By bus to the Trafford Centre

This post was written in 2010 – for all the latest bus timetables, please visit the Trafford Centre website

Stagecoach X50 and First "unmissable" logosUntil Peel Holdings have put a finance package together to fund a Metrolink line to the Trafford Centre, the only public transport option is to catch the bus, be it the Metrolink shuttle bus from Stretford or one of the many bus routes that now serve the giant out-of-town shopping centre. Two improved offerings from the city centre were introduced last year, and with timetables set to change this week it seems like a good time to have a look at how the services have fared over the past ten months.

First Manchester increased the frequency of their service 100 at the end of August 2009, running every 10 minutes on Monday to Saturday daytimes via Salford Crescent, Pendleton and Eccles. They also introduced route branding to the single deck buses operating the service, with a pink and purple “unmissable” theme. The service is cut back to run every 12 minutes from this week, but this is still a better frequency than operated before August 2009, when the frequency was every 15 minutes. Between Manchester and Eccles there is a combined 6 minute frequency with service 67, which continues to Irlam and Cadishead. Two journeys an hour on service 100 continue to Irlam with one of those continuing to Warrington via Cadishead.

Was it increased competition that led to Stagecoach Manchester launching their express service X50 in late October 2009 or just a co-incidence? Either way, this limited stop version of the operator’s 250 route runs every 30 minutes throughout the week and offers the quickest route between the city centre and the Trafford Centre. The service is operated by route branded double deckers and appears to be doing well – it helps take some of the load off the 250, which is often full and standing by the time it reaches the university and Hulme, especially when there’s a match on at Old Trafford.

Bus service frequency between Manchester city centre and the Trafford Centre, September 2010
Service Mon to Fri Sat Sun
Daytime Evening Daytime Evening Daytime Evening
100 12 mins 30 mins 12 mins 30 mins 10–20 mins 30 mins
110 20 mins 20 mins
250 15 mins 15–30 mins 10 mins 15–30 mins 15 mins 30–45 mins
X50 30 mins 30 mins 30 mins 30 mins 30 mins 30 mins

On weekdays the 100 still offers the most frequent service despite the new timetable. On Saturdays however, it is the 250 which operates more departures and with bigger vehicles – no doubt because of the tourist potential to the Theatre of Dreams. Despite the better facilities at Shudehill, and its location near to the Arndale, Printworks, Northern Quarter and the Wheel of Manchester, it seems that Piccadilly Gardens still remains the most “prestigious” terminus in the city centre.

Trafford Centre public transport guide

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11 Responses to By bus to the Trafford Centre

  1. What I think would be popular is an express version of the 23/23A from Stockport to the Trafford Centre. It would travel from Stockport bus station, along the M60, and only stop at the final destination. The X23 – a good idea?

  2. I think there was a limited stop service between Stockport and the Trafford Centre when it first opened. That there isn’t one now suggests that it might not make enough money.

  3. Rob says:

    Here’s a list of some of the bus services to the TC, from the Messenger newspaper from August 1998:

    Warrington Borough Transport number 5 every hour from Warrington- Lymm- Warburton- Davyhulme- Trafford Centre and back;

    Arriva numbers 17/17A every 30 minutes from Altrincham- Woodheys- Ashton on Mersey- Sale- Stretford- Trafford Centre and back;

    Arriva number 18 every 30 minutes from Wythenshawe- Baguley- Northern Moor- Sale Moor- Sale- Stretford- Trafford Centre and back;

    Stagecoach number 22 every 30 minutes from Stockport- Stretford- Urmston- Trafford Centre and back;

    Stagecoach numbers 23/23A/20 every 15 minutes from Stockport- Stretford- Urmston- Davyhulme- Trafford Centre and back;

    First Manchester number 53 every 15 minutes from Old Trafford- Trafford Centre and back;

    Arriva number 247 every 30 minutes from Altrincham- Partington- Flixton- Davyhulme- Trafford Centre and back;

    Stagecoach numbers 250/251 every 15 minutes from Flixton- Davyhulme- Trafford Centre- Lostock- Stretford- Old Trafford- Manchester and back;

    Arriva number 275 every 30 minutes from Stretford- Trafford Centre and back;

    First Manchester number 500 every hour from Manchester Airport- Timperley- Altrincham- Sale- Stretford- Urmston- Trafford Centre and back;

    First Pennine number 600 two journeys on Saturdays only from Stretford- Trafford Centre and back.

    I’m sure it’a not a complete list though!

  4. I don’t think it is complete. I think service 20 was withdrawn in 2003.

  5. Rob says:

    I always think Altrincham has a long bus route on both 18 and 247. The 247 which takes around 60 minutes (but doesn’t go to Altrincham in the evenings), and the alternative is bus 18 which takes around 1 hour 20!

    Of course you can get the tram and ML1, but for some that’s not ideal.

    Perhaps the 245 from Flixton to Altrincham down Chester Road should have extended to start from the Trafford Centre when the route was briefly renumbered 18A and extended to the airport last year (now reverted back to the 245)?

  6. SF07 says:

    An express service would be better for Stockport to Trafford Centre. 55-65 mins on the 22/23/23A could be a bit of a drag, meandering through Stretford, Chorlton and Didsbury. Even a limited stop service along the route would be better. Go along the 18 route between Trafford Centre and Stretford. Mind you, it took Stagecoach 11 years to introduce the X50 service.

    The X5 was one of those services that ran when the Trafford Centre first opened. Looking back, there were a lot more services back when it opened compared to now.

    There was also the 600, which I think went along the 350 route from Hey Farm to Ashton then down to Denton (347 route) and onto the M60, coming off at Stretford and then into the Trafford Centre. There was also the 200 from Rochdale via Heywood and Middleton, the 21 from Manchester which went via Swinton and Eccles and I think the 85 was also extended from Chorlton. The 300 extended from Bolton to Bury via the 471 route and the 580 to Oldham, which later became the 58 and then the 57. There were a few services from other counties. Stagecoach had the X60 from Preston and Chorley, Burnley and Pendle had the X42/X43 from Burnley, Arriva had the X1 from Liverpool.

    Compared to now, Bury, Rochdale, Middleton, Oldham and Tameside don’t have services to the Trafford Centre anymore, which could be the reason why First and Stagecoach have got the frequent routes on the 100/110 and 250/X50 from Manchester.

  7. “Here’s a list of some of the bus services to the TC, from the Messenger newspaper from August 1998:
    Stagecoach number 22 every 30 minutes from Stockport- Stretford- Urmston- Trafford Centre and back; ”

    Was this service not extended to Bolton/run in conjunction with First back then?

  8. Rob says:

    Hi Humber, the 22 hasn’t changed – it still runs from Stockport to Bolton via the Trafford centre, at is is still jointly operated by Stagecoach and First. It ran this full length long before the Trafford Centre opened – GM Buses began the service on Dereg-Day 1986 and it replaced the 262 between Burnage and Eccles. The 500 express also started on that day.

  9. Pingback: Autumn bus service changes 2011, part 1 | Manchester Transport

  10. keely says:

    what time does the 250 and x50 stop running please

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