Wayfarer – the rover ticket for Manchester and the Peak District, and beyond!

Published 25 August 2019

Wayfarer bus ticker
Four buses to Bakewell (and three on the way home) were all covered by one glorious ticket – the Greater Manchester Wayfarer. A bargain at £13.50 for the day.

“Wayfarer?” the woman behind the counter asked as she trawled through the tickets shown on here computer. “No, I’ve no Wayfarer.”

She reeled off the bus tickets she could sell me. Ones for Arriva North East, Blackpool Transport, System One. Hey, here at the edge of Greater Manchester, I could even buy a weekly bus ticket for Edinburgh.

“But no Wayfarer,” she said, shaking her head sadly. “Oh hang on! I’ve got it!”

Champagne corks would be popping in the newsagents, even if it was 7:50am on a Saturday morning.

“Well you learn something new everyday.”

And with that, I legged it for the bus stop.

Now you might wonder why I’m going on about a bus ticket. Isn’t this a website about hiking after all? Not some website by someone intent on travelling every mile of bus routes in Derbyshire.

It’s a fair comment. But for walkers, public transport can be very useful. I’ve covered saving money on trains before, and the Wayfarer is perhaps one of the most interesting tickets I’ve come across.

See, the Wayfarer is a bit of an enigma. A hidden gem of a bus and train ticket that few seem know about. Even the people charged with selling them. Or accepting them. As one bus driver said to me that day, “Well I’ve not seen one of them for a while.”

But for the walker it’s an amazing thing. Well for one based in Greater Manchester anyway. exploring the Peak District anyway.

Introduced in 1982, it was created a day ticket that would cover the Greater Manchester and parts the Peak District. One ticket that would cover buses and trains in its area of validity.

A bus from High Peak buses drives down New Mills's main street
The 61 runs from Glossop to Buxton, via New Mills. It’s an amazing ride, going over the hills. Sometimes you can see kestrels hovering. Not in New Mills, of course. Oh and you can use your Wayfarer on it.

Despite the privatisation and deregulation of the bus industry, the Wayfarer carried on. When trams returned to the city, the Wayfarer was extended to allow travel on them.

And it’s kept on going. The Wayfarer ticket today covers a sizeable area. One ticket can allow you to travel from Burnley in Lancashire, to Ashbourne at the southern end of the Peak District. Or you can go from Leek in Staffordshire to Warrington. And all for £14.

For walkers it’s great. You can start your walk in one place, and walk somewhere else without having to worry about cars. You can mix and match transport modes with ease. Need to get the train and a bus to get to and from your walk? It’s a doddle. Someone in Manchester could get the train to Buxton, then a bus to Tideswell, walk to Hathersage and then get the train back to Manchester again. The day I first bought one, I used it on four buses to get to the start of my walk, and three back home, travelling with four different bus companies. I already have my next trip using one planned out. It will require three buses and a train. The train fare alone is £10.80. One of the buses will cost £2.50. It’s a great saving.

In short, if you’re a Manchester resident heading out for a walk, someone visiting the area to explore it, it’s definitely worth knowing about.

Tickets can be bought from National Rail, TfGM Travel Shops, or from PayPoint outlets. The latter may struggle to find it on their computer, but trust me, it’s there! And you can probably buy it Edinburgh too. If you get one, spread the word. The Wayfarer is the walker’s friend and it deserves to be better known.

Wayfarer costs £14 for adults, £7 concessions. You can find out more about Wayfarer at the Transport for Greater Manchester website

If you’re looking to travel purely in Derbyshire, then you may find the similar Derbyshire Wayfarer ticket more useful, and slightly cheaper. Usefully you can also buy that on buses. For more information, see the Derbyshire County Council website.


Ray Brown

17 November 2019 at 4:52 pm

Can you use a rover wayfarer train ticket from all warrington stations including Warrington west due to open in December 2219

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

18 November 2019 at 9:03 am

Hello Ray – Warrington is inside the Wayfarer zone, so yes.

Shena Lewington

22 January 2020 at 10:07 pm

TfGM say the Wayfarer can’t be used at Warrington West. (That may be because it’s not open, though …)

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

23 January 2020 at 9:20 am

Have just looked at the map, and actually trains west of Warrington Central don’t appear to be in the Wayfarer zone whilst buses do. The buses seem to go as far as Doe Green, but Sankey for Penketh station isn’t in the zone despite it being closer to Warrington. The Wayfarer map is a little confusing.

Les Lumsdon

13 December 2020 at 10:40 am

Great to read your piece Andrew about the Wayfarer ticket. I was the officer at Greater Manchester Transport who developed the ticket which was originally known as ‘Peak’ Wayfarer. The ‘Peak’ bit was dropped as it was confusing passengers re rush hour! It was part of a project funded by the then Countryside Commission to encourage people to use buses and trains to access the countryside. Multi modal ticket to beat them all.

So pleased that it has survived all the hassles of deregulation of passenger transport and now even more important that ramblers get behind initiatives to reduce Co2 emissions and greenhouse warming by using PT. Thanks again for promoting the ticket.


1 February 2022 at 3:19 pm

I’ve just found out about this. It will solve lots of the transport issues that I have had when planning walks. I asked in Piccadilly station about a ticket that would allow me to go via Knutsford and Wilmslow and the woman said no. She didn’t even mention this, so probably doesn’t know herself!

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