Millions of bus passengers in Greater Manchester will benefit from cheaper fares from today with the introduction of a new smart ticketing scheme that works across bus companies and the region. The ground-breaking scheme is one of the largest in the UK outside London and is the result of collaboration between more than 30 bus operators through industry body Greater Manchester Travelcards Ltd (GMTL), the organisation behind the System One brand, in partnership with Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM).
Hang on in there. If you actually search for a Travelcard, say for an adult one day "rover", a significant list of options comes up.
But there is very little concrete information.
And the picture of a typical bus user is a bit scary!
Hermaphrodite goths will be spotted in their droves travelling round Manchester on the buses.
Be that as it may, it would appear, after lots of detailed on-line research, that the Manchester Smart card only stores basic adult and junior 1 day, 7 day and 28 day products and nothing else. It is nothing more than an electronic version of the previously available cardboard or paper Travelcard for 1, 7 or 28 days, adult or child with a discount. Presumably the discount is to encourage you to use the new plastic but it is hard to see how it is such good news when you can do exactly that same with an existing Travelcard.
Customers will be able to load the new products onto widely available smart cards issued by bus operators, including StagecoachSmart or by TfGM ...
Why would they want to pay twice? Perhaps it just means using the plastic to store the new rediuced multi-operator fare.
... including igo passes for young people other concessionary passes, and a "get me there" smart card. Passengers then touch in at smart readers when they board the bus to validate their travel.
An "identity" card allowing reduced price travel for young people.
But the new "wunderkind" card is very limited. It can't be used on the trams; it can't be used on the trains and Adult plus one (Child) or Group tickets are not available or discounted. It can't be loaded on-line or, it seems, on the buses for longer periods. Extensions to the tticket types available is promised "for the future".
So whatever happened to the plan to launch a Manchester version of London's Oyster (with which, incidentally, it is not compatible!)
The local press summarises the débacle.
The aim is still to create a system where one smartcard can be used across buses, trains and trams - but a new timeline has to be figured out.
So and over-hyped launch for something that isn't very smart and isn't very new.
Meanwhile, all over Europe, you can by day tickets valid on bus, tram, train and metro for just one fixed price.
So why not here in the UK? In Manchester, even?
Any answers, Transport for Greater Manchester?
Bus day tickets:-
Tram day tickets:-