Whenever I’m in a hurry and I’m using the tram system I seem to arrive at the station just as the tram is arriving. Miss it and I have to wait another 6 or 12 minutes for the next useful one to arrive. Before getting on you need to have your ticket. I’ve seen people  taken off the tram, details taken, and fined £50+ on the spot for a £3 fare. It happened to a guy who chanced it at Exchange Square this morning. He saw inspectors getting on the tram, got off and walked into more inspectors on the platform. I’ve seen the city police there for backup as well. 

Back to me, who is a good boy. I miss the tram because there’s a queue for the ticket machines, one of the machines is down, I can’t find my card quick enough, I can’t find the cash…. So I’ve decided to download the ‘Get Me There’ app so I can buy tickets on my mobile phone before I even leave home. First you download the app through the tram system’s website and your App Store. You can see it on the following picture. It’s the teal coloured one with ‘my’ on it…

You then have to go through the registering with it and connecting your bank card to it. It took about 10 minutes but, once done, you never have to do it again. And they assure us it is secure and I’ve never heard of anyone having a security problem with it. All that done you click on the app and the NQ hipster guy, with a couple of his buds, appears…

He disappears and this screen appears. You can choose your ticket. A one off from one station to the other, a day ticket, a weekly pass or a monthly season ticket. There may have been other options. Once it’s been OK’d with your bank you get confirmation of your purchase and you’re good to go. Your ticket is on your phone.

If you are asked, like I was this morning at Exchange Square, to produce your ticket, you click in the link and show them this. If your phone is out of power or has a cracked screen you may end up paying that unwelcome £50+ so check your battery life before you leave home. The ticket tells you what the time is and how much time you have left on it…

The time alternates with a word of the day. PEGS was today’s. It tells the inspector that the ticket is valid for today. Presumably they change it daily…

I was really impressed with the system. I arrived at the tram station and stood waiting for the tram watching people search for money, cards, stand in a queue, swear at the machine that wasn’t working while I just boarded the tram. 

In a few weeks we will be voting for Manchester’s first elected Mayor. He/She will be the most powerful, provincial politician heading up an organisation that runs the most important city outside of London. One of the things that they will be doing is bringing all the transport in the city under a single body like they do in London. That done they will extend this system all over the city onto the buses and suburban trains as well and you can travel all over the Greater Manchester area by just waving your phone.

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