Zonal fare system approved for Metrolink

A new zonal fare system will be introduced on Manchester Metrolink from early 2019 after council leaders have final approval to the plans following the results of a public engagement exercise. There will be some winners and losers in the new fare system but the majority of travellers will see lower fares with 78.5% of fares said to be lower as a result.

The Manchester Metrolink network will be split into four zones as part of this new system which is said to be simpler and easier to understand as well as providing better value fares for millions of passengers.

Zone 1 – City Centre extending to Cornbrook, Victoria and New Islington

Zone 2 – As far as Stretford (Altrincham line), St Werburgh’s Road (Airport/East Didsbury), the whole Eccles/MediaCityUK line (and as far as Parkway on the Trafford Park extension), Bowker Vale (Bury), Newton Heath and Moston (Rochdale), Edge Lane (Ashton-under-Lyne)

Zone 3 – Brooklands (Altrincham), Roundthorn (Airport), remainder of East Didsbury line, remainder of Trafford Park extension, Whitefield (Bury), Derker (Rochdale), remainder of Ashton-under-Lyne line

Zone 4 – Remainder of Altrincham, Airport, Bury and Rochdale lines

As part of the engagement line one change was made to the boundaries which saw Whitefield moved to the zone 3/4 boundary instead of Besses o’ th’ Barn.

Fares were due to increase in early 2019 anyway and taking into account these changes and the new zones 78.5% of fares will be lower, with 10% the same and 11.5% being higher.

The results of the engagement activity show:

73% found the zonal system easy to understand

57% thought it would be more convenient, 20% thought it would be less convenient

42% said it would offer better value for money, 37% less value for money

Where respondents to the survey (of which there were 4,981 responses) thought there would be less value for money they had attributed the planned fare increase to the new zonal system rather than realising fares would increase regardless.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “A zonal system on Metrolink is the springboard to a better integrated, simpler and easier to use transport network. Simplifying the fares and ticketing system in Greater Manchester will ultimately make travelling by public transport a more attractive option, which is absolutely vital if we are to tackle congestion and improve air quality – two of the most challenging issues facing us today.”

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