'Easier and quicker' - Merseyrail to launch tap-and-go contactless ticketing this year

The new system will eliminate the need to purchase tickets in advance and working out the best available price.
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Tap-and-go ticketing is to be introduced on the Merseyrail network from this autumn. As part of a £10m investment, passengers will be able to use a Metro Card linked to their bank account for their journeys across the Liverpool City Region. This is part of a two-stage launch, with bank cards and smart devices able to be used next year.

Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said it had become apparent the current ticketing system was 'no longer equipped' to meet passenger demand. The new tap-and-go system will accept contactless payments and will give commuters the best price for their journey. This will also eliminate the need to purchase tickets in advance and working out the best available price.

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The move will come as a relief to commuters who have fallen foul of errors when buying tickets, including a 19-year-old hit with a court fine despite already making a purchase. It is hoped the upgrade will encourage more people out of their cars and onto buses, trains and ferries to improve air quality and support the city region’s ambition to be net zero carbon by 2040.

The new tap-and-go facility will be available in a first phase from the autumn. The second phase will launch in 2025 and see passengers able to use their bank card, or devices such as phones or watches, without the need for a MetroCard.

Passengers will need to tap in at the beginning and end of their journey to ensure a lowest price fare promise – capped daily and weekly through the smart system. They will also still be able to buy season tickets, as well as daily and return tickets from rail stations and online via the Metro Portal.

Mr Rotheram said: “Travelling on public transport should be simple, especially when it comes to how people pay for their journey. Yet, the reality is that our current ticketing system is no longer equipped to meet the demands of a growing 21st century city region like ours.

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“I understand people’s frustrations about the current system and that’s why we’ve been working towards introducing a more simplified ticketing structure, but increasing public demand has meant that we’re now accelerating our plans. By upgrading our current paper ticketing with a new and improved smart system, we can make it easier and quicker for people to get from A to B.

“The tap-and-go, contactless system we’re introducing will unlock so many benefits for our region, removing the need for unnecessary queues, ensuring that no one spends more than they need to get around our region – and protecting revenue streams for further investment in improvements. London shows how well it can work – and I want to build a similar system in our area that makes ticketing easier, quicker and cheaper and, most importantly, works in favour of passengers, not profit.”

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