A SMART ticketing scheme which will be rolled out across Greater Manchester’s public transport services has been hailed as a ‘step forward’ by a Saddleworth councillor.
The ‘get me there’ project from Transport for Greater Manchester will see plastic smartcards replace paper tickets on the Metrolink in 2014 before extending to bus and train services in 2015.
Travellers will preload their card with ‘pay as you go’ credit and swipe it using electronic validators at the start and end of their journey to pay for any bus, tram or train service in the area.
Cllr Royce Franklin, Chair of the Traffic and Transport Group for Saddleworth and Lees, is in favour of the scheme which he believes will simplify trips across a number of services.
He said: “Unlike London there has never been a ticket in the provinces which allows passengers to pay one fare for using different forms of transport. The initiative to look at such a provision is to be welcomed.
“Hopefully, ultimately it will be possible to travel from Diggle by bus to Greenfield Station, from there to Ashton by train and onward to Droylsden by tram on only one ticket.
“When we are all being encouraged to use public transport rather than our own cars this can only be a step forward – providing the bus and trains in Saddleworth are timed to connect easily.”
Passengers will be able to monitor their card balance and top up with day, weekend, weekly, monthly or annual credit using ticket machines, TfGM travelshops, the phone or the internet.
Contactless bank cards or existing TfGM-issued concessionary photo cards, such as an igo card or national concessionary scheme card, can be used instead.
Chair of the TfGM Committee, Councillor Andrew Fender, said: “‘Get me there’ is one of the most exciting developments in public transport in Greater Manchester in many years.
“With more than 30 independent, commercial bus operators, a tram network and several inter-regional rail operators, our smart ticketing scheme will be one of the most advanced of its type in the world.
“But we want it to be as simple as possible – hence a name that says what it does on the tin.”
A new website about the scheme is being developed to provide more information and to allow people to register their interest in the scheme: www.getmethere.com