Early bird tickets to be piloted on Metrolink

A new cheaper early and late ticket is to be launched for travel on Manchester Metrolink in an attempt to help tackle congestion on Greater Manchester’s road. The tickets – which will only be available as a pilot until Christmas at the present time – will be available from Monday 12th November and will be valid for travel before 0730 and after 1900, Mondays to Fridays only.

The idea is that these new tickets will be especially beneficial to the thousands of seasonal, part-time and shift workers that will be recruited in the festive period. The tickets will only be available through the getmethere app (i.e. not available as paper tickets from the on platform ticket machines) with two different options available:

Early Bird – £1: Unlimited travel on all Metrolink services from the start of service until 0730 (all journeys must be completed by 0730)

Early Bird Plus – £3: Unlimited travel on all Metrolink tram services from the start of service until 0730 plus unlimited travel between 1300 and 1530 and unlimited travel from 1900 until the end of service

Both tickets will only be available to purchase from the start of service until 0700 on the day of travel through the app.

Funding for this new ticket is coming through the Mayor of Greater Manchester’s Congestion Deal. Part of this is asking employers to be more flexible with start and finish times in a bid to encourage people to travel at less busy times to help with congestion.

Speaking about the Early Bird tickets, Mayor Andy Burnham said: “Congestion is a major problem that is affecting people’s lives on a daily basis. Additional trams and tram lines, improved cycling and walking infrastructure and the Manchester and Salford Inner Relief Route works will all help in the long run, but they will take time to bear fruit. The Early Bird is one of a range of measures being introduced to help improve things here and now and in advance of the busy festive period, making it easier for people to re-time their journey and avoid the traffic by trying the tram.”

The announcement wasn’t met with complete praise with many complaining that the terms were too complicated with others pointing out that many early morning trams are already crowded with these tickets likely to be exacerbate this problem. There is also the issue that journeys must be completed by 0730 after which time the ticket won’t be available on the app to show meaning passengers would theoretically be travelling without a ticket if challenged. This could be an issue at times of disruption although it is thought there would be some flexibility in these instances.

Once the trial is over the data will be analysed before a decision is made on whether to have a permanent outside of the peaks ticket offer.

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