I Want My G.M.T… (Get Me There)

Transport for Greater Manchester unveils new Oyster style travel card

TfGMOysterClone
Not an exclusive peek at the future design but then again, who knows?

Details have emerged over Transport for Greater Manchester’s Oyster Clone. Eschewing the single word animal names of Merseytravel ITA and Transport for London, Transport for Greater Manchester have elected to call their equivalent ‘Get Me There’. It is aimed that TfGM’s name would ‘do what it says on the card’, albeit by bus, Metrolink and local rail services.

At present, transferring between modes incurs a financial penalty. ‘Get Me There’ aims to be a modern equivalent to the ClipperCard and season ticket, though along three modes of public transport. For example, a passenger from Dukinfield could either board a direct bus to Manchester, or catch a 346 to Ashton then continue their journey on the Metrolink or Northern Rail’s service to Victoria or Piccadilly. And at no additional cost for switching modes, like Londoners do with the Oyster Card.

It is expected that Transport for Greater Manchester’s scheme would be more complex and intelligent than the London system. Whereas the Oyster card is based upon 21 year old technology, it aims to better accommodate the TfGM boundary’s multifarious fare structures.

It will also replace the existing Senior Citizens’ and Concessions Plus cards, albeit with the appropriate concessions available. Get Me There is likely to use the ITSO standard, as per present concessionary permits. Concessionary rates will continue to apply throughout England as well as Greater Manchester, though this may change in the next five years. ‘Credit’ will be topped up at any shop or TfGM Travelshop through PayPoint or by means of contactless credit and debit cards, and be linked to a smartphone.

At present, there are no clear references as to the bus boundary points. East of the M60 thinks they are likely to use the Greater Manchester Combined Authority for young passengers and the System One boundary for adult Get Me There cardholders.

Moves toward Get Me There’s implementation starts next year with the Metrolink. By 2015, bus and rail passengers too may benefit. As well as offering a seamless multi-modal journey experience, it aims to reduce boarding times, especially on Greater Manchester’s bus network.

Even so, one question remains: how would passengers on cross-boundary routes outside the TfGM bus boundary benefit? (Even more so on the 125, Bolton – Preston and 184, Manchester – Huddersfield routes). The London system discourages payment on board with single fares considerably higher for non-Oyster card holders.

So far, the idea has won praise, though there has been some quibbles about its name. Then again, Get Me There could easily be abbreviated to GMT, which also reads…

Greater Manchester Transport.

Irony or great coincidence? It could mean Greater Manchester’s Transport as well as the late lamented operator of orange and white buses. For the romantics…

Gary Meets Tracey.

Or, if you’re sick to death of the Manchester Victoria to Todmorden train being overcrowded…

Give Me Trains.

We await its launch with great interest. For the time being, our fellows at Transport for Greater Manchester have made a natty little video eulogising the joys of our Oyster Clone. Enjoy:

S.V., 17 June 2013.

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