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People urged to use public transport ahead of Christmas markets opening

With Manchester’s Christmas markets opening and a host of events taking place over the coming weeks, people in Greater Manchester are being urged to make the most of public transport and active travel over the festive period. 

The hugely popular markets – which celebrate their 25th anniversary this year – get under way again from Friday, 10 November.  

   The seasonal stalls bring in around nine million visitors each year all looking for ways to get there and back in speediest and most convenient ways possible.       But this is just the start of the festive period, with the city centre seeing events galore over the next seven weeks, including more than 40 shows, concerts and performances at AO Arena.  

   In the run up to Christmas footfall in the city centre typically increases by 14%, with Black Friday weekend being the busiest time of the year, where trips into the city centre increase by 36%.     


As the nights draw in and more trips are made into the city centre people are being urged to ‘travel smart’ – by considering public transport and walking and cycling – making their journeys quicker, more cost-effective and kinder to the planet.   


Sean Dyball, head of customer experience at Transport for Greater Manchester, has urged people to ‘get on board’ with public transport this festive season.      He said: “Whether you’re working, shopping, or celebrating the Bee Network is right on your doorstep – helping to make public transport and active travel affordable and accessible to everyone in Greater Manchester.  


“Public transport can often be cheaper and more convenient than travelling by car or taxi, including avoiding traffic and the hassle and cost of parking – not only helping to reduce your carbon footprint, but allowing time to relax and enjoy some leisure time on the way.      “It’s also the fastest way to get around, with 99 stops on the tram network, connecting people both to the city centre and local shopping hubs.       “And bus travellers can take advantage of low-cost fares such as £2 adult single ticket and combined tram-bus tickets, making an expensive time of year a little easier on the purse strings.      “Cycling, walking or wheeling are also healthy, cost-effective ways of getting around – particularly at the first and last leg of a public transport journey.” 

   Recent weekends have seen thousands of people come into the city centre to join protests, and with more expected over coming weeks, increased journey times on public transport and by car is possible.

To enable the demonstrations to pass safely, there may also be some minor and temporary changes to tram and bus services, and passengers are encouraged to check the latest information and advice before and during their journey, where possible.  


The weekend of Friday 24 to Sunday 26 November is expected to be busy, as bargain hunters hit the high street for the Black Friday sales, while there is also the return of the annual Christmas Parade on Sunday, 3 December.         Evenings are expected to be at their busiest on Friday 15 and Saturday 16 December, as many workplaces and organisations have their Christmas celebrations.        Festivities are expected to continue throughout the weekend, as on Saturday 16 December, Manchester City face Crystal Palace whilst there are three shows of Disney on Ice at the AO Arena. The shows then continue into Sunday 17 December.       This is also the final shopping weekend, so congestion is expected – particularly around the Christmas Markets – as journeys made by showgoers, football supporters and last-minute shoppers combine.        Around two million fan journeys are expected for City and United over coming weeks, which include the Reds hosting Bayern Munich on 12 December and Pep Guardiola’s men welcoming title rivals Liverpool on 25 November.      But it’s not just the city centre where shopping and events ramp up at this time of year. Town centres and large shopping centres across Greater Manchester also get much busier as people head out to buy gifts and to enjoy winter days and nights out with friends and family.      And if people do choose to drive, there are 24 park and ride locations, where they can park for free and complete their journey by tram.       Those who have to drive into the city centre are advised to park closest to their route out of the city centre. Driving across the city can add additional time to journeys and contribute to overall congestion.        Shoppers and those heading out to Christmas markets and events are also reminded to be alert, look out for each other, trust their instincts and report anything that doesn’t feel right.      Further advice is to plan journeys in advance, using a journey planner to take a look at how busy the route is and if there are any disruptions impacting journey time.       People can also use the Bee Network journey planner and travel alerts hub to help them on their way, or alternatively,  search for live departure times on the Bee Network app.    For further information visit 'Tis the (events) season | Bee Network | Powered by TfGM If you see something that doesn’t feel right, report it in confidence at, or in an emergency call 999. 

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