Solar-powered ticket machines for Manchester bus users

Bus passengers in Manchester can now buy their tickets before they board using new solar-powered on-street ticket machines.

The machines, manufactured by Parkeon, have been installed by Stagecoach and Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive (GMPTE) as part of a 12-month trial.

The partners are investing around £80,000 in the project, which by making it easier for customers to buy tickets in advance should speed up boarding and help services run on time.

Passengers at Manchester Piccadilly are the latest to benefit from the new technology, with the machines selling tickets to people travelling throughout Greater Manchester.

Britain’s busiest bus route – Stagecoach’s 192 service in Manchester – is among those to benefit from the new machines. Around nine million people a year - 189,000 passengers a week - travel on the route, with services operating every five minutes.

Mark Threapleton, managing director of Stagecoach Manchester, said: “We have chosen some of the busiest bus stops in Manchester City Centre and local centres along the A6 so that we can test the system fully.

“Passengers can use credit and debit cards to buy their tickets at these machines, so they will make it easier all round.”

Stagecoach, which operates around 690 buses in South Manchester, has seen the number of full fare paying bus passengers on its services increase by more than 30 per cent in the past ten years. The company has invested £21m in new vehicles in the city in the past two years.

Vice chair of Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority, councillor Keith Whitmore, said: “We want to provide passengers with a first class public transport system and this trial will help us find out if this technology is something we should look at more fully in the future. The machines aim to reduce the time it takes people to get on their bus, as they will already have their tickets. I hope that passengers will give them a go so we can test them properly and see what people think.”

GMPTE’s interim service delivery director, Michael Renshaw, said: “The machines at Piccadilly are the latest in a series of machines which also include sites in Longsight and Levenshulme. We are always keen to investigate new ways to make public transport journeys easier and more efficient, and it will be interesting to see the results of this trial.”

Further machines are planned for Stockport and Hazel Grove early next year.

The machines incorporate the latest chip and pin security technology for card payments. Passengers will be able to buy Stagecoach’s Dayrider and Megarider tickets from the machines, and System One DaySaver tickets for those needing to use two or more operators’ services.

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