Transport for Greater Manchester has said that passengers will be able to use a smart card for all journeys from the summer, as part of the wider roll-out of electronic payment system, Get Me There.
In a report to a meeting of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, transport bosses committed to making multimodal bus and tram travel with a single smart card possible by later this year.
Currently, smart ticketing is only available on buses, with Get Me There on Metrolink limited to concessionary pass holders and a mobile ticketing app.
Get Me There was first launched in 2014 and was hoped to be Manchester’s answer to London’s Oyster Card, but suffered setbacks after the early termination of a contract with Atos in 2015, who had been hired to develop and operate the payment system.
Alongside the expansion of Get Me There, TfGM said that it would be doing a phased introduction of contactless ticket options for Metrolink from 2019, so passengers can use their bank card to touch in and touch out instead of a smart card.
TfGM is also seeking approval from the GMCA for a partnership with Transport for the North, as the transport body evolves plans for its own smart ticketing system for the whole of the North.
As the schemes being proposed by TfGM and TfN are similar, TfGM is proposing that, instead of the two organisations procuring “for virtually the same software”, they partner up to deliver a single back office for Greater Manchester and the wider North, which could also be used by other transport authorities and operators.
TfN’s smart delivery programme has central Government backing and associated funding, and there is an assumption that TfN may invest capital to enable back office delivery.
GMCA is recommended to approve a formal partnership with TfN to develop appropriate IT infrastructure for the trans-North scheme.
Transport for the North is made up of local authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships across the North, from Cumbria and Newcastle to Liverpool, Sheffield and Hull. John Cridland is chairman of TfN.