From next year, rail passengers will be able to use contactless bank cards for ‘pay as you go’ train journeys at 17 stations in Greater Manchester. Stations on selected routes in the city-region are set to be fitted with technology allowing people to simply tap-in and tap-out of their local network without needing a ticket to travel.
The news comes after the government agreed to assist Greater Manchester in integrating its public transport network as part of a new devolution deal by introducing a daily cap on fares for local trains as well as buses and trams. Multi-modal fares and ticketing integration across bus, Metrolink, rail and cycle hire as part of the Bee Network is set to be rolled out by 2030.
But from 2025, Greater Manchester will be taking part in a ‘pay as you go’ pilot scheme allowing passengers to tap-in and tap-out at 17 stations on the Glossop to Piccadilly and Stalybridge to Victoria lines. The payment system would be similar to the one used on trams.
Rail Minister, Huw Merriman, said: “We want to encourage more people back onto our trains, with tap-in technology meaning using our stations couldn’t be easier. Our railways have a long history, but projects like these – part of the government’s wider plans for reform – will ensure they have a bright future too.”
The Greater Manchester stations which will take part in the ‘pay as you go’ pilot scheme:
- Ashton Under Lyne
- Flowery Field
- Guide Bridge
- Manchester Piccadilly
- Manchester Victoria
- Newton For Hyde
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “We are transforming how people travel in Greater Manchester, with the aim for people to pay for journeys easily and seamlessly across buses, trams, trains and cycle hire. We look forward to progressing with these new contactless rail pilots and working together to develop a more meaningful and accountable partnership that allows us to integrate local rail services across the city-region into the Bee Network by 2030.”
A pilot scheme is also planned for the West Midlands and will cover 75 stations across the Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) area. With plans already in motion for industry to expand ‘pay as you go’ in the South East later this year, the pilot stations confirmed will see the total number of tap-in-tap-out stations in England surge to around 500 in 2025. The final plans for the pilot scheme in 2025 are still yet to be finalised.