Soon, city-dwellers will be able to use it across all public transport in Greater Manchester
The ‘Get Me There’ smartcard launched by Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester is finally available for use on trams and buses. A smartcard was initially introduced in 2015, however had to be eradicated due to delays and congestion in rush hours.
Greater Manchester trialled the ‘Get Me There’ project by creating an app which could be used as a contactless payment on trams alone which was a success, and has led to now introducing the oyster-like card so it can be used across the entire region on buses too.
Plans to include train fares onto the card have been discussed and transport bosses have “vowed to extend it to trains by 2021” according to Manchester Evening News.
The ‘Get Me There’ card differ slightly from the Oyster Card however, as it will not be used based on top-ups, but individual or season tickets will have to be brought before boarding a public transport service. This will aim to reduce queue numbers and create less traffic during peak travel periods.
When Mr Burnham launched his campaign for Mayor he vowed for teenagers to receive better transport links to travel to school, work for apprenticeships or work on weekends to make extra money.
He has stuck to his words and has allowed those who are between 16-18 years of age to travel at a reduced rate if using the ‘Get Me There’ card. Those that live in London get unlimited free travel up until the age of 18 though, something that its Manchester parallel does not yet offer.
Questions have been raised as to whether the card can be used on both Stagecoach and First services. On the website for the project, it has been confirmed that they will both be accepted as well as other bus companies.
Alex Tayler, the newly appointed General Secretary of the University of Manchester’s Student Union vowed he would negotiate a bus pass that could be used on both services; this has been a priority as well as developing a strong relationship with the new Mayor.
Alex Tayler has released a statement to The Mancunion about using his role within the Student Union to encourage a more advanced ‘Get Me There’ card to benefit students – ‘I am pretty optimistic about the announcement. I am currently in contact with Andy Burnham’s office and we are due to meet soon.’
‘This is going to be one of my main points for discussion. Clearly we are aiming for a reduced rate pass, and will also consider the possibility of a further reduced pass to cover all operators on the Oxford Road corridor specifically. We will also discuss the option of a reduced pay as you go rate for students with the cards compared with the cash fare.’
‘Finally, I will also try to include options for a daily and weekly price cap which would ensure that students never pay more for travel than they would have done if they had purchased the travel pass covering an equivalent time period.’
‘At the moment, I can’t make any guarantees as we have yet to finalise anything but I can assure you that we are all doing our best to put the case forward for affordable, simple student travel.’
Students have also enquired whether prices for fares would increase again due to additional commission charges.
The contactless card payments increased Magic Bus fares by 50p in April causing uproar amongst the student community, as the prices for season tickets have also inflated. Greater Manchester City Council have not yet responded to The Mancunion’s request for comment.
Even though the card is improving the quality of transport and reducing emissions, there are major steps required to advance to the level of transport that the oyster card in London accommodates.
The card is available to order from here and 7-day and 28-day tickets can be purchased for bus and tram transport.