students season tickets, called ‘Uniriders’, which cost around £240 for an entire year’s worth of travel. They also offer Uniriders for single semesters. You can buy Unirider tickets from the Stagecoach website from the start of September.


  • It takes around 15 minutes to get from the city centre to main campus, and 15 minutes to get from main campus to Fallowfield/Withington. All buses travelling TOWARDS University and the city centre have ‘Piccadilly’ as their destination on the front, and include the bus numbers 41, 42, 43, 44, X57, 142, 143. All of these bus numbers go from the city centre to Fallowfield.


  • I know that not all of you have accommodation in Fallowfield, and that some of you may live a little farther away in places such as Salford. Again, this should not be an issue, as there are buses and trains to get you into the heart of Manchester.

Salford Crescent station has frequent trains to Manchester Oxford Road station, from where it is a short 10 minute walk to both North Campus or Main Campus.


  • Of course, many of you will want to get out and about and explore the rest of the UK. Some of you may have friends who are studying elsewhere in the UK and will want to go and visit them. The easiest and quickest way to travel the country is by using the trains.  A 16-25 Railcard is something you may want to buy when you arrive in the UK. It gives you 30% of the price of train tickets, and costs £30 for one year. A lot of people want to visit London, but it can be super expensive to travel down there. With a Railcard, you can buy a one-way ticket for as little as £8, which means you have more money to spend in London! You could use your student ID card to get discounted theatre tickets, and cheaper admission to The Tower of London or Westminster Abbey! Even if you are a student who is over the age of 25, you are allowed to buy a 16-25 Railcard.


  • The main train station in Manchester is Piccadilly Station, which is just next to our North Campus. There are frequent trains to the airport, London, York, Liverpool, Leeds, Birmingham and many other destinations across the UK including cities in Scotland and Wales, as well as the Lake District, which I know is somewhere many of you want to visit. Try to avoid travelling if you can, between 7am-9am and 5pm-7pm as this is when trains are very busy, and ticket prices go up. You also can’t use your Railcard during these times, unless the cost of your ticket is more than £15.
  • It’s often cheaper to buy train tickets before you travel, and is a good place to buy them from. This website also shows whether there are any delays or if your train is cancelled, so is really useful.



  • Lots of people are turning to cycling as a means of getting fit, whilst also beating traffic jams and getting to where they need to be much quicker! This summer, lots of work is happening on Oxford Road to ensure that cyclists are safe on our streets, with special cycle lanes being built.

As I mentioned earlier in this blog, Oxford Road is one of the busiest roads for buses in the whole of Europe, and unfortunately, this does mean that there can be a high risk of cyclists colliding with buses, especially on the stretch of road between Fallowfield and the university.  It can be quite a stressful road to navigate as a cyclist, and so it is recommended that you cycle along one of the quieter, and more safer routes outlined in this document here: 


Additionally, make sure you follow these tips:

1. Take part in free cycle training

2. Wear high-viz clothing day or night.

3. Lights are a must at night (£30 fines for cycling without them)

4. Stay aware: Watch out for pedestrians, car doors opening and always check over your right shoulder

5. Signal: Let people know where you’re planning to go

6. If in doubt, stay back. Cyclists are often unseen by buses and HGVs due to blind spots, even in cycle lanes.

7. Maintain your bike: check your brakes and tyres and oil regularly. Attend a free bike maintenance course.

8. Don’t cycle through red lights or listen to music whilst cycling.

Our Students Union offer lots of advice on cycling safely in Manchester, and can also point you in the direction of free training courses, if you’d like to take advantage of these.

You can buy your own bike, with Edinburgh Cycle Cooperative on Oxford Road being a popular choice for staff and students alike  or you can rent a bike from the Students Union for as little £1 per week!




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