Manchester reports on open loop contactless ticketing adoption

Contactless reader and hand with phone
PRICE CAP: Manchester Metrolink is reminding passengers to touch-out when they complete their journey

More than 170,000 journeys have been made using Metrolink’s new contactless payment system in the four weeks since the service launched on 15 July, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has revealed. However, “despite the relative ease of use, some customers are not ‘touching-out’, resulting in them being charged an incomplete journey fare”.

The system lets passengers travelling on the tram network use contactless bank cards, wearables and NFC phones to pay for journeys without the need to buy a ticket.

Customers touch-in at the start of a journey and then touch-out at the end. Metrolink’s backend system then works out the total daily fare for a customer’s journeys and applies a maximum fare cap equivalent to the relevant adult daily one-day travelcard price.

“Information reminding people to ‘touch-out’ has been put on all trams, including on the back of seats and tram doors and at tram stops,” TfGM says.

“Staff continue to be on hand to talk to people about the new system and messages reminding customers to ‘touch-out’ are also being made on Metrolink’s PA system, by drivers and on the digital information displays, as well as on social media.

“TfGM is working with those customers who have not ‘touched-out’ and is providing refunds where appropriate.”

“The new and easy-to-use payment system is proving particularly popular on event days, with 9,931 journeys made using contactless on 9 August — when Lancashire’s 20/20 cricket match with Yorkshire was unfortunately rained off — while a further 8,009 journeys were made on 11 August when Manchester United played their opening Premier League fixture at home to Chelsea,” the transit operator adds.

“Contactless is a really simple and convenient way for people to pay for journeys on Metrolink and it’s great to see so many people have already taken to it,” says TfGM customer director Stephen Rhodes.

“We recognise this is a different way of paying for travel and it will take some people a little while to adapt, which is why our customer information has an emphasis on the need to ‘touch-in’ and ‘touch-out’.

“As people get used to it, we hope it will become second nature, but anyone who is really concerned about forgetting is still able to use all the other options that were previously available to pay for their travel.”