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Pay as you go with contactless

From 15 July 2019

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You can now travel by tram with contactless cards and devices using the smart readers

Travel all day and we’ll work out the total fares for your day’s journeys for you, making it even easier to get around on Metrolink. You will be charged the adult single and 1-day travelcard prices.

You’ll never pay more than the daily cap

The stops where you touch-in and touch-out will show us the zone(s) you have travelled through. From £1.40 for a short hop up to £7 for a 1-day anytime travelcard (or £4.80 off-peak) for all zones, as long as you remember to touch-in and touch-out at the start and end of each journey, you won’t pay any more!

The choice is yours

All the current ways to pay will still be available and may offer better value if you qualify for a discount or if you buy 7-day, 28-day or annual tickets.


Quick tips and things you’ll need to remember

Touch-in to begin. Touch-out at the end.

Use the smart readers on stops to touch-in before boarding the tram and touch-out at your destination. You don’t need to touch-out and touch-in again if you’re just changing trams as part of a single journey between two Metrolink stops.

If you forget to touch-in before your journey, you could be charged the contactless standard fare of £30. If you forget to touch-out, you will be charged the incomplete journey fare of £4.60 – so it’s worth remembering every time.

Card to card. Phone to phone. Watch to watch.

You must touch-in and touch-out with the same card or device for all your day’s journeys.

Avoid card clash.

To make sure your payment comes off the card you want, move it away from your other cards when using a smart reader.

You will need to use a different card or device for each person travelling. Using a ticket machine may be a better option, if paying for a family or group.


Contactless cards and devices

If your bank card issued on Visa, Mastercard or Maestro shows the contactless payment symbol, you can use it to pay as you go straight away. You'll pay adult ticket prices.
Many contactless cards issued outside the UK can be used to pay as you go for travel (overseas transaction fees may apply):
- Mastercard and Maestro
- Visa and V PAY
Check with your card issuer if you're not sure if your card is contactless or if it's rejected.

Mobile payments

Using a mobile payment to pay as you go is the same as using a contactless card.
For example:
- smartphone with a mobile wallet
- smartwatch with a mobile wallet
- other device with mobile wallet

Use one payment type for each person

If you’re paying for someone who is travelling with you, you will need to use a different card or device for each person. Don’t touch-in more than once with the same card or device, to avoid being charged an incomplete journey fare each time you touch-in.

Other tickets are still available at ticket machines on stops, as you may find that weekend or family tickets offer best value for your travel.


How to travel with contactless

When using contactless to travel, touch-in and touch-out at the yellow smart reader, at the start and end of each journey you make during the day, with the same card or device.

If your contactless payment type is not accepted, you’ll need to try another payment type or buy a ticket another way eg from the get me there app or ticket machine on the platform.

SmartReader Screens NOT ACCEPTED

When your contactless payment type is accepted, you’ll see OK on the smart reader’s screen when you touch-in and touch-out. You’ll be charged the adult fare for your journey(s), using the current published fares table, up to a daily cap.

SmartReader Screens ACCEPTED

You don’t need to touch-out and touch-in again if you’re just changing trams as part of a single journey between two Metrolink stops.

If you touch-in but don’t touch-out at your destination stop, with the same card or device, we won’t know what journey you made. If this happens, you’ll automatically pay the incomplete journey fare.


How charges are calculated

The stops where you touch-in and touch-out, during the day, will determine the zone combination(s) you have travelled through and the relevant single or travelcard prices.

You’ll be charged the adult fare for each single journey or the adult 1-day travelcard price for multiple journeys, using the current published fares table, up to a daily cap.

Provided you touch-in and touch-out (at a different stop) for each single journey, your total charges will be capped each day using the adult anytime or off-peak 1-day travelcard prices.

  • adult 1-day anytime travelcard price of £7, if your first journey of the day is made on a weekday before 9.30am
  • adult 1-day off-peak travelcard price of £4.80, at all other times

You must use the same card or device to touch-in and touch-out, so all journeys are completed and we can apply the daily cap.

Take care to only touch once, with one payment card or device, on the smart reader to avoid being charged more than once or on a card/device you didn’t intend to use. If you have multiple cards together, for example in a wallet or purse, remove the one you want to use before you touch-in and touch-out.


Incomplete journeys

Every time you touch-in, you need to touch-out at your destination stop, to complete that journey.

If you fail to touch-out at your destination stop, with the same card or device, we won’t know what journey(s) you made:

  • your journey will be incomplete (you have up to 2 hours to complete a single journey)
  • we will automatically complete it and the incomplete journey fare (currently set at the maximum single fare of £4.60) will be charged to your account
  • charges for incomplete journeys do not count towards the daily cap
  • the next time you touch your card or device to a smart reader, you will start a new journey and will need to touch-out to complete it

You can’t touch-in and touch-out at the same stop, because we won’t know what journey you made and both will be treated as a touch-in. You will be charged the incomplete journey fare, as above, each time you touch-in and don’t touch-out.

Make sure you have enough battery left in your device to complete a journey.
If you fail to touch-in to start a journey, or your card/device is not authorised for travel, you will be liable for up to £100 for the Metrolink standard fare.


Ticket inspections

You will need to present your contactless card or device for any ticket checks during your journey.

Make sure you use the same contactless card or device (you used to touch-in). If you haven’t touched-in before starting your journey, or used a different card or device, the contactless standard fare of £30 will automatically be charged to the card or device you touch on the inspection device during the ticket check.

If this card or device is not accepted by the inspection device, you will be liable for up to £100 for the full Metrolink standard fare.

See full conditions of carriage

If you wish to appeal a £30 contactless standard fare, click here to complete the claim form


Understanding your bank statement

Your bank statement will show your payments and refunds being made to/from TFGM. You may see:

TFGM.COM/CHARGES – a payment to TfGM

TFGM.COM/REFUNDS – a refund from TfGM against a previous payment

TFGM.COM/UNPAID – a payment to TfGM for an outstanding charge from an earlier date

TFGM.COM/STANDFARE – the contactless standard fare of £30 has been charged

TFGM.COM – a charge or refund to/from TfGM, sometimes not shown in full (please call 03000 035 035 if you have any questions)

If you are using a Mastercard, from time to time (and on first use), you will notice a charge of £0.10 (10p). This is an initial authorisation from your bank that validates your card. This charge will be reversed, and is not charged to your account, but it may impact your available balance.

For Maestro cardholders, this pre-authorisation is £20.


Understanding your contactless journey statement

If you’d like to see a summary of your travel charges for particular dates, please call us and we will email it to you. You will need to answer some security questions first.
This statement will include:

• details of your payment card (but only the last four digits of the card number)
• the date and time of your last payment to us
• the date and time of your last touch on a smart reader
• the total charges for each day you travelled
• a breakdown of the journeys you made, including the stop name, date and time
• details of additional charges for contactless standard fares (after a ticket inspection or unpaid fares from an earlier date)
• details of any refunds issued to your card

A touch is when you touch-in or touch-out at a smart reader with this card.

An auto touch is when you don’t touch-out within two hours and we complete your journey for you. This will result in an incomplete journey fare.

A payment refers to the total charge for your day’s travel but you may see multiple payments on one date.

• This can sometimes happen when journey information reaches our systems late and we need to recalculate the charges.
• The additional payment(s) will show the refund or charge for the difference.
• Details of journeys included in older payments are not shown but you can request a statement for earlier dates.

Our contact number appears on every email, so please call us if you have any questions about your statement.


If a tram service is disrupted, Metrolink ticket acceptance on local bus services may be put in place. Please remember to touch-in at the tram stop at the start of your journey and touch-out at the end of your journey. If you do this, any contactless journeys will continue to be recorded and charged/capped as normal.

If you touch-in but are unable to touch-out, we’ll help with any payment queries. Please call 03000 035 035 after 24 hours. This allows time for our systems to update, so we can see all touches on the smart readers.

If special Metrolink replacement bus services are running, please touch-in and touch-out at the tram stop as usual, at the start and end of your journey.

You will need to show your contactless card or device as you board a bus.

Unfortunately, you will not be able to travel using contactless on any rail services where ticket acceptance is put in place and you will need to buy a ticket. Please keep tickets and/or receipts and, after 24 hours, call 03000 035 035 for help with any payment queries.


Smart reader not working

If a smart reader is not accepting your card or device, please try another smart reader at the stop.
It’s really helpful, if you’re able to tweet us @MCRMetrolink with the location of any faulty smart readers.

All smart readers not working

If smart readers cannot accept contactless for travel. Please buy a ticket from the get me there app or ticket machine. If you touched-in but can’t touch-out, call 03000 035 035 for help with any payment queries. Please allow 24hours.

New and replacement cards

If you have a new or replacement contactless card, you might not be able to make a contactless payment until you've made your first chip and PIN transaction. This is a security measure applied by your card issuer.
Also check the 'Valid From' date to ensure it's ready to be used.

Your card has stopped working

Sometimes your card won't be accepted, even though you've used it before to travel on our services.

This could be because:

Your card issuer has declined payment

This may be because your bank account doesn't have enough money to pay for your journey.
If you’re unclear why the card was declined, you'll need to contact your card issuer. TfGM does not have access to the reason why a card is declined.

Your card works at other retailers

If you can make chip and PIN transactions with your card but it's not working for travel on our services, it may be because:

  • your card isn't contactless - it doesn't display the contactless payment symbol
  • we have stopped accepting your card because you have unpaid fares, your card has failed during a ticket check or we have detected unusual travel – please call 0300 035 035, if you need help
  • your card wasn't issued in the UK – some contactless cards issued outside the UK may not be accepted on our services

Unpaid fares

Sometimes your card may be accepted by our smart readers, but the payment is declined later by your card issuer.
If this happens:
• you've made a journey that you've not paid for
• you won't be able to use your card again to travel until the unpaid fare has been paid
• we’ll automatically make further requests to your bank and, if the payment is made, you’ll be able to use your card for travel again
• the payment could appear on your bank statement up to 30 days after you travelled
If you need help to clear an unpaid fare:
• call us on 03000 035 035 (call charges may apply)

Your card is damaged

You'll need to contact your card issuer if your card is damaged and no longer recognised by smart readers.

Your card has expired

You'll need to contact your card issuer if your card has expired.


Security and using contactless on Metrolink

Using contactless is a secure way to pay for travel on Metrolink. Our customer services team does not have access to your full card details but will ask you for the last 4 digits and expiry details, if needed to help with your enquiry.

Never provide your full card details over the phone or in emails to TfGM.