Metrolink — Open for Adventure!
Metrolink guide for first time users

Tram BasicsA simple guide for new tram users

Metrolink is easy to use. Trams are frequent, running at least every 12 minutes. So, there's no need for a timetable, just show up at your nearest stop and the next tram won't be far away.

However, you do need to have a valid ticket or pass before getting onto a tram or you risk being issued a standard fare of £100. We've covered a few of our most frequently asked ticketing questions below, to help get you started, and you can check out the tickets page for more details including prices.

Pay as you go with contactless

For adults travelling on a single day, contactless is the easiest way to travel by tram.

At the start of your journey, simply touch-in with your contactless card or device at a smart reader, located on every stop, and then touch-out again when you arrive at your final destination. We'll work out the total fares for your day's journeys for you, meaning you'll pay between £1.40 for a short hop and a maximum of £7.10 for a 1-day anytime travelcard (or £4.90 off-peak) for all zones- as long as you remember to touch-out.

Choose a different way to pay if:

  • you travel regularly and would benefit from a season ticket
  • are travelling as a family
  • you qualify for a discount or concessionary fare

Using a smart reader

You can use most bankcards and some mobile devices to touch-in and touch-out

Contactless payment logo

  • Any bank card issued on Visa, Maestro or Mastercard that displays the contactless logo, shown above.
  • Many contactless cards issued outside the UK can be used to pay as you go for travel, overseas transaction fees may apply.
  • A mobile phone with a mobile wallet.
  • A smartwatch or other device with a mobile wallet.

On every Metrolink stop, you will see a contactless card reader like this one:

Photograph of Contactless card reader

To start your journey, simply touchthe contactless card or device on the reader, which looks like the one above.

The card reader will show you if your payment has been accepted, like so:

Illustration of person using contactless reader

Contactless reader

The contactless reader contains 4 square lights and an LCD mini screen

Illustration showing contactless card declined

Declined travel

If you see one of these error messages, check the TfGM help page or try buying a paper ticket.

Illustration showing contactless card approved

Approved travel

The 4 square lights will turn green and the LCD screen will be similar to the above

Find out more about travelling contactless

Buying a season ticket

Smartphone and mobile device apps

There's no need to buy a printed ticket, just use your phone or tablet.

Use the get me there app to buy adult 7-day and 28-day tickets for Metrolink, as well as a range of day tickets. Family and child tickets are not available.

Find out more and download the app at


Pay by cash (change given) or by credit or debit card (including contactless) for all kinds of tram tickets.

Ticket machines are available at every stop.

Other ways to pay:

  • online at using a smart card
  • at a TfGM Travelshop
  • at any shop showing the PayPoint logo

More information on ways to pay

Child and concessionary fares


If you are aged 5-15 you can pay child fares on trams in Greater Manchester. From age 11, you'll need proof of age ID.

An igo card can be used as proof of your age and lets you pay child fares on trams in Greater Manchester until 31 August after your 16th birthday. Find out more about igo

Older people

  • You may qualify for a concessionary pass which gives you free off-peak travel on all buses within Greater Manchester. You can also choose to pay £10 to add tram and train to your pass, for a year's unlimited off-peak travel on Metrolink and trains within Greater Manchester.
  • If you travel outside of these times you must pay the full adult fare.

To qualify you must live in Greater Manchester and qualify for a state pension.

The Women's Concessionary Travel Scheme also helps those in Greater Manchester most affected by the increase of the State Pension age.

Disabled people

If you are disabled, you could be eligible for a pass that gives you free and low-cost travel in Greater Manchester and the rest of England under the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme.

Find out more about concessionary fares

What are ticket "zones"?

Every Metrolink stop is in a ticket zone. There are four ticket zones, with zone 1 covering stops in the city centre and zone 4 covering stops furthest away from the city centre.

When you buy a Metrolink ticket, you will choose which zone or zones you want the ticket to be valid in. Your ticket will be valid for travel anywhere within your chosen zone(s).

You must have a ticket which is valid for all the zones you travel through. You cannot travel through a zone unless your ticket is valid for that zone.

For example, if you make a journey from Manchester Airport in zone 4, through the city centre and out to Rochdale town centre in zone 4, you must have a zones 1+2+3+4 ticket, as your journey travels through all four zones. A zone 4 only ticket would not be valid for this journey.

Find out more about ticket zones

Metrolink ticket zones map