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School bus services

Around 80% of Greater Manchester’s bus services are run by commercial operators, who decide routes, timetables and set fare levels.

TfGM financially supports the remaining 20% – which run at times of day and in areas where there is a social need – including dedicated school services.

Most are ordinary bus routes open to the general public and so primary schoolchildren should be accompanied by a responsible adult on these services.

We also run a fleet of 50 hybrid-electric Yellow School Buses, which pick up and drop off children close to home, in a safe place to wait and board. Children under the age of seven must be accompanied by an adult on these services.


Staying safe

It’s as important as ever to help keep yourself and everyone safe when you’re outside the home by thinking about how you travel and following safety guidance.

Please visit our Travelling to school homepage for the latest safe travel advice and information for the journey to and from school.


Yellow School Bus passes

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, TfGM won’t be issuing Yellow School Bus passes for the 2020-21 academic year.

Instead, all Yellow School Buses will operate as regular dedicated school buses, meaning no passes will be needed and any child can board any service. This will allow more students to use the buses at a time when the overall capacity on the network is still likely to be reduced.

Students will still need an igo card to pay concessionary fares.


Ticket costs and benefits

From September 2020, fares on TfGM-funded school buses* (including Yellow School Buses) are:

For children aged 11-16 with igo cards, and primary schoolchildren:

  • Single ticket £1.40.

  • Return ticket £2.40**.

  • TfGM schools weekly ticket £7.60** - this is only valid on schooldays and on dedicated school buses. It’s available to buy on the bus or at a TfGM Travelshop. On some services, the driver will load it onto the igo card.

  • Carnet ticket (10 single trips) £10** – this is only valid on schooldays and on dedicated school buses. It’s available to buy on the bus** and in TfGM Travelshops. It can only be loaded onto an igo card and will be valid for 28 days from the date of purchase.

Children aged 11-16 who don’t have an igo card will be charged a single fare of £1.80 and will be unable to buy return, weekly or carnet tickets.

Students with a Scholar’s permit can also buy the £1.40 single ticket (not TGM returns, weekly tickets or carnets).


*Download a list of TfGM school buses as a pdf or Excel document, to check which tickets are availible.

** TfGM return, weekly and carnet tickets are valid on the majority of dedicated school buses, with some exceptions. There are also bus services to schools, not included on the list of TfGM school buses, where no TfGM school tickets are available. See a full list of exceptions.


Buying your ticket

Due to coronavirus, some bus operators are only accepting exact fares when paying in cash on board. So we’d encourage children to buy prepaid tickets or use contactless payment if they can. Please visit our tickets and passes page for more information.

Weekly tickets are available to purchase in advance at TfGM Travelshops and PayPoint outlets.

Children must show their igo card when buying a ticket and carry it with them on their journey.


School bus timetables

Please see below for timetables for the 2020-21 school year:


Duplicate school bus timetables

Capacity on the commercial bus network continues to be significantly reduced due to coronavirus social distancing measures. Where they can, we’re encouraging children to walk, cycle or scoot to school, but we've also worked with operators to run around 300 additional bus journeys each weekday across the region to help students using public transport get to and from school and college safely.

Duplicate bus journeys exclusively for school and college students will run behind the original scheduled service at set times, with the usual route number starting in ‘S’ to show they are school services.

View the services and timetables by clicking here.


Bus capacity

Buses are legally certified to carry a specific number of seated and standing passengers. The capacity and maximum number of standing passengers is displayed on all vehicles. Yellow School Buses are not allowed to carry standing passengers.

In line with Government guidance, social distancing regulations will not apply on dedicated school bus services, so the usual full capacity of Yellow School Buses will be available.

However, social distancing will apply on the public bus network and space will be limited. Students using these buses should allow more time than normal for their journey to school in case their bus is full and they need to travel on a later service.


If you lose your ticket

Unfortunately, refunds aren’t available for lost cards and tickets, so please keep yours safe.


If you leave something on the bus

The contact details for the company operating your service is shown in school bus timetables.


Our Pass

Our Pass entitles card holders to free bus travel across Greater Manchester, as well as off-peak one-day and weekend Metrolink travelcards at half adult prices, from getmethere.com.

To be eligible for Our Pass you must be a Greater Manchester resident and have been aged at least 16 and under 18 on 31 August 2020.

Our Pass will be accepted on all Yellow School Bus services but you must have it with you when you travel. If you don’t have your pass, you’ll need to pay full adult fares and can’t claim a refund later.

For further information, visit ourpass.co.uk.