Manchester, UK

Contactless ticketing simplifies journeys for millions of passengers across Manchester

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) operates the first aggregated Pay-As-You-Go contactless payments implementation on light rail outside of London.

Today passengers simply use contactless cards or Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay enabled devices to tap-in and tap-out at the start and end of their journey. The system automatically calculates their fare, up to a daily cap, ensuring they are paying no more than the relevant travelcard. This cuts out the need for cash, queuing to buy paper tickets or downloading and having to open an app to travel.

TfGM moves millions of riders every day across its transit network covering the City of Manchester and the surrounding region. TfGM owns Metrolink, the UK’s largest light rail network, and invests heavily in the region with the long-term plan of establishing a fully integrated, high capacity transit network.

Since 2010, the number of annual passenger journeys on the Metrolink service has more than doubled, rising from 19.2m in 2010 to 45.5m in 2019. Covering 93 stops across seven lines, Vix Technology had already deployed over 500 platform validators to support the existing ITSO smartcard system, which is still supported to provide both commercial travel products and concessionary travel. In 2018, Vix was selected to deploy a new intelligent contactless ticketing system, enabling passengers to pay for travel via contactless EMV cards and smart devices.

Along with the contactless payment innovation, TfGM introduced a simple, flexible four zone system, cutting the 8,500 combinations of journeys possible between stations to just 10 zone-based fares, delivering easy to understand and better value travel for millions of passengers.

The contactless ticketing service is delivered by Vix Whisper, a cloud-based, PCI-DSS-certified solution that processes the EMV taps from the platform validators, calculates the best fare and collects payment via an acquirer and securely passes the transit-related data to the TfGM back office systems. Vix Whisper provides a simple, friction-free EMV ticketing solution specifically designed for the needs of transit agencies and operators, utilising the latest technology and security, whilst removing the PCI-DSS compliance burden from the operator.

With the introduction of Vix Whisper, contactless payments are making a real difference to passengers who are now able to use Metrolink as little or as often as they like, safe in the knowledge that their fare will be automatically calculated to be the best fare available.

Day-capping is especially beneficial to those less frequent travellers on Metrolink who buy single and day tickets, which totalled more than 11.5m in 2018, already proving valuable around major sporting events.

  • UK’s largest light rail system
  • 99 stops across seven lines
  • 46 million passengers a year