Manchester’s buses are the cheapest way to get around the city. Services on the most popular routes are very frequent and usually fast, except at commuting times when there is heavy traffic. Services are run by several different competing companies, which may charge different prices for the same route.
One notable disadvantage is that local buses very much operate on the assumption that passengers live locally and know the routes. Drivers may not be helpful if you don’t know where you're going. Carry a map, and if possible find out the name of your stop in advance.
The Oxford Road/Wilmslow Road bus corridor (various route numbers): city centre, Congress venue, Curry Mile
A very long, straight route running approximately north-south from the central bus station at Piccadilly Gardens south through the city centre, past the universities and hospitals, to Rusholme (home of the Curry Mile), southern suburbs and Airport.
The route is heavily used by students during the teaching term, and has been called the busiest bus route in Europe. It offers a very frequent connection between the Congress venue and the city centre. Several different numbered bus services operate, including 41, 42, 43 (the Airport link), 142, 143 and 157.
147: Manchester Piccadilly rail station, Congress venue, Victoria Park
The 147 only operates Monday to Friday in the daytime and early evening, but is particularly convenient as it directly connects Piccadilly rail station with the University.
To catch the 147 at Piccadilly, leave the station by the Fairfield Street exit (down escalators near Platforms 10 to 14: follow signs for Buses and Taxis, Metrolink, Way Out to Fairfield Street) and cross Fairfield Street to bus stand D.
The southern edge of the 147’s circular route also brings it within five minutes’ walk of Victoria Park, making it useful for those who are staying in halls of residence there.
50: Salford Quays, University of Salford, city centre, Congress venue, Victoria Park
This is a frequent service (every 10 or 15 minutes) running along Upper Brook Street, parallel to Oxford Road. The route runs close to the Victoria Park halls and also extends northwards and westwards to cover parts of Salford including the Salford Quays development, site of the Lowry and Imperial War Museum North.
See timetable for further details.
Save money with a weekly ticket
All buses offer single-journey and daily tickets, but if you’re attending most or all of the Congress, you can save money on many routes by buying a one-week ticket when you arrive. Potentially useful tickets (prices correct as of March 2013) include:
- Stagecoach / Magic Bus Megarider, £12. Includes the 42, 43, 142 and 153 buses on the Wilmslow Road corridor, and the 50.
- Finglands weekly ticket, £7.50. Includes the 41 bus on the Wilmslow Road corridor.
- System One 7-day adult bus saver, £19.90. May be of interest to committed explorers: allows use of any bus in Greater Manchester…
- …and if you will be using trains and Metrolink as well as buses, there are further options on the System One website.
Note also the Metroshuttle, a shuttle bus service providing daytime travel around Manchester city centre at no charge. Metroshuttle does not cover the Congress venue or other locations in the south of the city.