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August 7, 2015updated 04 Apr 2017 4:01pm

Manchester’s Oyster-style ticket system in disarray after contractor admits it ‘cannot deliver’

Greater Manchester’s transport chiefs have dropped the firm responsible for installing tap-to-pay technology after a series of delays

By Franchesca Hashemi

Greater Manchester’s transport chiefs have dropped the firm responsible for installing tap-to-pay technology after a series of delays

Digital solutions firm Atos had been contracted by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) in 2012 to design and deliver a smart ticketing scheme called ‘Get Me There’. Yet after considerable delays, TfGM announced ‘it has become clear that Atos cannot deliver the smart ticketing system as contracted’.

An Oyster-style service will still be delivered, according to TfGM, and Atos will assist during the transitional period to ensure minimal disruption for commuters.

In a statement, TfGM said: "The parties have decided that it is in their best interests to agree to a mutual termination of the contract, on commercial terms, the details of which, remain confidential between the parties, but which provide substantial compensation to TfGM in respect of the costs incurred and which will enable TfGM to develop a Smart Ticketing System with alternative providers."

Smart-ticketing is available on Greater Manchester’s Metrolink but only to concessionary card holders- of which there are 500,000. Rails, buses and trams are expected to offer the electronic payment service as soon as a new contractor can deliver an appropriate system. However, there is no suggestion as to how long this may take.

The roll out of tap-to-pay technology across TfGM comes in light of Chancellor George Osborne’s promise to modernise the region as a ‘Northern Powerhouse’.

Yet constant delays and electrification challenges on the TransPennine rail network, which runs between northern England’s major cities and central Scotland, have resulted in slow progress and unreliable services for commuters.

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