Metrolink is preparing for a last-minute rush on season tickets ahead of its January fare increase.
Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Authority agreed in October that a fare rise was necessary for Metrolink, the first in two years, to meet increasing costs and contribute towards the improvements to and expansion of the network.
In the majority of cases, adult peak return fares will increase by 20p. Rises for child daily fares – the first in three years – will, in the majority of cases, be 10p. The cost of season tickets (four-weekly, quarterly and annual) for adults and children has been frozen for three years and from January 2011 will increase by between 4.8% and 7.3%, depending on ticket type and journey.
For the first time, passengers who are Travel Club members can renew their season passes using the new platform ticket machines installed as part of the recent upgrade.
Cllr Ian Macdonald, chairman of GMITA, said: "I understand that, for passengers, there is no ideal time to increase fares but I can assure them that any change is always the least it can be to meet the growing costs of running, improving and expanding the network."
The new ticket machines allow passengers to pay with credit and debit cards, making them more convenient for passengers. In the past, season ticket renewals could only be made at GMPTE Travelshops or at PayPoint outlets, but now Travel Club members can buy or renew them using the new ticket machines.
An annual season ticket for Altrincham to Piccadilly will cost £930 from 4 January and allows unlimited travel on that route. That is equivalent to three months' free travel, including weekends, compared to buying a return ticket every weekday for the same journey.
GMITA said it reviews fares each year and January's change is consistent with inflation over the two years since ticket prices last changed.