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Manchester public transit

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Hi, thanks in advance for your help.

We are a family of four, two teens and two parents, spending a few days in Manchester later this spring and staying on the western side of town (Potato Wharf). I'm trying to figure out which public transit options will work best for us.

As I understand it, there are free Metroshuttles (color-coded buses), and Metrolinks (yellow trams), plus some key National Rail stations.

Most of our travel will be to Deansgate-Castlefield, Oxford Road and Piccadilly Station, with one trip west to the intu Trafford Centre. Sometimes we'll travel together as a family and sometimes the kiddos will split off on their own. Travel will be a mix of peak and off-peak depending on the day.

Do you think a 7-day Travelcard for each of us would make the most sense? It would be £16 each for husband and me, and £13.10 each for the teens. I think the teens would need to provide digital photos for SystemOne membership...I'm thinking that could be done on-site when we arrive, correct? Or has it been your experience that the free Metroshuttles are comprehensive and convenient enough to cover most travel through the city?

And my last question -- apologies for so many! -- concerns transit from the airport to Deansgate-Castlefield. We'll be arriving on a Sunday, which is a different tram schedule than other days. It looks like we would take the yellow Metrolink tram from the airport to the Cornbrook tram stop, and then the Altrincham – Etihad Campus line from Cornbrook to Deansgate-Castlefield. Does that sound right?

Any other guidance is appreciated. Again, apologies for so many questions. We live in a small town with zero public transit, and even the closest city has extremely limited public transit with only one bus line, so these choices and options take us a while to absorb. Thanks!

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