Lon­don-style ticket zones for Metrolink

Glossop Advertiser - - News - Jen­nifer Wil­liams

METROLINK bosses plan to bring in four Lon­don-style fare zones from next year in a move de­signed to sim­plify the cost of tick­ets – but we don’t yet know what the new prices will be.

A re­port go­ing be­fore the coun­cil on Fri­day re­veals a con­sul­ta­tion on the zones – which are de­signed in con­cen­tric cir­cles, with the city cen­tre marked as’ Zone 1’ – is due in the next few weeks.

There are cur­rently more than 8,500 pos­si­ble price com­bi­na­tions across the net­work, a legacy of Metrolink’s grad­ual ex­pan­sion over the years. It will be cut to just ten.

While the re­port does not say what fares will be charged un­der the new sys­tem, it does say the over­haul is likely to make longer cross-city jour­neys – such as from the air­port to Bury – cheaper. Sin­gle, short jour­neys in the city cen­tre would be­come more ex­pen­sive for any­one with­out a con­ces­sion­ary pass.

How­ever the re­port says that over­all, the move will broadly set fares at the ‘low­est cur­rent’ ticket prices, which cur­rently vary wildly de­pend­ing on the line.

The plan would see Manch­ester city cen­tre and Corn­brook marked as ‘Zone 1’ and a sec­ond ring - reach­ing out to Edge Lane in the east, Bowker Vale and New­ton Heath in the north, Ec­cles and Stret­ford in the west and St Wer­bergh’s Road and Bar­low Moor Road in the south – as ‘Zone 2’.

Be­yond that, a third zone takes in the re­main­der of the Ash­ton and Dids­bury lines, the Bury line as far as Besses o’th’ Barn, the Old­ham line as far as Derker, the Al­trin­cham line to Brook­lands and the air­port line to Martin­scroft.

Ev­ery­thing fur­ther out than that – in­clud­ing the air­port, Bury, Rochdale and Al­trin­cham town cen­tres – would be ‘Zone 4’.

The re­port is un­clear on the ex­act pric­ing struc­ture, but does say in the city cen­tre, short jour­neys will be­come more ex­pen­sive.

“The pro­posal har­monises the low­est fares cur­rently payable on Metrolink, avail­able for ‘one stop’ jour­neys and jour­neys within the ‘City Zone’, with other short ‘sin­gle zone’ jour­neys,” it says.

The move, due to be in­tro­duced in early 2019, goes hand-in-hand with the in­tro­duc­tion of con­tact­less pay­ments – due to start this sum­mer – and daily fare caps, which will be based on the zones.

De­scribed as a ‘sim­pler, eas­ier to un­der­stand fare struc­ture’, Trans­port for Greater Manch­ester (TfGM) says it will slash the 8,556 dif­fer­ent vary­ing fares on the net­work to just ten.

Greater Manch­ester mayor Andy Burn­ham said: “The fares and tick­et­ing sys­tem in Greater Manch­ester is too com­plex, too dis­jointed and in need of over­haul.

“I speak to a lot of peo­ple who ask me ‘why can’t we have a sys­tem like Lon­don?’

“It’s a fair ques­tion, as any­one who’s trav­elled there knows just how ahead they are when it comes to fares and tick­et­ing.”

It is un­der­stood TfGM plans to re­lease in­dica­tive fare struc­tures when it puts the pro­posal out to con­sul­ta­tion.

●● Pro­posed new tram fare zones, re­leased by TfGM

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