Bus pass smartcards are go

National Concessionary Travel Scheme bus pass smartcardAhead of next weekend’s big change to concessionary fares, Stagecoach Manchester will turn on the “smart” functionality of senior citizen and disabled bus passes this weekend. They’ve created a handy webpage detailing how to use the smartcards – put your bus pass on the reader on top of the ticket machine and it will tell you whether you can travel for free or not depending on the day of the week and the time of the day you’re travelling.

Martin blogged about the introduction of Stagecoach’s new ticket machines in June 2009, so it’s taken over a year and a half for the first smartcard to start being used. They’re not the first operator in Greater Manchester to start using the national bus pass as a smartcard: we know that Rossendalebus and other Lancashire-based operators have been doing this since 2007 given the early introduction of the Nowcard bus pass within that county. Cheshire-based Network Warrington have also been registering bus pass smartcards for the past couple of months. We’d expect other bus operators to go live soon (if they haven’t done so already) as closer scrutiny of concessionary fares comes into effect – but some may need to upgrade their current ticket machines.

There’ll be a post about where we’re at with the new concessionary fare scheme and associated fare increases (oh yes) after the weekend.

About James McCollom

Web geek and public transport user
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19 Responses to Bus pass smartcards are go

  1. Rob says:

    Good to see progress being made. Stagecoach have announced their revised fares: £11.50 for a Megarider and £3.70 for a Dayrider.

    Plus they’ve released their fare tables, which are quite a hefty document – prehaps they need to develop a web calculator?


    • Shaun says:

      Looks like Stagecoach will have remove their message about fares have been frozen since March 2009 that they on some of their buses.

      • FedUpBusUser says:

        Thats quite right.
        A week seems like a bit of short notice for increasing fares.
        They gave well over a months notice before there last fare changes and ironically some of the fares actually went down by 10p and now there being put back up.
        The Mega-riders and Day Riders aint too bad though. I was expecting £12 and £4.00, however the 5p thing could become somthing of an issue.

        Me thinks next Monday will be a nightmere for us all, not just concessionary passengers.

  2. Good to see the smartcard scanners have been activated.

    You will also find that East of the M60 has already done a piece on the new concessionary fares system entitled ‘The Concessionary Fares Budget’. It includes case studies, though the prices stated need updating as it went out a day before System One’s increases were announced.

  3. Shaun says:

    And the SystemOne tickets are going up too:

    *Adult Bus Saver Weekly: £19.00
    *Adult Bus Saver Monthly: £68.00
    *Adult Bus Saver Annual: £710
    *Young Person (16-21 yrs)/ Student (16-26 yrs) Bus Saver Weekly: £14.25
    *Young Person (16-21 yrs)/ Student (16-26 yrs) Bus Saver Monthly: £51.00
    *Young Person (16-21 yrs)/ Student (16-26 yrs) Bus Saver Annual: £530
    *Junior (16 & under) Bus Saver Weekly: £9.50
    *Junior (16 & under) Bus Saver Monthly: £34.00
    *Any Bus DaySaver (Peak): £5.40
    *Any Bus DaySaver (Off-peak): £4.80
    *Group DaySaver: £10.00
    *DaySaver plus One: £6.80
    *Buscard Extra Weekly: £7.40
    *Buscard Extra 28 day/Monthly: £29.60
    *Buscard Extra Annual: £350

    The good news for under-16s is a new day ticket for all buses for £2.70

    Get the feeling with Stagecoach and SystemOne putting prices up, First won’t be far behind. Could see the FirstDay ticket going up to £4.30 in line with their West Yorkshire neighbours again. Avoid confusion on the 184, 589 and 590

  4. FedUpBusUser says:

    First may not have too.
    There Day ticket is £4.10 so £2.05 for concessionary seems OK, as does £8.00 for a weekly, but this might give them another excuse to hike them even higher.

  5. gail dearnley says:

    i have heard a rumour that oap concessionary fares are going up to full fare before 9.30 and half fare after. could this be true? i got this info from a stagecoach bus driver

    • Paul Sidorczuk says:

      Gail, do not always believe what you hear from bus drivers or train conductors. The ENCP has been withdrawn by GMITA from the concessionary fare scheme of GMPTE. The new regulations apply from 3rd April 2011.

      On Monday to Friday, from midnight to 0930 and from 2300 to midnight, the holders of the ENCP will now be liable to full fare, instead of the 80p charged at present. At all other times, e.g. Monday to Friday from 0930 to 2300, all day on Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays, travel will be free as at present.

      The GMPTE website has just posted a full description of all concessionary travel charges and times, which is very clear.

      Incidentally, I mentioned train conductors as one misguided Northern Rail conductor on the Manchester to Clitheroe train service last week was blithely quoting totally incorrect information on the use of the ENCP within the Greater Manchester train boundary. Northern Rail have been notified of this occurrance.

    • James McCollom says:

      English OAPs with a concessionary bus pass will pay full fare for bus journeys in Greater Manchester before 0930 on Monday to Fridays, but will continue to travel for free after 0930 (until 11pm) on weekdays and all day at weekends and bank holidays.

      It is under-16s who will now be paying half fare (instead of 80p flat fare) – sounds like details of the two schemes have gotten muddled somewhere along the line!

      • FedUpBusUser says:

        So the poor kids pay over the odds to get to school everyday while the OAP’s travel round for free all day, clogging up buses just to keep warm. CRAZY!

  6. I have had some fun trying to get my disabled pass to register on warrington buses of late. Will be interesting to see how it works in Manchester, as mine is a cheshire pass not a gmpte one.

  7. Paul Sidorczuk says:

    I see that FedUpBusUser is of the opinion that OAP passengers using the ENTCS will be travelling free all day. The current situation is that people in this category from 3rd April 2011 travelling within the Greater Manchester boundary will be now liable to pay the FULL adult fare from midnight to 09:30 and also from 23:oo to midnight instead of the 80p concessionary fare charged at present. The holders of the ENTCS pass that fall into that age group should note that the particular pass has now been withdrawn from the GMPTE scheme for concessionary travel. Many people seem still be confused by the ENTCS concessionary scheme and the GMPTE scheme for concessionary travel and appear to think they are one and the same thing, which of course they are not.

    It would have been better had both the GMITA and the Department of Transport published such clarifications of both these schemes prior to 3rd April 2011. But that would have sounded as if all concerned were aware of the differences which would not serve their particular interests.

    As a matter of interest, yesterday, I spoke to representatives of Merseytravel and West Yorkshire Metro, who cover their own metropolitan areas and both areas state that from 3rd April 2011, holders of the ENTCS pass in their areas will now be liable for the FULL adult fare in the times up to 09:30 in the morning and from 23:00 to midnight.

    • James McCollom says:

      That doesn’t tally with what GMPTE are saying, Paul – their official webpage makes no reference to paying full fare after 11pm with a GMPTE-issued national OAP bus pass, and it should also be pointed out that paying full fare before 9.30am will only be in effect on weekdays and not weekends or public holidays.

      • Paul Sidorczuk says:

        On receipt of your reply, I spoke to Stuart Johnson, the GMPTE Customer Relations Manager. He has now clarified the matter of the 2300-midnight query. He said that the regulations covering the use of the ENTCS pass nationally state that the use terminates at 2300. However, GMPTE have extended the use of this pass until midnight, so it will be valid within the Greater Manchester boundary area until midnight. Once again, confusion reigns between the two schemes.

        I did not mention Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays in my entry as these days are always free all day to users of the ENTCS passes and no changes had been proposed to this part of the ENTCS scheme and I am sorry if people unaware of this scheme may have been misled. I have checked again with both Merseytravel and West Yorkshire Metro and they state 2300 as the last time of use in both of their areas. It appears only GMPTE are extending the use until midnight.

      • James McCollom says:

        Confusing, isn’t it? I know Warrington BC allow use of cards after 11pm too. Meanwhile, Halton BC are to abolish half-price fares for residents before 0930 on weekdays too, and Durham CC withdraw free travel for residents before 0930 on weekdays and replace it with 50p flat fare. Other areas don’t allow the use of free passes on trains or trams either. The whole thing’s a dog’s dinner and has been from the start – we’d have been better off with a standardised national concessionary scheme instead.

  8. Paul Sidorczuk says:

    On 30th March 2011, GMPTE have put a full clarification on their website which is worded very clearly and should now obviate any problems.

    I note that certain areas outside Greater Manchester that used to be part of the GMPTE concessionary scheme, e.g. Glossop, Styal, etc, are stated in that clarification as now being deemed as not part of the new scheme and their definition now states as “being within the boundaries of the 10 constituant bodies of the Greater Manchester Council area. ” This has not been publicised in much depth. Has anyone on this blogsite been notified of this?

  9. Pingback: Smartcard schemes finally coming to fruition? | Manchester Transport

  10. metro worker/ticketing says:

    west yorkshire does not enforce the 23:00 rule oap+disabled travell free till end of service.

  11. Mr_Benn says:

    If generally benefitting from free/subsidised travel, it does not seem unreasonable to “nudge” OAPs to make their journeys outside of the peak morning work journey time by charging something for journeys commencing before 9.30. Unfortunately, different counties have edifferent priorities and so the charging regime will differ as do, for example, their council tax charges. Train travellers I know whose final destination falls outside of GMPTE regularly complain about the “extortionate” cost of their last few stops as compared to the GMPTE subsidised portion of their journey. They don’t complain, however, that their council tax is significantly less than mine…

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