Manchester’s bus and tram customers could be using the smart ticketing ‘get me there’ system before the end of the year, according to a report released today.
The news comes after Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) terminated their contract with the previous smart travel provider, Atos, in mid-August this year; a move that caused the Northern powerhouse concept a blow.
Councillor Andrew Fender, Chair of the TfGM Committee, said: “Our plan is to make travel in Greater Manchester easier.
“The over-arching smart ticketing programme will be refreshed over the next few months so we can give passengers confidence that smart ticketing is progressing in Greater Manchester.
“We know how disappointed everyone was to hear the news last month but it was not a decision that was taken lightly.
“It certainly hasn’t stopped us pressing ahead so I’m pleased to be able to set out today some of the progress that’s being made on passenger-facing benefits.”
The revised plans for ‘smart’ travel include the introduction of a smart phone app which will enable passengers to buy and download Metrolink tickets on their phones, as well as upgrading over 250 ticket machines to enable contactless payment methods for physical tickets.
For the bus network, there will be a range of ‘get me there’ pre-paid travel cards that can be purchased and topped-up and allow people to ‘touch in’ and ‘touch out’ of journeys, much like how London’s Oyster card works.
Martin Abrams, Public Transport Campaigner at Campaign for Better Transport, said: “We welcome this announcement and hope this will drive forward the long overdue move to smart ticketing across Greater Manchester as this will bring real benefits for passengers making travelling by bus, tram and hopefully train much easier.
“As we have seen in London with the incredible success of the Oyster card, smart ticketing really works for people and encourages people to use public transport. We look forward to Mancunians enjoying the same benefits.”
The report also details a formal agreement signed by TfGM, South Yorkshire PTE, and West Yorkshire Combined Authority to support the development of smart ticketing in the North.
Smart ticketing discussions have taken place in the North since 2011 as part of the Transport of the North project.
It has been working with the three largest bus operators as well as multi-operator travelcard provider SystemOne to include ‘get me there’ in their system to produce an inclusive system for Manchester’s transport.