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Manchester city centre

Updated: 10am Sunday 5 July

Cinemas 📽️, bars 🍺, restaurants 🍔 and some other leisure facilities have reopened in Manchester city centre. There is still reduced capacity on public transport due to social distancing measures.

It's really important for people who are going to work, or those who are going out for a social occasion, to think about how they are going to travel and especially how they are going to get home afterwards.

If you are planning a trip to Manchester consider other options to public transport if you can, including cycling and walking.

If you do use public transport, remember you must wear a face covering, unless you are exempt. It is your responsibility to provide this, and it can be a simple scarf or bandana. Exemptions include children under the age of 11 and anyone with a disability or condition which means they are unable to wear one.

Below is a breakdown of the transport information and advice for Manchester to help you make smart and safe travel choices 👇.


Cycling 🚴 and Walking 🚶 - All-day capacity

Cycling and walking into and around Manchester city centre has been made even easier. Several roads are now vehicle-free and some pedestrian areas have been extended to give you more space to move around.

This page will highlight the options available to you and also let you know where you can safely and securely park your bike.

🚶 Walking around the city centre

Walk like a mancunian...

As lockdown continues to ease, more people are walking and cycling in Manchester. Several pavements and walking routes have been extended in the city centre to help you make your journey on foot. So far, the following roads have been altered to allow for enhanced social distancing:

  • London Road between Ducie Street and Fairfield Street.
  • Princess Street between Mosley Street and Whitworth Street.
  • Deansgate between St Mary's Gate and King Street.
  • Blackfriars Street between Chapel Street and Deansgate (travelling from Chapel Street towards Deansagate only).
  • Thomas Street (Northern Quarter).
  • Stevenson Square (Northern Quarter).

🚴 Cycling into and around the city centre

Get on your bikes and ride!

Cycling is a quick and reliable form of transport to reach and move around the city centre.

Whether heading to work or out with friends for lunch, we want your bike to be secure so you don't have to worry about it.

See our cycle hub map which shows the safe and secure cycle parking facilities in Manchester city centre. Click on the icons for further information.

There is also a more detailed map available showing cycle routes and more on-street cycle parking. Click here for more information

Further cycling tips can be found here


Travelling before 11am – Available capacity

Buses, trams and trains are operating across Greater Manchester into the heart of the city centre. Capacity is reduced across the whole day for social distancing. All key roads into and around the city centre have been quieter during this period.

Travel advice

  • Consider all other travel options before using public transport.

  • Cycling and walking for shorter journeys may be quicker – check the cycling and walking section above for more information. Leave the car at home, save money on parking and time spent in traffic.

  • Not sure where to store your bike? There is currently safe bike storage space at the City Tower cycle hub. Find out more and sign up.

  • Before leaving home, please plan your journey and allow extra time. Some bus operators have travel apps and live capacity information.

  • Metrolink services into the city are quieter before 7am and after 9am Monday to Friday on most lines. At the weekend, services begin to get busier from 10am. Click here for more information.

  • There is limited capacity on some bus services into the city centre from the west between 8am and 10am especially on those buses which travel on the A6 Chapel Street and A56 Bury New Road. If you have to travel on these routes retime your journey.

  • There is limited capacity on the 50 and 197 bus services that use the A34 Upper Brook Street to travel into the city centre between 7am and 10am. Use the Oxford Road corridor for more frequent bus services and available capacity. There is a dedicated segregated cycle lane between Didsbury and the city centre for those who want a quick and safe cycle route.

  • If you do have to drive, be aware that road layouts may have changed to support social distancing and car parking may be limited. There are also ongoing major works on several key routes in the city centre and surrounding areas that could affect on your journey. Click here for more information.


Travelling between 11am and 5pm – Limited capacity and road congestion expected

Public transport passenger numbers and road journeys have increased since 15 June and the busiest part of the day on the network is now during this period and leading up to the early evening.

Traffic heading into the city centre for shopping and leisure has increased, leading to longer journey times and queues. The traffic hotspots are shown on the map below. To avoid being caught in traffic retiming or rerouting your journey could save time behind the wheel - some of the tips below might also help.

Travel advice

  • If you live close to the city centre, cycling and walking may be quicker during this period. Most local shops and bars/restaurants can be reached with a 20-minute walk or a 10-minute cycle. Leave the car at home, save money on parking and time spent in traffic.

  • Cycling trips into Manchester have shot up in recent months – from the streets of Rusholme in the south to the hills of Oldham in the north! More and more people are riding for exercise and leisure trips. Whether heading to work or out with friends for lunch, we want your bike to be secure so you don't have to worry about it.

  • There is a cycle hub at Piccadilly Gardens. Click here for easy access. There is also a more detailed map available showing cycle routes and more on-street cycle parking. Click here for more information

  • Metrolink journeys into the city centre are busy during this period. Capacity is limited due to social distancing, so if you live close to the city centre it may be quicker to walk or cycle. Click here for a guide on the quietest periods to travel on the tram.

  • Before leaving home, plan your journey and allow for extra time. Some bus operators have travel apps and live capacity information. Consider all other travel options before using public transport.

  • If you do have to drive, be aware that road layouts may have changed to support social distancing and car parking may be limited. There are also ongoing major works on several key routes in the city centre and surrounding areas that could affect your journey. Click here for more information.

  • 🚕 For occasional journeys consider taxis and private hire services as an alternative to public transport.

The map below shows the expected congestion areas on the roads from Saturday 4 July.


Travelling between 5pm and 9pm – Limited capacity

Mancunians are on the move 🚶... During this time period many people are finishing work for the day, heading home after a trip to the shops or heading into the city to catch a flick or join friends in the pub. Follow the tips below to make sure you can get to where you want to safely.

Heading out of the city

  • Public transport services will be busy and, due to social distancing, capacity is restricted. If you live close to the city then walking and cycling home could save you time waiting around for space on a bus, train or tram.

  • 🚕 For occasional journeys consider a taxi or a private hire service as an alternative to public transport.

  • Metrolink platforms and trams services crossing the city will be busier. If you have to take the tram home then boarding from a stop earlier could assist you getting on a service. Click here for the quietest times to travel.

Heading into the city

Public transport services will be busy and, due to social distancing, capacity is restricted. For occasional journeys consider taxis and private hire services as an alternative to public transport.

If you have to travel into the city on public transport then plan using the links below - use the same links to think about your journey home too.

  • Check your bus 🚌 journey home here
  • Check your tram 🚈 journey home here
  • Check your train 🚄 journey here
  • Pre-book a private hire or take a taxi 🚕. Store taxi and private hire phone numbers/download apps before leaving home.

Travelling after 9pm and late evening travel advice/service updates

Many cinemas 📽️, bars 🍺, restaurants 🍔 and leisure facilities have reopened in Manchester city centre.

It's really important for people who are going to work, or those who are going out for a social occasion, to think about how they are going to travel and especially how they are going to get home afterwards. Some buses, trams and trains don't operate as late as they used to, and many services don't operate after 11pm 👇.

Travel advice

If you have to travel by public transport, bookmark these links to plan your route home or follow the taxi/private hire advice:

  • Check your bus 🚌 journey home here
  • Check your tram 🚈 journey home here
  • Check your train 🚄 journey home here
  • 🚕 Pre-book a private hire or take a taxi. Store taxi and private hire phone numbers/download apps before leaving home.

Service times will change depending on the day - for live bus, tram and train times check here.