Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has today announced the projected route for the contactless 2025 railway ticketing pilot, in line with wider aims of full multi-modal integration with its system by 2030.

TfGM has been closely collaborating with the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Great British Railways Transition Team (GBRTT) to establish the trial on services between Stalybridge and Manchester Victoria, as well as Glossop and Manchester Piccadilly, which was initially announced as part of the Trailblazer devolution deal.

The ‘Bee Network’, the proposed integrated transport network for Greater Manchester, is planning to deliver touch in touch out fares across its network by 2030.

Vernon Everitt, Transport Commissioner for Greater Manchester, emphasised that this announcement today follows discussions in March with aims for full integration by 2030.

“We’ve already started on this journey back in March. The Mayor and leaders struck a deal with the UK Government under the latest Trailblazer deal, to take more control of local rail services,” said Everitt.

“This is just a reminder of the commitments under the Trailblazer deal, which is about the integration of rail services into the Bee Network by 2030”.

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Similar to the Metrolink trams, customers will be able to touch in and out at the beginning and end of their trip, and the ticketing system will automatically calculate the fare.

According to TfGM, this will make it possible for customers to travel for the first time without purchasing a ticket in advance and offer quicker and more convenient ticketing.

Forming part of the Trailblazer commitments is the establishment of a Northwest Regional Business Unit (NWRBU), which will be set up to support day-to-day service delivery and management of the Northern and Transpennine passenger service contracts.

Everitt explained to Railway Technology how the introduction of the Bee Network across Greater Manchester’s rail network will oversee features such as “co-branding designs and standards across rail stations [such as TfL’s London Overground network], the development of a formal commercial vehicle to drive land value capture, and regeneration of Manchester’s stations”.

Rail operations on the Bee Network will come into effect after the launch of the integrated bus and tram travel ticket, which features a 20% reduction in price and is aimed at making travel in the area “‘”easier and cheaper”.

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester reinforced his commitment to the integration of trains across the Bee Network and stated how further discussion is still yet to be made on its details.

“I would also like to put on record my thanks to Rail Minister Huw Merriman for his commitment to working with us to pilot a new way to pay on trains that will ultimately enable us to integrate certain key rail services in Greater Manchester into the Bee Network,” said Burnham

“That is why we need to look again at how public transport is funded in all parts of the country and we will be bringing proposals forward to government and opposition parties during party conferences later this year on just that.”