Metrolink introduces new contactless payment system
Passengers will simply be required to touch-in and touch-out at tram stops without the need to buy a ticket or download an app.
Metrolink passengers across Greater Manchester are set to benefit from a new and easy-to-use contactless payment system – transforming the way people pay for public transport.
Launching on 15 July 2019, it will see Greater Manchester joining a small band of leading global city-regions including New York, Rio and Singapore, which are currently also introducing the technology.
It also marks one of the first tangible steps towards Our Network – the Mayor’s 10-year plan to create an integrated, modern and accessible public transport system.
Metrolink customers can already use their contactless bank card to buy a ticket at a ticket machine, and this will remain an option. However, what the new ‘intelligent’ contactless system will do is cut out the need to buy a ticket or download the app – with passengers simply required to touch-in and touch-out at tram stops, with the system working out their fare, up to a daily cap.
“These initiatives are the first of many on our journey towards the integrated, London-style transport system we want to see here,” commented Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham.
“Contactless payments on Metrolink in particular will be a major boost for many people, including commuters and the millions of visitors we get every single year.
“It will make travel by tram easier, and improve access to jobs, leisure, skills and education opportunities across Greater Manchester.”
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.
Michael Hart, Business Development Director at Vix Technology, the company behind the technology, said, “The new system enables Metrolink passengers to simply touch-in and touch-out at the start and end of their journey, automatically working out the total daily fare for customers, ultimately reaching a cap of no more than an adult 1-day travelcard price.
“With existing complex payment options acting as a barrier to transit, contactless payments will make travel by Metrolink easier, improving access to jobs, leisure and education opportunities across the Greater Manchester area.
“Vix Whisper offers a simple, friction-free retail solution specifically designed for the needs of transit agencies and operators, utilising the latest technology and security, whilst removing the PCI-DSS compliance burden. It’s the fastest way for operators to roll out contactless payments.”
TfGM’s launch of contactless ticketing on Metrolink 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.
The new system will mean customers can simply touch-in at the start of a journey and touch-out at the end using a contactless bank card or another contactless-enabled payment device, such as a phone or watch. The system will then automatically work out the total daily fare for a customer’s journeys, with the price being capped to ensure they are paying no more than the relevant adult daily one-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 totalled more than 11.5 million in 2018.