It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

With the festive season now in full swing, the Christmas markets booming, shoppers out hunting for gifts, friends and family getting together and a series of major sporting events and gigs coming up - people are being asked to plan ahead when making journeys over the next month.  

So whether you’re off to work, attending an event with your mum, dad or mates, celebrating Christmas with friends or simply doing a spot of shopping please check all available travel options before you set off.

The first major event takes place on Wednesday 24 November, when Manchester City clash with Paris Saint-Germain at the Etihad Stadium in the Champions League (8pm kick-off). On the same night JLS return to Manchester after an eight-year hiatus (7.30pm start) at the nearby AO Arena.

Due to the two events taking place at the same time, plus the Christmas Markets running, drivers should expect the roads around the city centre to be busy between 3.30pm to 7.30pm.

The most affected areas will be on the Inner Ring Road and Great Ancoats Street where journey times could increase by more than 15 minutes. Data also indicates that Wednesday is the most popular day of the week for flexible workers to work in the city centre.

So if you are driving look to avoid the Inner Ring Road and Great Ancoats Street for cross city trips, and if you can, switch to public transport. If you’re able to adapt your schedule and you’re not travelling to any of the events, consider switching your day in the office if you can, or leave a little earlier than usual for a quieter commute.   

For those lucky enough to be attending the game on Wednesday night, a fast and frequent tram service runs straight to the stadium’s dedicated tram stop Etihad Campus on the Ashton line.  TfGM’s dedicated travel page provides travel advice for the day.

Football fixtures then continue to come thick and fast in December with a number of midweek fixtures likely to affect transport in the region. On Thursday 2 December, Manchester United face Arsenal at Old Trafford followed by Swiss side Young Boys a week later (8 Dec, 8pm kick-off).

On Tuesday 14 December, Manchester City welcome Leeds to the Etihad. Train services from across the Pennines are expected to be significantly busier that night, as is the city centre in the run up to Christmas. Advice for intercity commuters who can work flexibly is to look at changing their day in work if possible or to travel earlier or later if they can to avoid the busiest times.

Finally, on Saturday 18 December, a week before Christmas, Manchester United face Brighton. Congestion is expected around junctions 9 and 10 of the M60 and Trafford as people travel to the match and the Trafford Centre for that last bit of Christmas shopping.

TfGM’s Head of Customer Experience, Sean Dyball, said: “We have now very much entered the festive period, and this is being reflected in travel across the region. At weekends we have seen a 16% uplift in traffic to the regional centre, compared to October, and we can only expect this to increase as we get closer to Christmas.

“For quicker journeys into the city, please consider leaving the car at home and taking the tram, bus or train. Or consider using the car for a part of your journey and then switching to public transport at one of TfGM’s Park and Ride sites - where you can park for free and complete your journey on the tram into the city centre.

“And with so many major events taking place, it’s important that those travelling to shop in the city centre, visit the Markets or enjoy Christmas parties take the time to think about their journey before setting off.

“We are constantly updating the customer information available on our website and across our social media channels to help people make informed journey choices; to save them time and avoid disruption to their journey.

“It’s also important that we continue to look out for one another, particularly the most vulnerable passengers, so if you’re using public transport, please remember to use a face covering to help protect one another.”

For live travel updates please follow @OfficialTfGM or visit

Contact Information

Transport for Greater Manchester Press Office

0161 244 1055