Metrolink is expected to introduce a zonal fare structure, similar to that used in Greater London, by early 2019 in an effort to simplify fares across the network.
In a report to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, due to be discussed at a meeting on Friday, Transport for Greater Manchester has set out its plans for a zonal structure which divides the network into four fare zones.
These are based on concentric rings around the city centre, with zone one starting in the centre, moving out from zone two to four covering different areas of Greater Manchester.
Terminus points Manchester Airport, Altrincham, Rochdale, and Bury, are all proposed to be in zone four, while East Didsbury and Ashton-under-Lyne are both in zone three, alongside the proposed termination point of the new Trafford Park line at the Trafford Centre.
Eccles and Salford Quays are all within zone two.
TfGM said these proposals are designed to simplify the fare system on the network as contactless payments are rolled out over the next six months. The new system will offer zone-to-zone travel rather than point-to-point tickets, and will reduce the number of fares available from 8,556 – the number of point-to-point combinations – to 10.
Fares will be calculated based on the number of zones a trip passes through, with each zone counted once – for example, a trip from Manchester Airport to Bury would count as a four-zone fare.
While TfGM admitted the move will increase fares for one-stop journeys within the City Zone, this would help to “support the policy goal to promote active travel for short journeys, with the associated benefits for health and wellbeing”.
A number of stops, including Stretford and Brooklands, fall between two zones, and fares here will be calculated on the lower zonal cost relative to the direction of travel.
Information will be spread to the public in early June while the final zonal fare structure will be subject to an additional report to the GMCA in July.