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All About Manchester Trams A First-Timer's Guide

All About Manchester Trams: A First-Timer’s Guide

If you’re a first-time visitor to Manchester, you may be wondering how to get around the city quickly and efficiently. Fortunately, Manchester has various transportation options, and one of the most convenient ones is the tram!

Manchester boasts a modern and extensive tram network that connects various parts of the city, making it easy for tourists and locals to navigate. The Manchester Metrolink tram system is a convenient, reliable, and eco-friendly way to explore the city and its suburbs.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Manchester trams, from their schedule and routes, to tickets and fares. You’ll learn how to use the tram system and what stops to look out for.

We’ll also provide insider tips to help you make the most of your tram journey. Whether you’re travelling to Manchester for work or leisure, this guide will help you plan your journey and navigate the city’s tram system like a pro.

So, grab your tram map and join us as we take a ride through the bustling streets of Manchester!

A Guide to Manchester Trams: How do Manchester trams work?

A Guide to Manchester Trams How do Manchester trams work's Homepage

Manchester’s tram network, known as the Metrolink, is an extensive and efficient system that covers many parts of the city and its surrounding suburbs. With over 57 miles of track and 92 stations, it is the largest tram network in the UK, and it continues to expand.

It’s a reliable mode of transportation for those who want to explore restaurants (family restaurants manchester) and bars (bars manchester) in the city centre or enjoying art galleries (art gallery manchester) and shopping malls (shopping mall manchester) near the suburbs.

For first-time visitors to Manchester, the tram network can be a little overwhelming at first. With a lot of routes, stops, and destinations to choose from, it can be challenging to navigate the system.

However, with a little bit of preparation and some insider knowledge, using the trams can be a breeze!

With this guide, you’ll be able to use the trams with confidence and enjoy a smooth and stress-free journey.

A Guide to Manchester Trams How do Manchester trams work
Photo from Manchester Evening News

Manchester Tram Times

The Manchester tram system operates every day, with a frequency of one tram every 12 minutes on all lines.

If a stop is served by more than one line, trams will arrive more frequently. You can view the Metrolink map to check which line(s) serve your stop.

Manchester Tram Times
Photo from Transport for Greater Manchester

The operating hours of the tram system are from 06:00 to 00:00 every Monday to Saturday and 07:00 to 00:00 every Sunday. 

To support commuters, there are also additional peak services for busy tram stops. Here are some specific schedules for some routes. 

LineOperating HoursAlternative Routes
Altrincham – BuryMonday to Friday:
07:00 to 20:00

09:00 to 18:30
Outside of these hours, use Altrincham to Piccadilly and Piccadilly to Bury lines
East Didsbury – Shaw and CromptonMonday to Friday:
07:00 to 20:00
09:00 to 18:30
Outside of these hours, use East Didsbury to Rochdale Town Centre line

Manchester Tram Prices

Unfortunately, Manchester trams are not free. As with most public transport systems, you will need to purchase a ticket to use the trams.

However, the good news is that the ticket prices are quite reasonable, and there are several options available to suit your needs.

When travelling on Manchester’s tram system, it’s important to know the different ticket options available to you and their corresponding prices.

Manchester Tram Prices' Homepage
Photo by Intelligent Transport

Manchester Single Trip Ticket Prices

If you’re looking to take a one-way journey on Manchester’s tram system, then a single journey ticket may be the best option for you. The single journey ticket prices table below shows the cost of a one-way tram journey for different passenger types.

Ticket TypePrice
Children £1.90
Ages 16 to 18£2.10

Manchester Multiple Trip Ticket Prices

As for those who are planning to take multiple journeys on Manchester’s tram system, purchasing a multiple trip ticket can save you time and money. The table below shows the cost of multiple trip tickets for different passenger types.

Ticket TypePrice
One-Day Anytime Travel Card£3.00
Seven-Day Anytime Travel Card£12.70
28-Day Anytime Travel Card£42.10
Annual Anytime Travel Card£483.50
One-Day Anytime Travel Card£6.10
Seven-Day Anytime Travel Card£25.40
28-Day Anytime Travel Card£84.20
Annual Anytime Travel Card£967.00
One-Day Anytime Travel Card£3.00
Seven-Day Anytime Travel Card£12.70
28-Day Anytime Travel Card£42.10
Annual Anytime Travel Card£483.50
Manchester Multiple Trip Ticket Prices' Homepage
Image credit: Matthew Black on Flickr | CC License

Manchester Off-Peak Travel Cards

If you intend to take Manchester’s tram system during off-peak hours, purchasing an Off-Peak Travel Card can save you money. These travel cards allow you to travel for one day after 9:30 am on weekdays and anytime on weekends and bank holidays.

The table below shows the cost of Off-Peak Travel Cards for different passenger types.

Ticket TypePrice
Children £2.10
Ages 16 to 18£2.10

Weekend Travel Card

If you’re travelling on Manchester’s tram system over the weekend, it would be best to consider purchasing a Weekend Travel Card to save money. These cards are valid from 6:00 PM on Friday until the last tram on Sunday and offer a cost-effective way to travel.

The table below lists the Weekend Travel Card prices for different passenger types.

Ticket TypePrice
Children £3.40
Ages 16 to 18£3.40

Kindly note that the prices listed above are accurate as of March 2023. These are subject to change without notice.

Ticket prices may also vary depending on where you purchase them, the time of day, and the type of ticket you choose.

For the most up-to-date information on Manchester tram ticket prices, we recommend checking the official Metrolink website.

Where can you buy tram tickets in Manchester? 

Where can you buy tram tickets in Manchester
Photo by Scottish Local Retailer

If you’re planning to ride the Manchester trams, it’s important to know that you must have a valid ticket before boarding. Fortunately, there are several ways to purchase tickets in the city 

Tram passes for Manchester Masterlink can be bought at ticketing machines, in PayPoint Outlets, via the pay-as-you-go app and system, and through the Get Me There website.

1. Tram stops ticketing machines

From MetroLink

At any tram stop, you can easily purchase a variety of tram tickets and travelcards from a ticket machine. These machines accept credit or debit cards.

On  top of that, it also accepts contactless payments up to £45 and cash with change given.

Here, you can buy single tickets or travelcards for 1-day, weekend, 7-day, and 28-day journeys for adults, children, concessions, and families.

2. PayPoint Outlets

PayPoint Outlets' Homepage
Image credit: PayPoint UK | Facebook Page

PayPoint outlets can be found in various local shops, convenience stores, newsagents, and petrol stations throughout Greater Manchester. You can easily identify these outlets by looking for the PayPoint sign.

Apart from travel tickets, PayPoint outlets offer a wide range of payment services — making it ideal for both residents and tourists.

When it comes to purchasing travel tickets, you can choose from a variety of options, including System One travelcards for 7-day or 28-day travel, Metrolink tram season tickets, and Wayfarer tickets.

Simply visit a PayPoint outlet and ask for the type of ticket you need.

3.  Contactless Pay-As-You-Go

From Transport for Greater Manchester

One option is to use the contactless pay-as-you-go system. This involves using smart readers located at tram stops to pay for your journey.

Before boarding the tram, you simply touch your card or mobile device to the reader to begin your trip. When you reach your destination stop, you must touch out with the same card or device to complete your journey.

If you’re travelling with others, each person will need to use a separate card or device. Unless each of the riders has their own card or device,  this may not be a suitable choice when travelling as a group.

Some of the accepted modes of payment for contactless pay-as-you-go include Mastercard, Maestro, Visa, V PAY, smartphones with a mobile wallet, smartwatches with a mobile wallet, and other devices with a mobile wallet.

4. Get Me There Mobile Ticket Application

Get Me There Mobile Ticket Application's Homepage

Image credit: Apple App Store

Another convenient way to purchase tram tickets in Manchester is through the Get Me There mobile ticket app. You can easily download the app from or mobile application stores. 

This app allows you to buy weekend, both 7-day and 28-day travelcards for Metrolink trams without needing to purchase a printed ticket. 

However, for single and return journeys, using a contactless card or device with smart readers on stops to pay for journeys as you go is the easiest option.

5. Get Me There Website

Get Me There Website's Homepage

One way to purchase and store tram tickets in Manchester is through the website. You can select from a variety of travelcards and tickets online and save them on a smart card.

This method is particularly useful if you want to buy a day ticket or season ticket in advance. You can purchase a ticket up to 7 days in advance, and it will be available for collection from the day after you buy it.

This is a convenient option as commuters can simply use a smart reader at a tram stop to retrieve their ticket.

Additionally, when you create an account, you can either request a Get Me There card or link a compatible smart card you already have to your account.

Can you use a train ticket on the tram?

Can you use a train ticket on the tram
Photo from Flickr

Visitors can use their train tickets on the tram in Manchester. If you have a train ticket that takes you anywhere in Greater Manchester and into Manchester city centre, you can use it on the trams in the Metrolink city zone without any extra cost.

This means that you can save money on your transportation costs by using a train ticket to travel to Manchester and then using the tram to get around the city centre, especially if you have multiple trip tickets.

However, it’s important to note that this offer is only valid in the city zone, so if you need to travel outside of this area, you will need to purchase a separate tram ticket or travelcard.

Other Tips to Remember when Using Manchester Tram

Other Tips to Remember when Using Manchester Tram's Homepage
Image credit: Manchester Evening News

However, to ensure a smooth and hassle-free journey, there are some important things to keep in mind when using the Manchester tram. Here are other things to keep in mind before riding the Manchester tram for the first time.

1. Purchase your ticket before boarding the tram

Unlike buses, you cannot purchase tickets on board the tram. Make sure to buy your ticket from a ticket machine, the Get Me There mobile app or website, or a PayPoint outlet before boarding. 

Note: If you do not have a valid ticket or pass, you could be fined a minimum of £50.

2. Keep your ticket with you at all times

If you purchase a physical ticket, make sure to keep it with you throughout your journey. Losing your ticket could result in a fine. 

Alternatively, you can store your ticket on your phone using the get me there app, but make sure your phone is fully charged to avoid any issues.

3. Check which line(s) serve your stop

The Metrolink system has multiple lines, and not all trams stop at every station. 

4. Be prepared for bus replacement services

Sometimes, tram services are disrupted due to planned engineering works or unexpected incidents. In such cases, bus replacement services may be provided to ensure that passengers can still get to their destination. 

Be prepared for bus replacement services' Homepage
Image credit: David Dixon on Geograph | CC License

FAQs about Manchester Trams

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