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Not to be confused with Manchester Metrolink.
Route Metroshuttle 3.JPG
First Greater Manchester Optare Versa in
Manchester on route 3 in November 2010
Parent Transport for Greater Manchester
Founded September 2002
Locale Greater Manchester
Service area Manchester city centre
Service type Zero-Fare bus services
Fleet Optare Versa
Alexander Dennis Enviro200
Operator Arriva North West
Diamond Bus North West
First Greater Manchester
Manchester Community Transport
Website Metroshuttle website

Metroshuttle is a free bus system that operates in Greater Manchester.

The system was first introduced in Manchester city centre in 2002, with three routes linking the city's major thoroughfares and stations with its main commercial, financial and cultural districts.

In later years, similar services were introduced in Stockport, Bolton and Oldham.



First Manchester Optare Solo on Manchester route 2 in October 2007
First Manchester Optare Solo on Manchester route 1 in October 2009

Manchester's Metroshuttle first began operating in September 2002 and replaced the previous Centreline city centre operation. First Manchester was chosen by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) to operate the service and has retained the contract. Two routes were introduced, numbered 1 and 2. The service was extremely successful. Route 3 was introduced in September 2005 and links additional areas of the city centre.

The Metroshuttle routes will change in June 2015.


Manchester's Metroshuttle is a partnership between TfGM, Manchester City Council, National Car Parks and the property developer Allied London.[1] The service is zero-fare (free) and does not require any tickets or passes. Allied London own the Spinningfields mixed-use development and all three routes serve this site. The service is also partially supported by advertising. First Greater Manchester provides a publicity contribution. The free service costs approximately £1.2 million each year.[2]


The Manchester Metroshuttle network consists of three services, each operated by First Greater Manchester. The services were originally operated using a dedicated fleet of 18 Optare Solo minibuses with route branding applied for all services, Route 1 (orange), Route 2 (green), Route 3 (purple). Some Solos carried a generic livery, consisting of silver-grey in place of the route colours allowing them to be used on any route. In November 2010, 20 electric hybrids Optare Versas replaced the Solos.[3] In July 2014, three electric Optare Versas were introduced.[4] Metroshuttle bus stops also share the same route colour of the appropriate bus stopping there.

On 28th June 2015, following the temporary closure of the St Peter's Square Metrolink (tram) stop, the 3 bus routes were altered to provide faster connections between the Deansgate, Piccadilly and Victoria railway stations in Manchester City centre. The below information about the routes is not correct for the duration of the St Peter's Square rebuilding work taking place during July and August 2015.[5][6]

Metroshuttle Route 1 Metroshuttle Route 2 Metroshuttle Route 3

Operator: First Greater Manchester
07:00–18:00 Monday-Saturday, every 6 minutes
18:00–19:00 (or 18:00–21:00 November and December only) Monday-Saturday, every 10 minutes
10:00–18:00 Sunday, every 10 minutes

Operator: First Greater Manchester
07:00–19:00 Monday-Saturday, every 10 minutes
10:00–18:00 Sunday, every 10 minutes

  • Piccadilly Rail Station National Rail Manchester Metrolink
  • Piccadilly/Chatham St - for Piccadilly Gardens Bus interchange Manchester Metrolink
  • Charlotte St/Portland St - for Chorlton Street Coach Station Bus interchange
  • Portland St/CUBE
  • Oxford Street/St Peter's Square - for Manchester Central Library Manchester Metrolink
  • Peter Street - for Great Northern and Manchester Central (Conference Centre)
  • Quay Street/Opera House
  • Quay Street/Granada TV
  • New Quay Street - for MANCAT
  • Salford Central railway station National Rail
  • Gartside Street
  • Spinningfields - for John Rylands Library
  • Peter Street
  • Mount Street - for Central Library and St Peter's Square Manchester Metrolink
  • Albert Square
  • Town Hall Manchester Metrolink
  • City Art Gallery - for Chinatown Manchester Metrolink
  • Princess Street
  • Whitworth Street - for Palace Theatre, City College and Chorlton Street Coach Station Bus interchange
  • Piccadilly Rail Station National Rail Manchester Metrolink

Operator: First Greater Manchester
07:00–19:00 Monday-Saturday, every 10 minutes
No service on Sundays

* denotes peak hours only



Bolton's Metroshuttle first began operating on 17 November 2008 and follows a similar operation to Manchester's Metroshuttle on a 12-month trial. Bluebird was chosen by TfGM to operate the service.[7] The company ran the service until 25 January 2010, when local company Maytree Travel took over the operation of the service.[8] The service has been re-routed on two occasions, the first to serve the Sainsbury's supermarket in the town, and then again in January 2011, when the service was given a 12-month contract extension[9] and re-routed to serve the university. This route change saw the service reduced from every 10 minutes to every 15 minutes.[10]

In November 2012, it was announced that the contract for the service had been extended for another year and that South Lancs Travel had been successful in winning the tender for the Bolton Metroshuttle. The company took over the operation of the service from 31 December 2012 and uses diesel hybrid vehicles purchased by Transport for Greater Manchester.[11]


Bolton's Metroshuttle is a partnership between GMPTA and Bolton Council. The service is completely zero-fare (free) and does not require any tickets or passes. The free service will cost approximately £200,000 per year.[12]


Bolton's Metroshuttle originally consisted of two 25-seater Alexander Dennis Enviro200 single decker buses, with black and red route branding,[13] although this has changed following Maytree Travel taking over the service, who replaced it with a blue branding.[14] The service starts on Newport Street, outside Bolton Interchange, before running anti-clockwise around the town centre using existing stops within the town centre before returning to Newport Street.

Route 500
  • Newport Street - for Bolton Interchange Bus interchange National Rail
  • Sainsbury's Superstore
  • Bradshawgate #1 - for Bolton College
  • Bradshawgate #2 - for Crompton Place Shopping Centre
  • Deansgate
  • Bridge Street - for Market Place Shopping Centre
  • St George's Road
  • Knowsley Street - for Market Place Shopping Centre
  • Black Horse Street stop CC - for Bolton Bus Station Bus interchange, Market and Octagon Theatre
  • Derby Street - for Morrisons
  • Black Horse Street
  • Newport Street - for Morrisons
  • Newport Street - for Bolton Interchange Bus interchange National Rail

Operator: Diamond Bus North Westl
09:00–17:00 Monday-Saturday, every 12 minutes



Stockport's Metroshuttle first began operating during Christmas 2007 as a complementary shuttle designed to help ferry the elderly and disabled around Stockport more easily. It was reintroduced on 29 November 2008 as permanent fixture. Branded the Stockport Shuttle Bus it was operated by Solutions SK on behalf of Stockport Council,[15] before operations switched to Freshfield Coaches the following month, after it was revealed that SolutionsSK had been operating the service with a freight licence.[16] The service was re-branded in August 2009 to form part of the Metroshuttle network, and was given a new livery to mark the change. Prior to this, the fleet (consisting of Optare Solos) were unpainted and fairly run down, even lacking roll blinds. The fleet was replaced with new Alexander Dennis Enviro200s, fitted with digital displays.[17] In 2010, the operator of the service changed, with Oldham based Swan's Travel taking over the service [18] on a short-term basis, before being replaced by Bluebird in October 2010.[19] Bluebird ran the service until March 2011, when the service was taken over by Stagecoach Manchester,[20] who run the majority of services in Stockport. Stagecoach ran the service until 1 July 2012, when it was transferred to Arriva North West's Wythenshawe depot.


Stockport's Metroshuttle runs in two loops around Stockport town centre and use existing stops, as well as dedicated stops in areas where other services do not operate within the town centre. The service starts from Stockport bus station and runs to Stockport railway station via Grand Central Stockport before returning to the bus station then via Mersey Square, Bridgefield Street, Warren Street (for Sainsbury's and Asda), Great Portland Street to Tesco before returning via Knightsbridge, Warren Street (for Sainsbury's and Asda again), Millgate, Churchgate, Little Underbank and Great Underbank to Stockport Bus Station.

Route 300
  • Stockport Bus Station (Stand C) - for Hat Museum Bus interchange
  • St Peter's Square
  • High Street
  • Piccadilly - for Magistrates Court
  • Edward Street - for Stockport Town Hall
  • Stockport railway station - for railway station and Grand Central Leisure Complex National Rail
  • Exchange Street - for Garrick Theatre
  • Stockport Bus Station (Stand W) Bus interchange
  • Mersey Square - for Merseyway Shopping Centre
  • Bridgefield Street
  • Princes Street
  • Warren Street - for Sainsbury's and Asda
  • Great Portwood Street - for Peel Centre and retail park
  • Tesco Extra
  • Great Portwood Street - for Peel Centre and retail park
  • Knightsbridge
  • Bridge Street
  • Warren Street - for Sainsbury's and Asda
  • Churchgate - for Staircase House and Stockport Market
  • Wellington Street
  • Lower Hillgate
  • Great Underbank
  • Chestergate - for Air Raid Shelter
  • Stockport Bus Station (stand C) Bus interchange

Operator: Arriva North West
08:00–18:00 Monday-Saturday, every 12 minutes
10:30–17:00 Sunday, every 12 minutes



In June 2012, the Manchester Metrolink tram network started running services to Oldham with trams running to a temporary Oldham Mumps Metrolink station located near the former railway station before trams start running into the town centre and a new Mumps stop in 2014. Following criticism of long walks up steep hils into the town centre from passengers, Transport for Greater Manchester and Oldham Council organised a free service linking the tram stop with the town centre.[21]

The service was branded as Metroshuttle and started service on 30 July 2012[22] running a half-hourly service. From 1 October 2012, the service increased to every 20 minutes with Optare Versa hybrids, similar to the ones used on the Manchester Metroshuttle services, also introduced.[23]

The service was extended to run until 20:00 on Thursdays from mid-November 2012 until Christmas and also on weekdays on the week before Christmas to appeal to Christmas shoppers in Oldham.[24]


Oldham's Metroshuttle starts outside the Metrolink station on Victoria Street. The service then heads to Oldham town centre along the Oldham Way by-pass (A62 before heading into town via King Street stopping near Mecca Bingo. The service had previously run temporarily to the Manchester Street roundabout and then up Manchester Street, stopping outside Aldi while King Street was closed due to the Metrolink work going on in the town centre.

From King Street, the service continues into the town centre and the bus station, stopping at the Cheapside station at stand C. The route then follows the same route as several of the fare-paying services via St Mary's Way, Lord Street, Yorkshire Street and Princes Street back onto the Oldham Way before looping around to the tram stop on the other side of the carriageway via Huddersfield Road, Cross Street and Lees Road. An additional stop on Lees Road was introduced from October 2012.[23]

Route 400
  • Oldham Mumps Metrolink station for trams to Manchester city centre, Chorlton and St Werburgh's Road Manchester Metrolink
  • King Street - for Oldham College and Oldham Sixth Form College
  • Oldham bus station (stand C) - for buses, Town Square/Spindles shopping centre, Magistrates Court and Civic Centre Bus interchange
  • Lord Street (stop LB) - for Oldham Sports Centre and Tommyfield Market
  • Yorkshire Street (stop YB) - for Oldham library, Sainsburys and Town Square/Spindles shopping centre
  • Yorkshire Street (stop A)
  • Lees Road/Cross Street
  • Oldham Mumps Metrolink station Manchester Metrolink

Operator: Manchester Community Transport
09:40–16:20 daily, every 20 minutes


Following the success of Metroshuttle, Transport for Greater Manchester have been studying the feasibility of introducing Metroshuttle routes in other towns in Greater Manchester, to provide a high-quality town centre bus service that links key public transport nodes and car parks with the main retail, commercial, leisure and cultural destinations within town centres.[25]

Other towns like Bury and Wigan had been mentioned to gain routes,[26] however, the chances of this happening were reduced following the rejection of the Manchester Congestion Charge in December 2008. However, Oldham gained a Metroshuttle service in July 2012.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Metroshuttle set for expansion". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 17 November 2008. 
  2. ^ Buses magazine
  3. ^ Freedom of the city with Manchester Metroshuttle 2 November 2010
  4. ^ Free city centre Metroshuttle goes electric Optare 31 July 2014
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Bolton Metroshuttle takes off, Stockport's due by Christmas". Manchester Buses. Retrieved 30 January 2011. 
  8. ^ "Extended run for Bolton's free bus service". TfGM. Retrieved 26 January 2010. 
  9. ^ "One year's extension for free shuttle buses". Bolton News. Retrieved 14 February 2011. 
  10. ^ "Forthcoming Changes to Bus Network - 7 January 2011". GMITA. Retrieved 30 January 2011. 
  11. ^ "Bolton's free town centre bus service to continue". Transport for Greater Manchester. Retrieved 17 November 2012. 
  12. ^ "Free Metroshuttle takes off in Bolton". Bolton News. Retrieved 17 November 2008. 
  13. ^ "Another look at the Bolton Metroshuttle". Manchester Buses. Retrieved 19 November 2008. 
  14. ^ "Take shuttle bus around town for another year". Bolton News. Retrieved 26 January 2010. 
  15. ^ "Bolton Metroshuttle takes off, Stockport's due by Christmas". Manchester Buses. Retrieved 26 August 2009. 
  16. ^ "Stockport's Metroshuttle mistake leads to operator switch". Manchester Buses. Retrieved 26 August 2009. 
  17. ^ "Stockport town centre shuttle gets Metroshuttle branding". Manchester Buses. Retrieved 26 August 2009. 
  18. ^ "Stockport Metroshuttle service extended". Transport Action Group - Manchester. Retrieved 24 August 2010. 
  19. ^ "Notices and Proceedings - North West - Publication Number 2575" (PDF). VOSA. Retrieved 27 October 2010. 
  20. ^ "TfGM - Buses - Latest Changes". TfGM. Retrieved 14 February 2011. 
  21. ^ "All aboard the Metro shuttle bus". Oldham Chronicle. 27 July 2012. Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  22. ^ "Metro shuttle-bus launches in Town Centre". Oldham Council. Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  23. ^ a b "Metrolink shuttle bus is going green". Oldham Chronicle. 28 September 2012. Retrieved 28 September 2012. 
  24. ^ "Forthcoming Changes to Bus Network - 23 November 2012". Transport for Greater Manchester Committee. Retrieved 17 November 2012. 
  25. ^ "GMPTA Policy Priorities for 2008 / 09" (PDF). GMPTA. Retrieved 17 November 2008. 
  26. ^ "Metroshuttle set for expansion". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 26 August 2009. 

External links[edit]