After three years working on the contactless payment system for Metrolink, TfGM has ended the contract with supplier Atos by mutual agreement.
Atos was appointed in September 2012 on a seven-year contract to design, build and operate the electronic payment system. Get Me There was Manchester’s answer to London’s Oyster card system and would form a central plank of the rollout of a Northern card, Chancellor George Osborne said in his summer budget.
TfGM said ‘substantial compensation’ would be paid by Atos ‘in respect of the costs incurred’ and to enable the system to continue through development following the decision to terminate the contract.
The reasons for the contract failure were not spelled out. Last December, TfGM said it would delay its annual fare increases from January to at least August to reflect the disruption caused by the temporary closure of St Peter’s Square to trams. TfGM said it’s ‘looking increasingly unlikely that Metrolink will introduce any increases [to fares] for the remainder of 2015’.
Get Me There was introduced in October 2014 for passengers with concessionary travel passes and was due to be introduced this summer for all paying Metrolink users.
In a joint statement, TfGM and Atos said: “TfGM contracted Atos in 2012 to design, build and operate a smart ticketing system for Greater Manchester to be rolled out initially on Metrolink and with options to roll the system out subsequently to bus and rail.
“Although the system is currently operational for use by our 500,000 concessionary card holders, after a considerable period of delay it has become clear that Atos cannot deliver the smart ticketing system as contracted.
“Therefore, the parties have decided that it is in their best interests to agree to a mutual termination of the contract, on commercial terms, the details of which, remain confidential between the parties, but which provide substantial compensation to TfGM in respect of the costs incurred and which will enable TfGM to develop a smart ticketing system with alternative providers.
“Atos are collaborating with TfGM to ensure that the existing services are maintained and transitioned to new providers.”
Get Me There has been rolled out to more than 500,000 concessionary pass holders across Greater Manchester and more than 60,000 smart journeys are now taking place every week.
A TfGM spokesperson said: “The world of technology is moving faster than any of us could have anticipated, and nowhere else is this more true than with smart ticketing. Today’s smart card already looks destined to be overtaken by contactless payments and mobile apps on smart phones.
“Given TfGM’s commitment to deliver an integrated smart ticketing scheme, and with the opportunities afforded to us by the forthcoming Bus Bill, it is only right that TfGM re-thinks its approach to the Get Me There scheme to ensure that it is flexible and fit for the future.
“This has allowed TfGM to bring in a range of experts to look more closely at just what customers want and how we expect their needs to change. Therefore, whilst we continue to run the existing Metrolink scheme for our 500,000 concessionary card holders, we will now look at all possible options to deliver the best possible outcome for customers as we move towards a far more integrated world class transport network.”
TfGM said further details about the rollout of Get Me There will be provided over the next few months and a number of new developments aimed at making travel easier are expected to be announced later this year.