Smart ticketing on track for Metrolink

(Published:20/01/2017)

Passengers will be able to use a single smart card for all their journeys on any Greater Manchester tram or bus from the summer, transport bosses have confirmed.

An update on the roll-out of Transport for Greater Manchester’s (TfGM) get me there smart ticketing system is included in a report to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), meeting next week.

 

It states the next phase for get me there locally will be to make multimodal bus and tram travel with a single smart card possible for the first time.

 

For passengers, it means that they will be able to buy and add any of the current Metrolink ticket range to their get me there smart cards, or use any smart card for combined bus and tram tickets.

 

Currently, smart ticketing is only available on buses, with get me there on Metrolink limited to concessionary pass holders and a mobile ticketing app.

 

In 2015 TfGM and more than 30 bus operators who make up industry body Greater Manchester Travelcards Limited, the organisation behind the System One brand, introduced the first smart tickets for buses.

 

These enabled passengers to travel on any operator’s service and it is this scheme which will be offering combined bus and tram tickets on smart cards from the summer.

 

Greater Manchester Mayor Tony Lloyd said: “I want Greater Manchester to have a world class transport system and effective smart ticketing has to be a cornerstone of that ambition. 

 

“While there is still work to be done, I’m pleased that passengers will soon be able to make bus and tram journeys across Greater Manchester with a single smart card. 

 

“Passengers have made clear that smart ticketing should be a priority and these improvements bring us closer to delivering the integrated, world class system that Greater Manchester and the North of England expect.”

 

Councillor Andrew Fender, Chair of the TfGM Committee, added: “Passengers have already been taking to the smarter travel options we’ve introduced and I’m delighted we’ll be extending this offer still further.

 

“We want to make travel easier for everyone in Greater Manchester and simple-to-use, joined-up smart ticketing is one of the ways we can make a big difference.”

 

The report also reveals that ‘contactless account-based ticketing’ – where passengers use their bank card to touch in and touch out instead of a smart card – is planned to be rolled out on Metrolink from 2019.

 

Meanwhile, TfGM’s get me there computer system, which enables smart ticketing to work across transport modes and operators, could now be developed further as part of a much larger scheme covering the North of England.

 

Transport for the North, of which TfGM is a member, is responsible for ensuring that smart ticketing schemes being introduced in the North of England are integrated, meaning a smart ticket bought in Greater Manchester would work anywhere in the north and vice versa.

 

Transport for the North comprises local authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships across the North of England, from Cumbria and Newcastle to Liverpool, Sheffield and Hull.

 

The report to GMCA says there would be greater value added if TfGM and TfN collaborated closely, and included operators, in developing the computer back office at this early stage, rather than evolving separate systems.

 

The Combined Authority is recommended to approve a formal partnership with TfN to develop the appropriate IT infrastructure for this trans-North scheme.