How much are child bus fares within Greater Manchester?

We’ve had quite a lot of hits from people searching for information on how much child bus fares will cost within Greater Manchester now that the flat concessionary fare of 80p has been withdrawn. So we thought it might be a good idea to summarise the available info in one handy blog post – although the short answer is “half the adult fare in most cases”.

Important notice: we last updated this piece on Sunday 22nd May 2011 – this was a good-faith interpretation of how much child bus fares would cost following the abolition of flat fare concessions. As such, this information is likely to be out of date. For the most up-to-date information, contact TfGM or your local bus operator

Under 16 identification

igo under 16 SmartcardIf you don’t have an igo pass then you need to get one now if you’re aged between 11 and 16. The new half-fares will only be available on production of a valid igo pass, and they become mandatory from 16th May 2011. They cost £5 to purchase and require a passport photo and a completed application form. Check the TfGM website for more info.

School services

On special school services operated under contract to TfGM, there is a standard range of fares to pay ranging from £1.00 to £1.40. Apparently there are day return fares available too, but the cost of these hasn’t been publicised. How can you tell if a school service is operated on behalf of TfGM? If it’s a special yellow school bus or the route number is between 900 and 999 then it’s likely to be a TfGM contract service. If you’re not sure, you can check the PDFs at the bottom of the following TfGM webpage – if it is operated commercially then keep reading.

(First are also advertising a weekly ticket available for use on their yellow school bus services, priced at £8.50.)

Normal bus services

Some bus operators have included details of their fares on their websites – the following tables are a summary of that information. Please get in touch or leave a comment below if you spot any errors or have any more details we can add to the list.

Single and return tickets

All operators offer single tickets, and some still offer day return tickets. The following list of operators have made details available online, either full faretables or the minimum/maximum fares charged.

Operator Single tickets Day return tickets  
Bakerbus 30p to £1.50 £1.00 to £2.00 Link
First 70p to £2.30 ♫ n/a Link
Magic Bus 45p to 75p n/a Link
Maytree 50p to £2.00 ♠ n/a Link
Network Warrington 50p to £1.65 95p to £1.90 ▲ Link
South Lancs Travel 60p to £1.25 £1.00 to £2.00 Link
Stagecoach Manchester 55p to £1.40 n/a Link

♫ £2.30 fare should in theory never be charged as day ticket is £2.10.
♠ £2.00 fare should in theory never be charged as day ticket is £1.90.
▲ Not available to purchase before 0900 on Mondays to Fridays.

Day tickets and season tickets

Most bus operators have a range of day and 7 day tickets that you can buy from the driver and may save you money if you only use one bus operator’s services. Day tickets and 7 day tickets are available to buy from the driver unless otherwise specified.

Operator Day ticket 3 day ticket 7 day ticket 28 day ticket  
Arriva ▼ £2.20 ◊ n/a £8.50 £27.00 ■ Link
Bakerbus £2.00 n/a n/a n/a Link
First £2.10 n/a £8.50 Coming soon Link
JPT £1.40 n/a £4.00 n/a Link
Maytree £1.90 n/a £6.00 n/a Link
Network Warrington £2.50 ▲ n/a £8.75 ♥ £29.00 ♥ Link
Rossendalebus £2.00 ♦ £4.50 ♦ £8.00 ♦ n/a Link
South Lancs Travel £2.00 n/a £6.00 n/a Link
Stagecoach Manchester £1.85 n/a £5.75 n/a Link
Stagecoach North West n/a n/a £3.75 ♣ n/a Link
Transdev Lancashire n/a n/a £7.20 Ω n/a Link

▼ Child Saver tickets are not valid after 8pm unless accompanied by an adult.
◊ A £3.50 day ticket is available that is valid additionally in North Wales.
■ Monthly tickets are available to purchase online or via mobile phone: or additionally from epay, PayPoint or Payzone outlets priced £30.00.
▲ Not available to purchase before 0900 on Mondays to Fridays.
♥ Must be bought from Warrington Interchange, not available to buy from driver. 28 day ticket is valid for one calendar month.
♦ Within Greater Manchester only. Tickets valid for entire network available for £4.10 (all day – special offer, normal price £4.40), £4.10 (off-peak day), £10.00 (three day) and £15.00 (seven day).
♣ Service 125/126 Megarider valid between Bolton and Horwich only.
Ω Prestwich – Manchester 7 day ticket: other tickets are available for wider network.

“Any bus” tickets

If your journey involves more than one bus operator, you may save money with one of the “any bus” tickets available from System One Travelcards. Day tickets are available from the driver, with 7 and 28 day tickets available to purchase from PayPoint outlets or from TfGM Travelshops.

Ticket type Duration Cost
Junior DaySaver 1 day £2.70
Bus Saver 7 7 days £9.50
Bus Saver 28 28 days £34.00

Cross-boundary journeys

If you’re planning a journey that crosses in or out of Greater Manchester then special fares will apply. It’s a little too complicated to go into here – we’d recommend that you get in touch with the bus operator. As a rough guide though: Cheshire and Lancashire tend to use two-thirds fare, whilst Derbyshire, Merseyside, West Yorkshire and Warrington tend to use half-fares. We suspect that other forms of under-16 identity may be permitted for cross-border journeys, but don’t quote us on that.


About James McCollom

Web geek and public transport user
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22 Responses to How much are child bus fares within Greater Manchester?

  1. Watcherzero says:

    That must have been exhausting to research!

    So I guess the basic question is if your an outsider and so cant have an IGO for TfGM concession, which operators offer other alternate child prices (at their own cost) and which only sell adult tickets?

  2. Watcherzero says:

    Actually second question, does the fact most operators havent touched single fares but have raised return and weekly fares indicate A: Theres a absoloute cap on subsidy being paid per passenger and therefore they dont get the same amount for returns/multi days as they used to, B: their trying to recoup some of the added costs through returns but not singles or C: Part of the child subsidy agreement was that they fixed single fares for a period of time.

  3. As Rossendalebus already has a child fare operational outside Greater Manchester, from 16th May this same rate (currently approximately 2/3 of the adult fare) will be available in Greater Manchester to children under 16 who don’t have an igo pass, although our normal policy is that older children should have photo ID anyway. We’d continue to accept the old GMPTE ID-16 cards as well as our own Under 16s photocard to travel at this rate.

    This arrangement already exists on our services in West Yorkshire where 11-16 year olds must have a Metro Young Persons photocard (therefore must be a resident) to travel at the subsidised half fare but with other ID can travel at the 2/3 fare.

  4. Richard Adamfi says:

    Route One Magazine (free download from their website) says that TfGM were very angry in the apparent passing on of the 50% discount for children’s season tickets onto adult fares and are now thinking of Quality Contracts.

    Why do First and Maytree have a single fare higher than a day ticket?

  5. I would say the single fare being higher than the day ticket may be for administrative reasons. For similar reasons, you can get a rail season ticket from London King’s Cross to Inverness, even though the All-Line Rover ticket is much cheaper.

    I’ve backed Quality Contracts since their introduction and am surprised to why they haven’t been introduced much earlier. Is the Code of Conduct a blunt instrument compared with QCs?

  6. James McCollom says:

    Regarding the rise in adult ticket prices, it reminded me of this article about revisions to concessionary reimbursement rates to factor in day ticket prices amongst other things.

  7. Joanna says:

    I don’t understand why children have been targeted but the OAP concessionary fare (Free!) is unaffected. Anything to do with the fact the bus companies can claim £2.20 for every OAP that gets on the bus no matter how far they travel??
    Sick of children (and myself as a parent) being ripped off.

    • James McCollom says:

      OAPs have been affected – they now have to pay full fare if they travel before 0930 on weekdays. I don’t think the £2.20 figure is accurate either.

      • Joanna says:

        So they travel after 9:30 am and go for free!
        The £2.20 is accurate and supplied by First Buses.

      • James McCollom says:

        The rate of reimbursement isn’t the main issue, Joanna: bus companies aren’t targetting children for fare increases. The move from flat fare to half fare has been brought about by Transport for Greater Manchester through withdrawing funding for the flat 80p fare, so this is a political decision. Free travel for senior citizens is also mandated by the state, so again is out of the bus operator’s hands. If anything, children paying half fare on the bus is the norm in many other parts of the country – it’s just a shock to the system for Greater Mancunians.

  8. Joanna says:

    It may be the norm in other parts of the country. In other parts of the country children also travel free (York for example). In Greater Manchester we have had a flat rate child fare that has increased from 50p to 80p in 2 years and has now been hiked again by changing the rate to half the adult fare. It’s more than a shock to the system – it’s extortionate and unfair.

    • Paul Sidorczuk says:

      Joanna, when the matter of this change came into force, I took the trouble to ask all the large metropolitan areas such as Merseytravel, W Y Metro (who cover West Yorkshire and also Lancashire County Council and Derbyshire County Council about how their policy would be with regard to child fares.

      Half-fare was quoted as being the norm at this present time.

      You quote York as an example of a differing pricing structure, but this is an area that is totally dissimilar in all respects to this area. It is no longer part of the North Riding of Yorkshire but exists as a unitary body in its own right.

  9. Paul Sidorczuk says:

    Since my last reply to Joanna, I have been on the City of York website to clarify matters, since Joanna was of the opinion that free travel for children applied in that area.

    The position for children aged 11-16 now is that they must carry a YOzone 11-16 card which costs £5.00 . With the use of this card, they MUST pay HALF-FARE on all their journeys.

    I trust that has clarified this matter.

  10. Joanna says:

    Must be under age 11 then that children travel for free in York.
    Thank-you for the clarification. It doesn’t make the price hike in Manchester right or fair though.

  11. jolinder says:

    absolute complete rip off the igo pass! So not happy about it, I don’t see why a passport wont do? Just another way of bleeding me dry

  12. i need to know if my child can travel with his free school pass on a normal bus or does he have to use it on a designated school bus, we live in stockport in Manchester

    • Shaun says:

      On the TfGM website, it says that anyone with a free school pass can travel for free on the journey shown on the pass (presumably home and school the two points), so I would imagine as long as the bus travel between the two points, then it should valid on any bus (normal or school service). Any other journey will need the igo bus pass in order to pay half fare.

      You can find that page on the TfGM website by going to Journey Planning; Tickets Fares and Passes; Concessionary fares.

  13. elelou says:

    anyone know if the child monthly ticket is avilble yet? and how much is it or would it be?

    • James McCollom says:

      You raise an excellent point elelou. First suggested they were going to introduce a monthly child ticket but so far haven’t done (according to their website) – we’d suggest you get in touch with them directly but do let us know what they say!

  14. Deana Burnett says:

    My lad goes to school in Bolton and I pay my council tax to bury . My boys school which he as been goin to for the last 5 yrs he as had a free bus pass as his school to Bolton is over 4 miles . I’ve just been informed today that I should never ever should of had it as it is out of the. CRITERE and the nearest school which is in bury is only 2 miles or so , so the lady I’ve been speaking to in bury schools and college transport is called Linda Barry , and she as informed she as took over this new department and she as told me I should never have received it , what I can’t understand is if my lad changes school in his last year he would get it ??????? Somebody explain to me how on earth that works . Somebody at bury concil have been doin there job wrong for the last 5 years and now it seems to be my lad suffering and his mother , how can this be right somebody tell me ?

  15. Deana Burnett says:

    Also everybody in the department who was in it last year have all been made redundant and Linda Barry has took over this new department , nobody in that department knows what there are really doing to me !

  16. Andrea says:

    My son purchased a weekly bus ticket on the school bus it was a first bus but the bus that turned up later in the week was a tyers coach and the woman driver refused to let him on he had no other way to get to school so missed that day. Surely the school bus ticket should cover any bus that turns up otherwise what’s the point if the operater changes on a daily basis

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