Manchester’s Metrolink – the UK’s largest light rail network – has launched contactless payment in a bid to simplify the way passengers pay for their travel.
The new, easy-to-use system cuts out the need to buy a paper ticket or download the ‘get me there’ app – passengers are simply required to use a contactless-enabled payment device to touch-in and touch-out at tram stops.
The system will then work out their fare, up to a daily cap, to make sure they are paying no more than the relevant adult daily 1-day travelcard price. Day-capping is especially beneficial to those who are less frequent travellers on Metrolink and who buy adult day and single tickets, which numbered more than 11.5 million in 2018.
To assist passengers adapt to the new technology, staff and volunteers will be at the busiest stops during peak periods in the first week of operation to offer help and advice and answer questions.
Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) customer director, Stephen Rhodes, said: “The launch of contactless today will be a major boost to many people, making tram travel much easier and more appealing.
“Research shows that over two thirds of UK adults are now opting for the speed and convenience of paying with contactless devices, so I’m delighted that we are now able to cater for that increasing demand and give our customers what they want.”
The launch of contactless payment represents the first aggregated ‘Pay As You Go’ implementation on light rail outside of London, following the Contactless Transit Framework developed by UK Finance, and features in their latest Contactless Transit Report.
Greater Manchester joins a small band of leading global city-regions, including New York, Rio and Singapore, which are currently also introducing contactless technology.
TfGM has been working closely with leading global payments provider Visa to introduce the new system. Recent research conducted by Visa highlighted that complex payment options acted as a barrier to travel and was also the cause of many complaints. The research also revealed public transport use could increase by as much as 27 per cent if payment was easier.