Metrolink customers are being invited to have their say on how fares will change from January 2018.
Starting today (Monday 26 June), the Metrolink Fare Survey will ask customers to choose between two options for increasing fares, before a final decision is made by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) this autumn.
The increase in Metrolink fares comes at the end of a transformational £1.5 billion programme of construction that has seen the network treble in size, with new lines now running to MediaCityUK, East Didsbury, Rochdale via Oldham, Ashton and Manchester Airport.
This year saw the final piece of the programme fall into place when Second City Crossing opened offering new links and more frequent trams through Manchester city centre.
Completion of Second City Crossing means that the network now comprises a fleet of 120 trams, 93 stops across seven lines and more than 60 miles of track spanning a system that is now the largest of its kind in the UK. Last year saw more than 37 million passenger journeys made by Metrolink.
Second City Crossing was a major construction programme that took three years to complete and during that time fares have been held at 2014 prices in recognition of the impact of the programme on Metrolink passengers.
Stephen Rhodes, Customer Director for Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), said: “The money we get from fares goes back into the network – it also pays back the money we borrowed to expand the system. It also pays for day-to-day costs like drivers, maintenance and security.
“We recognised that the work to create a new line through the city would be felt by passengers and so we held off increasing fares while it was carried out.
“However, Metrolink covers its day-to-day operating costs without any public financial support. Having held fares for three years we now need to return them to the level they need to be at to ensure that Metrolink can continue to operate on a financially sustainable basis into the future.
“Metrolink fares continue to offer good value for money, particularly for season ticket holders, as well as providing an environmentally friendly way of getting around Greater Manchester.”
To keep up with inflation, fares would normally have been expected to increase each year. That’s why, as well as returning to an annual fare increase of 1% above inflation starting in January 2018, we now need to apply a one-off rise to return fares to the level they need to be at. That’s why we are offering customers two options to choose from.
The first option would return fares to the level they need to be at in one go in January 2018 while the second would see that rise spread out over the next three years.
Under both options, fares will rise every year by inflation (RPI) + 1% from January 2018, as happened before 2014.
Customers can take part in the eight-week Metrolink Fare Survey by visiting www.metrolink.co.uk/fares-survey. It’s open from Monday 26 June through to Friday 18 August.