It was all supposed to be a new era in paying for travel on Manchester Metrolink (and on other public transport across the area) but get me there (a Manchester version of an Oyster card in effect) hit the stumbling blocks over the summer when Transport for Greater Manchester dumped their chosen supplier from the project. But now a few weeks later TfGM have said that bus and tram passengers could be travelling using the new tickets by the end of the year.
Atos had been appointed to design, build and operate the get me there smart ticketing system but following complications the contract was mutually terminated with TfGM and the decision was taken to continue the develop the project with new partners. It had become apparent that Atos were not going to be able to deliver what was being asked of them – despite the fact there had already been limited roll out to allow concessionary travel pass to use the system – and rather than continue with the struggle it was felt a new approach was needed.
At the time of the contract termination there were doubts in the local media whether smart ticketing would follow quickly in Greater Manchester but TfGM have now released a statement saying that bus and tram passengers could be using get me there by the end of this year.
For Manchester Metrolink it is hoped the following will be in place:
* A new smartphone app enabling passengers to buy and download Metrolink tickets through their smartphone.
* Upgrading of the network’s 250 plus ticket machines so people can use contactless bank cards to buy printed tickets
Cllr Andrew Fender, Chair of the TfGM Committee, said: “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. These initiatives will benefit tram and bus passengers and will make these travel choices more appealing options in future. I repeat TfGM’s commitment to delivering this vision as soon as is practicable. Our plan is to make travel in Greater Manchester easier and 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. That piece of work will enable us to take advantage of new opportunities in technology and other significant developments, such as devolution and Transport for the North, which have come to pass since the original smart programme was launched. This report is a confirmation of our commitment to delivering smarter ways for people to travel in Greater Manchester.”