Oyster cards on track for Manchester… but will they work? Here’s the city’s verdict

As Manchester gets used to the idea of being earmarked as the centre of a ‘Northern Powerhouse’, Chancellor George Osborne has been busy outlining his vision for a metropolitan reform.

Under this region-wide restructuring, Manchester could see an Oyster card-style system being implemented similar to that of London, along with an elected mayor.

Cards were first issued in the capital in 2003 and have gone on to attract huge demand, with more than 80% of London’s public transport journeys made using the system.

MM took to the streets to ask:

Would an Oyster-style card be a success in Manchester?

Option Result
Yes 76%
No 24%


Tim Kidson, 36, an accountant from the city centre, isn’t too happy with the current prices of public transport.

He said: “I think it’s a joke. Half the time the buses and trains are cancelled.

“Got stuck here when they were all cancelled the other week and it was £30 to get home in a taxi after work.”

Laura Totten, a 21-year-old student from Salford, said: “Anything that can help to make things cheaper can only be a benefit. “It’s a big enough area and I’d imagine most people would welcome it.”

Andy Mayes, a 24-year-old teaching assistant from New Moston, said: “I use transport all the time. If you aren’t a student anymore then you can’t live in the city centre so you have to travel.

“I used to live in Salford and you have to get two buses. There aren’t any good deals for getting the tram at the moment.”

IT’S A MUST! Andy Mayes uses public transport daily so believes Oyster-style travel would be benefit the city

Many were fully supportive of the idea and Jake Sproston, a 21-year-old retailer from Manchester, even thinks it could set a benchmark in the North

He said: “Other places may follow if it does well, your Liverpools and your Birminghams.

“I think it’s a brilliant idea and if prices went down it would be a lot more easy for people. If it’s going to be a reasonable price, people are going to use it.”

Aaron Wilkinson, a 21-year-old student from the city centre, feels such a system may ease pressures on current resources.

He said: “It seems like a good idea. There’s no queuing for tickets, it depends on the prices really. It could well tie in with HS2.”

Hannah Williamson, a 22-year-old waitress from Warrington, said: “I have no problems with the current transport system but I guess prices could be lower.

“I think it would work if they had regular check points so that it would be worthwhile having one.”

PRICE WATCHER: Hannah Williamson believes current transport system is good but could be cheaper

Jordan Clifford, 21, a recruitment consultant from Oldham, said: “It will probably be quite difficult to implement but it will be a lot easier than what it is at the minute.

“I travel a lot every day. Price-wise, it’s a lot for what it is.”

Sally Anne, 37, an accountant from London, said: “I use the Oyster card and I think it’s fantastic. I like that you can prepay and it’s just really easy to use.

“With the discount, there’s an incentive to use it. The easier you make it for people to come into the city, the more the trade benefits.”

But there were those who think the system may cause more problems than it will solve.

Clive Blaken, 50, a mechanic from Didsbury, said: “Oyster cards are okay but you hear too much about people losing them and spending unnecessary money on a replacement.

“Other issue is that I don’t feel like Manchester is populous enough really to apply for Oyster cards and as a result might not become a big thing.”

George Kinney, 45, a doctor from Chester, said: “I actually think the transport system in Manchester is very good. The tram process took a long time to install so why can’t we just be happy with that for the time being?

“I suppose if prices go down then we have to question the quality of the service.”

Main image courtesy of Paul Kitchener, with thanks.

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