Is Metrolink ripping us off?

Metrolink in Manchester map

I went to the Sharp Project today for BBC Connected Studio which was great. But I noticed something with my travel there.

I have a year travel card which allows me to go between Piccadilly Station and Media City. However my pass actually says From City – To Eccles. I assume this allows me to go anywhere between Piccadilly or Victoria and Eccles. Sounds great but today I wanted to go to Central Park on the Oldham line (Rochdale on the one above, which includes lines which are yet to be finished)

As it was outside the city zone, I decided to pay for the extra 2 stops. 2.20 pounds worth of travel. I’m sure it was the same price as buying a ticket from anywhere in the city zone including Piccadilly. In fact it would make no difference that I had a year travel card (in theory)

Ok forget the cost, what I don’t understand is why there is no zones like Transport for London? Frankly Central Park is closer to central Manchester than Media City and Eccles.

The other day I went down to Cholton and totally forgot that my year pass only covers me between Media City and the City Zone. If Metrolink had caught me, who knows what it would have cost me in a fine. But to be honest I would have argued against it because frankly its a stupid system without zoning.

My thoughts is because Metrolink choose not to add zones, they are earning money from those who have spent money opting for a week, month or year pass and do happen to go other places.

Tell me I’m wrong…?

Thanks to Chris who left a comment on my Facebook with a link to this news article from the MEN.

Metrolink set to move to new ‘zone’ ticket prices

Greater Manchester’s tram system could be split into London Underground-style zones within two years. The plan is for the new system to come into force when ‘smart’ fare-payment cards – similar to the capital’s Oyster cards – are introduced in 2014.

Tram stops would be allocated to a zone depending on how far they are from central Manchester. Fares would vary accordingly – with journeys crossing more zones costing more. The proposals were due to be discussed by transport leaders tomorrow.

A view of the zones

I knew I was right…!

Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.