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It’s easier to pay for tram travel with contactless

  • Touch in with your card or device to start a journey, touch out when you finish your journey
  • We’ll automatically charge you the right adult fare for your trip, day or week, so you only pay for what you use, up to a daily or weekly cap.
  • There are other ways to pay which may offer better if you:

Here’s how it all works.

How to pay with contactless

Contactless logo

Have a Visa, Mastercard or Maestro card with this symbol?

Then you can use contactless right away. Just use your card, phone or even watch to pay as you go.

A person using their smart watch to pay for their tram using contactless

Touch in, touch out

When you start a journey, touch in using one of our smart readers.

Then when you get where you’re going, touch out. (If you change trams between, there’s no need to touch in or out at that tram stop).

Make sure you use:

  • the same card or device for all your trips to benefit from daily or weekly caps
  • a different card for each adult – family travelcards from the ticket machines on stops may offer better value for those travelling with children
  • one card at a time. Take it out of your wallet so you charge the right one.

Check for the green tick

If your card has been accepted, you’ll see a green tick like this:

A card reader showing a green tick with the text 'accepted for travel'

If it hasn’t, you’ll see a message like this:

A card reader showing a red cross with the text 'not accepted for travel'

If that keeps happening, you will need to pay another way. Try a ticket machine or the Bee Network app.

How the fares are worked out

You don’t need to keep track of where you’ve travelled or what zones you’re in. We’ll work it out from where you’ve touched in and touched out. And we’ll automatically charge you based on our most up-to-date fares.

For one day

If you take one trip, we’ll just charge you for that trip – between £1.40 and £4.60 depending on how many zones you travel through.

If you take several trips, we’ll cap what you pay at our daily travelcard prices for adults this will be between:

£2.70 and £7.10  Anytime travelcard  If you touch-in to start any journey between 7am and 9.30am on a weekday 
£1.90 and £4.90  Off-peak travelcard  All other times depending on the zone(s) you have travelled through. 

For a week

If you travel more than one day between Monday and Sunday, we’ll look back through your journeys and charge the best-value fare for the week.

So long as you’re touching in and touching out for each journey, you’ll never pay more than a 7-day travelcard price for the zones you’ve travelled through – up to £31 for all zones.

For travelling early: the early bird bonus - exclusive to contactless

Set that alarm: if you can avoid travelling between 7am and 9.30am, Monday-Friday, you’ll pay off-peak prices.

How the early bird bonus works – Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays)

Example one:

  • touch-in at 6.50am in zone 4 and touch-out at 7.30am in zone 1
  • touch-in at 5.10pm in zone 1 and touch-out at 5.50pm in zone 4

You pay £4.90 - the off-peak 1-day travelcard price for zones 1 to 4 - because you haven't started any of your journeys between 7am and 9:30am.

Example two:

  • touch-in at 7am in zone 4 and touch-out at 7.30am in zone 1
  • touch-in at 5.10pm in zone 1 and touch-out at 5.50pm in zone 4

You pay £7.10 - the anytime 1-day travelcard price for zones 1 to 4 - because you started a journey between 7am and 9.30am.

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.

Incomplete journeys

If you touch in, remember to touch out at the end of your journey (you have up to 2 hours to complete a single journey). If you don’t:

  • Your journey will be incomplete (you have up to 2 hours to complete a single journey)
  • we’ll charge you £4.60 – that’s our maximum single fare
  • this journey won’t count towards your daily or weekly cap
  • the next time you use contactless with a smart reader, you’ll start a new journey.
    So if you’re using a phone or smart watch, check your battery before you travel. Also, do not touch in and out at the same stop. Because we won’t know where you’ve been, we’d charge £4.60 for an incomplete journey.

And if you forget to touch in – or it didn’t work but you still travelled – you will be liable to pay up to £120 for the Metrolink penalty fare.

Ticket inspections and penalty fares

During ticket checks, present the card or device you used to touch in to the inspector’s ticket reader when asked. If you haven’t touched in before starting your journey (or you used a different card), we’ll charge:

  • £60 to the card you present to the inspector or
  • the full £120 penalty fare.

Don’t chop and change

If you use a device like a smartphone, it’s worth knowing that we see a ‘Device Number’ – not your card number. So when you’re showing your payment method to the inspector (or touching in or out), don’t switch between card and phone. Use the same thing every time.

It’s all in our terms and conditions, but if you wish to appeal then please fill in this form.

Everything else to know

If the trams are disrupted, you can use a local bus where Metrolink ticket acceptance is in place (or replacement bus service) instead. Check our website or X (formerly Twitter) for details at the time of disruption.

  • As usual, if using contactless, touch in at the tram stop at the start of your journey, and touch out at the end. Don’t touch in and out at the same stop – this won’t cancel your journey.
  • Show your contactless card or device to the driver
  • Call us on 0161 244 1000 if you’re not able to touch out – give it 24 hours for our systems to update, so we can see all touches on the smart readers.

If you’re taking a train, you’ll need to buy a ticket. Keep this ticket and call us on 0161 244 1000 for help with payments. (For example, if you’re due a refund.)

Yes - download an online statement to see everything you’ve been charged.

Yes – you can see your tram journeys, check charges and get statements online.

You can look up journeys for the past 12 months and download statements, including:

  • the total charges for each day and week 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)

If you can’t find the information you need, use this form to get in touch. Or call 0161 244 1000.

Aside from a physical debit or credit card with the contactless symbol, you can pay through a mobile wallet (like Apple Pay or GPay) using:

  • your phone
  • a smart watch
  • any other NFC device with a mobile wallet installed – for example, a tablet.

We accept Mastercard, Maestro, Visa and VPAY. Our readers do not accept American Express.

Please note, we are aware that some wearable payment methods including some rings do not provide users with details of the associated account details. We do not recommend that these devices are used for travel using contactless on Metrolink. Whilst the device will work for travel, without the account details we cannot provide support in the event that there are problems.

It depends on the situation.

TFGM.COM/CHARGES – you’ve paid us for your journeys
TFGM.COM/REFUNDS – we’ve refunded you for something
TFGM.COM/UNPAID – you’ve paid an outstanding charge from an earlier date
TFGM.COM/STANDFARE – we’ve charged you £60 because you didn’t touch in
TFGM.COM – something else (call 0161 244 1000 if you don’t know what)

If you’re using a Mastercard, you’ll see a 10p charge occasionally, and the first time you use it on the tram. That’s just an authorisation from your bank – it’ll be reversed. And the same thing happens with Maestro cards, except it’s £20.

Yes – plenty of contactless cards from outside the UK work for pay as you go on our readers: Mastercard, Maestro, Visa, VPAY. You might pay an overseas transaction fee, though.

If you’re not able to touch in, that might be because:

  • our reader is broken. Try another and tweet us at @BeeNetwork
  • all our smart readers are down. Buy a ticket from the machine or our Bee Network app
  • it’s a new card – you sometimes need to make a chip and PIN transaction before contactless works
  • there’s not enough money in your account. Top it up or call your bank
  • your card isn’t contactless. Check for this symbol: Contactless logo
  • it’s an overseas card we don’t accept
  • your card is damaged or has expired
  • we’ve stopped accepting your card for some reason – like unpaid fares or unusual travel.