back to article Tell the public how much our tram tickets cost? Are you mad?

Transport for Greater Manchester, the northern UK city's transport authority, has refused to publish its ticket prices on the basis that telling the public how much they have to pay for riding the trams would "prejudice the Metrolink service". The transport regulator was responding to a Freedom of Information request for next …

  1. TechnicalBen Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    This sounds fair...

    Unlike the title to the article, I do think I agree with them. Don't discriminate... ask for all of them to provide price details!

    1. Blotto Bronze badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: This sounds fair...

      @techben

      All of them being the other providers that do already publish their fares online already?

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          Re: This sounds fair...

          "ask for all of them to provide"

          yeah , also their competitors dont fall under FOI durisdiction

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: This sounds fair...

            "yeah , also their competitors dont fall under FOI durisdiction"

            I wonder if that's true? Most, if not all, public transport operators are working under contract of one form or another to provide services, many of which are subsidised with [local] government money so may well fall under certain FOI obligations.

            1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

              Re: This sounds fair...

              Only organisations that are defined a Public Authorities are subject to the FOI.

              The actual definition of which organisations are defined as a Publich Authority is here: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/36/schedule/1 (it's easier to start with the "original, as enacted" view rather than the one with all the amendments.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This sounds fair...

      Is that all the other competing Tram operators?

    3. TechnicalBen Silver badge

      Re: This sounds fair...

      I'll be honest here. I was nit picking at the Tram Companies nit pick, that said it was unfair for them to provide this info in advance, by pointing out we could also ask others to do so?

      No idea why that garnished so much negativity and down votes. Perhaps a joke icon was better, but sarcasm does not always work that way... or not sarcasm, and saying it would be nicer if all companies provided more info...?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bit of background in case anyone is interested.

    The Metrolink was built with public money and is run by a private company. (Why?)

    They initially looked at expanding the network by introducing a congestion charge like London inside the M60 (motorway ring road), needless to say they didn't get away with that one.

    They expanded anyway and froze fair increases while the work was underway due to lots of disruption in the centre of town.

    That freeze is gone next which is why they aren't giving the fares away, it's been reported it's going to be up to 4% increase per year till at least 2020 and after that in line with inflation.

    It's already expensive and if you have a look at their twitter you can see it never runs on time and is always delayed. I use it once a fortnight on average Sept-May and I've already had to use my car instead once.

    1. localzuk

      4%? I wish our local bus service tickets went up like that. First increased passes by around 80% recently, and normal tickets by about 30%.

      Happened to coincide with the bankruptcy of the only other bus company operating here.

    2. katrinab Silver badge

      The private company in question is 60% owned by Keolis. Keolis in turn is 70% owned by SNCF who are owned by the French Government.

      Most of the "private" companies operating in the UK rail market are actually owned by other governments. Stagecoach (+ Virgin) and First Group are genuinely privately owned companies. All the others have at least some foreign government involvement.

      1. Sam Jelfs

        Of course, it's why our train service here in the Netherlands is fast, on time, and (comparatively) cheap :D

        1. Florida1920

          Of course, it's why our train service here in the Netherlands is fast, on time, and (comparatively) cheap :D

          Cheap? Hell, it's free ! I bought a weekend return ticket Amsterdam-Utrecht and never had to show it to anyone. Could have done the ride for nothing. Loved the Netherlands, BTW.

          1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            I bought a weekend return ticket Amsterdam-Utrecht and never had to show it to anyone.

            This is because employing ticket inspectors is expensive but also inefficient, especially on commuter routes. Spot checks that encourage people to buy tickets are sufficient for most people.

    3. gskr
      Facepalm

      Additional information - there are a bunch of card readers at all the tram stops that a sensible person might assume are part of some sort of oyster card equivalent system.

      In actual fact the company that was tasked to deliver the scheme was sacked by TFGM after wasting several years and a huge amount of money. Now they are kindof up and running using a very crippled scheme. The cards (which you have to apply for and then have posted to you) can only be preloaded with individual (bus) tickets / passes (bus or tram) bought in advance (that are equivalent to the range you might be able to buy from a bus driver) There is no means of just putting money onto the card and having it work out and deduct the cost of your travel automatically - no sir- because despite the fact London has managed to do just that for over 14 years its beyond the wit of the those in charge of Manchester's public transport. No single tickets can be used for multi-mode transport. Many different bus companies operate different routes, and sell their own day/week passes (that cant be used on each other, or the tram). The few multi-mode passes available are too expensive to be worthwhile for most people, and some of them are only available from travelshops (of which there are a grand total of 2 in Manchester) To load individual bus tickets you need to go to a newsagent or a Travelshop.

      There's a whole bunch of other craziness around this scheme, the extent of which makes it a massive waste of time for post people. Needless to say its a disaster in its current form. Read https://startupsventurecapital.com/a-beginners-guide-to-using-my-get-me-there-manchester-s-hilarious-attempt-at-reinventing-london-s-70a6d1dde246

      So does it surprise me a question as simple as "What does it cost for a tram ticket" is too hard for TFGM - unfortunately... no

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Sometimes stupidity helps.

        We went from a simple "drop paper ticket into box by driver" to a super-cyber electronic transit system.

        It would save $3M/year on fare dodging and be outsourced to a private company, and only ended up costing $50M more to install than they claimed and about $20M/year more to operate.

        It also required a GPS signal and data link when you tapped in or out at the start/end of the journey. - to work out the fare. Which in the underground bus station only took a minute or so - for each passenger on a 100seat bendy bus.

        The solution was to make the entire system a single zone, priced at the old rate for the shortest journey. The rationale = the loss in revenue was less than the cost of operating the new system, - so a saving !

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          It also required a GPS signal and data link when you tapped in or out at the start/end of the journey.

          This is what is so infuriating about many public transport systems: the illusion that the ticket price should be related to the length of the journey. Doing this dramatically increases the complexity and attendant bureaucracy with little advantage for the system except political expediency of those who rarely use the system. Costs are driven by providing a universal service including to out of the way places at unsocial hours, benefits are less idiots in cars…

          Most PTEs (public transport executives) in Germany and elsewhere steer well away from such nonsense and generally offer, simple zonal tickets with huge incentives to buy a season ticket for the area where you live. If you can get > 50% on season tickets you can rely on occasional spot checks to remind people that paying something towards public transport isn't such a bad idea.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @gskr

        I forgot about that particular balls up.

        Trains aren't much better either, running at stupid timetables early evening and Northern Rail still using diesel trains from 1958 (might be a slight exaggeration but not far off)

        "Maybe the new Mayor will sort it" I say with a completely straight face...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I think the oldest will be about 35 years old approx in the Manchester network, 42 years old on the East Coast Mainline but some trains are pulled by locomotives from the 1960's.

      3. Warm Braw Silver badge

        London has managed to do just that for over 14 years

        London has the powers to do it because it alone can contract the bus companies that run its routes.

        Tyne and Wear used to have an exceptionally well-integrated transport system with a zoned fare system and cross-ticketing between different modes of transport. Successive governments abolished Tyne & Wear and then deregulated bus services outside London. Similar things happened in other areas.

        The residual transport body (Nexus) attempted to use what regulatory powers it has and failed because the hurdles essentially favour the private bus operators.

        Consequently we have a similar situation in which there are oyster-like cards that serve very little purpose apart from storing operator-specific season tickets. I recently travelled on a bus where the driver was unable or unwilling to sell a connecting ticket despite both routes having the same operator. You can't blame the local transport authorities for this, their powers were deliberately undermined by central government as part of their antipathy to leftish councils operating buses as a public service.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: London has managed to do just that for over 14 years

          "Tyne and Wear used to have an exceptionally well-integrated transport system with a zoned fare system and cross-ticketing between different modes of transport. "

          Oh $deity yes, I miss the days of the TWPTE when a zoned (or better an all zone) pass basically covered any and all public transport within the county boundary, including the Tyne ferry and even British Rail (was it still BR then?) on the main line from Newcastle to Sunderland (Metro now goes there too). There were other, private, bus companies such as the red Northern Buses and whatever those dark navy blue ones were and even they took the passes. And timetables more or less matched at the various central hubs and Metro stations so you weren't waiting around for ages for connections, barring delays. Now, it's all so mis-matched but luckily my job now doesn't involve public transport in any way.

      4. keithpeter
        Coat

        One pass to rule them all

        "The few multi-mode passes available are too expensive to be worthwhile for most people, and some of them are only available from travelshops (of which there are a grand total of 2 in Manchester)"

        Birmingham and West Midlands: network card (all zones) costs £109/month from many newsagents and travel-shops with discount for 12 months direct debit. That gets you on most buses (only the small number of Arriva services coming in from Warwickshire won't accept the network card), local trains and our tiny but growing tramline.

        What is your definition of 'too expensive' for multi-mode tickets in Manchester by comparison?

        PS: we have partial oyster type thingies in several forms. Buses only at present. Depending on how they decide to add the trains onto the swift cards it might be better for me.

        Coat: timetables.

    4. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      That's as maybe but TfGM is a public body. Whatever, it's a mockery of FoI when bodies get to decide what they release or not.

      I only use the tram occasionally when I'm over but I've found it to be a lot more reliable since the second city crossing was introduced. Now what they need to is reroute from Piccadilly Gardens along London Road instead of the slow slalom via Aytoun St…

    5. Hans 1 Silver badge
      Meh

      The Metrolink was built with public money and is run by a private company. (Why?)

      All profitable units of a state are privatized, usually at a bargain for the purchaser, usually friend or family from politicians, this economic system is called Neo-Liberalism, was brought to the US by Reagan and Thatcher in the UK.

      The consequences of which are increased state debt, in the end, only taxes to sustain the state.

      The excuse for this is the idea that private enterprise can handle profitable units better than the state, keep prices low (sic) ... how much is a bus ticket, a train ticket, or, say, an underground ticket in the UK ? Compare to France ... I can travel from the Eastern outskirts of Paris to the Western outskirts of Paris for 1.10 euros (underground) ... I can travel to Paris from Marseille (400 miles!!) for 25, in just under 3 hours.

      Now, why can private enterprise keep prices low ? Shareholders and top brass, easy, the proles, they are often outsourced, ALWAYS underqualified and underpaid, top brass and shareholders are greedy scum.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        The excuse for this is the idea that private enterprise can handle profitable units better than the state, keep prices low

        Not really, the argument for state-built but privately run infrastructure is mainly one about differing goals and cashflow. Public transport may have other desirable returns other than financial ones for the state (less traffic means fewer accidents, less pollution means fewer days off sick, less traffic means more efficient business which means better tax takes, etc.). But also the state can afford to take a much longer view of the returns and issue long term bonds to finance it. Jokes like Dell's 30 year bonds are very unusual in the private sector which generally looks for returns in 2-5 years.

        However, when it comes to running businesses, state companies often have a very poor record due to unclear aims and frequent political meddling. France is full of such examples (SNCF is widely considered to be a money pit). Public regulation and private provision can work quite well (Sweden and Switzerland provide examples) as long as regulators have enough power, ie. not like the rail system in the UK, which really has proved to be a gravy train for operators with no downside (Southern Rail…).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Not really, the argument for state-built but privately run infrastructure is mainly one about differing goals and cashflow. Public transport may have other desirable returns other than financial ones for the state (less traffic means fewer accidents, less pollution means fewer days off sick, less traffic means more efficient business which means better tax takes, etc.). But also the state can afford to take a much longer view of the returns and issue long term bonds to finance it.

          But there's the problem, isn't it? the state does not get a fair financial return on whatever they sold off.

      2. ckm5

        I can travel to Paris from Marseille (400 miles!!) for 25, in just under 3 hours.

        IF the system works, which these days seems hopelessly broken. I visit my mom every few years. She lives near Dole.

        In the past, it was pretty easy to get a TGV from Paris to Dole in the afternoon and the cost was roughly 75 euros each way. Travel time was about 1.5 hrs.

        The last time I went, there were no afternoon trains and the only evening TGV running was fully booked. Via a combination of other trains, it cost me > 100 euros and took ~6 hours. Which was awesome after a 17 hour flight.....

        The French train system used to be great, these days, not so much. It's shockingly expensive, more expensive in many cases than air travel in the US, and so many trains have been cancelled that getting from A to B is nigh impossible unless you book six weeks in advance (which negates elegant convenience of train travel...).

        And when I was in Paris last fall, a Metro ticket was 2.50 euros, not 1.10.....

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        All profitable units of a state are privatized, usually at a bargain for the purchaser, usually friend or family from politicians, this economic system is called Neo-Liberalism, was brought to the US by Reagan and Thatcher in the UK.

        And once they have a monopoly, they raise prices far more than the state would have.

        Let's not forget making some units profitable after privatization, such as prisons. Private company x finds out how much a state pays to house 1 prisoner, says they can do it for $x cheaper, build new prisons (or take over existing public ones for free), hire minimum-wage guards, forget to hire medical staff (or offer such low wages nobody will take the job), figure out how to provide "food" the cheapest, then reinvest some of their profit in campaign contributions to judges who love maximum sentences.

        Just waiting for police forces to be completely privatized next.

  3. Redstone
    Devil

    Taking this to its logical conclusion..

    ..you won't be able to buy a ticket, 'cos if you did, you would know how much the ticket cost. Result: competitive advantage gone in a flash!

    1. Redstone
      Happy

      Unless..

      ..they start to issue a kind of Schrödinger ticket...

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: Unless..

        ...or a Heisenberg ticket, where you can know your destination, or the price, but not both.

        1. keithpeter

          Re: Unless..

          "...or a Heisenberg ticket, where you can know your destination, or the price, but not both."

          Flann O'Brien touch there, very nice. And bicycles.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    curious

    I wonder if the fare is algorithmic and they have to print off all possible combinations as an official record generating a dictionary sized folder which needs to be sat on a shelf somewhere. It would disappointing to turn up to the office and be handed only a couple of pages of A4.

    While you meet with the odd/frivolous/cuckoo FOI request and equally baffling response it can be used for important things like trying to find out how much a public organization has spent on legal advice, how many flexible hours contract employees they have or rent for its central London buildings and so forth

  5. Matthew Smith

    Eh?

    Eh? Al the prices are clearly there on the Transport For Greater Manchester website, (tgfm.com). Or is the article really about the coming increase in prices? Thats not what the headline says.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Eh?

      RTFA.

      The transport regulator was responding to a Freedom of Information request for next year's tram ticket prices, which are due to come into force in January 2018.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Eh?

        for next year's tram ticket prices, which are due to come into force in January 2018

        So they've beeen asked for next years business plan, whch they decline to provide on the grounds that it might give their competitors an advantage? Doesn't seem that crazy to me.

        How would, say, Dell react if Lenovo called them and asked how much next year's laptops were going to be selling for?

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: Eh?

          Where the 'Dell vs Lenovo' analogy breaks down is that if TfGM are Lenovo, who is Dell? They don't have a direct competitor, because they are the only tram system operator in Greater Manchester. Their prices should therefore reflect the cost of running the service (including salaries, rents, maintenance, etc.), plus a reasonable profit for the shareholders. Why any of those things should be a secret, or indeed relevant to how competitive they are is a mystery to me. Unless, of course, that 'reasonable profit' component is not so reasonable.

          1. tiggity Silver badge

            Re: Eh?

            Perfectly reasonable for someone to want to know..

            May be a factor in them deciding to buy / keep using a car or use the network for commuting?

            If offered a badly paid job, may make a difference as to whether job affordable (chances of getting benefits system to take into account large expense of fares (big amount in relation to low wage jobs) are sadly very slim )

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Eh?

            They're the only tram system operator, but not the only public transport operator in Greater Manchester.

            This isn't hard people. Are the competing operators (stagecoach etc) publishing what their prices will be in 2018? If so, so should Metrolink. If not, they shouldn't, for the reasons they gave.

            1. Blotto Bronze badge

              Re: Eh?

              @AC

              basically they don't want to publish in case they start a price war (now days can mean either lowering or raising the price)?

              They are the only tram operator, they are competing against buses.

              TfGM owns the Metrolink network, controls the price of tickets, and plans future developments.​

              http://www.tfgm.com/Corporate/Media_Centre/Pages/facts_figures.aspx

              The price rises have already been agreed by TfGM

              http://www.tfgm.com/Corporate/media_centre/Pages/News.aspx?articleId=1277

              There are a number of bus operators that already compete amongst themselves, keeping prices low & the price is not regulated by TfGM. It really doesn't matter if they've published their 2018 prices or not as "TfGM has no say in the times, routes and fares of these services."

              http://www.tfgm.com/Corporate/Media_Centre/Pages/facts_figures.aspx

              maybe have a read of what's going on in Southend to gain some perspective.

              http://southendnewsnetwork.com/news/volvo-4x4-driver-manages-to-straddle-all-four-lanes-of-the-m25/

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Eh?

          Because Apple didn't tell you how much the upcoming iPhone will cost, did it? Or Lenovo (or whatever) never announced new models and their prices a couples of months in advance?

          And they aren't a a public service.

        3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Eh?

          "So they've beeen asked for next years business plan, whch they decline to provide on the grounds that it might give their competitors an advantage? Doesn't seem that crazy to me."

          How much of an advantage is it when the prices are due to be enforced in less than three months and so will almost certainly need to be published no later than mid-December, less than two months away?

    2. Blotto Bronze badge

      Re: Eh?

      @mat smith

      The article explains thus

      “The transport regulator was responding to a Freedom of Information request for next year's tram ticket prices, which are due to come into force in January 2018.”

  6. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Wankers.

    Wankers. Wankers. Wankers. Wankers. Wankers. Wankers. Wankers. Wankers. Wankers. Wankers. Wankers. Wankers. Wankers. Wankers. Wankers. Wankers. Wankers. Wankers.

    Sorry; nothing else is currently passing through my mind than that. Wankers.

    1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

      Re: Sorry; nothing else is currently passing through my mind than that.

      Then why am I now thinking about crisps?

      1. phuzz Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Sorry; nothing else is currently passing through my mind than that.

        "Then why am I now thinking about crisps?"

        Perhaps you're dyslexic?

        Dyslexics Untie!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sorry; nothing else is currently passing through my mind than that.

        Then why am I now thinking about crisps?

        You're dsyelxic ?

    2. DJO Silver badge

      Re: Wankers.

      A bit unimaginative.

      May I suggest you use the first line of Plaistow Patricia by Ian Dury.

  7. Jason Hindle

    It's true - we have the worlds most bonkers ticketing system in Manc

    Imagine living in a city where they have an Oyster/Octopus type card, with the most ridiculous name imaginable*. Imagine then not being able to simply top that card up and use it anywhere**. Or where the card works on buses and trams, but not the train. Imagine still having to buy separate tickets for bus, tram and train, in spite of this card. Imagine a city where contactless (including Apple/Android Pay) works on some buses, but not others. Imagine Manc!

    The only good thing about it is that the city ended up firing a company with a reputation of declaring dying people fit to work, because it turned out they were also incompetent at delivering IT systems.

    * It's called My Get Me There. Ok, I suppose they could have called it Noel or Liam. There is an NFC card, and there's an app, but the app doesn't use NFC and works with tram tickets only.

    ** And it's for season tickets only, and quite useless for ad-hoc, point to point trips.

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: It's true - we have the worlds most bonkers ticketing system in Manc

      That particular balls-up was carried out by ATOS. Clearly the people they declared fit to work on this IT project were not.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's true - we have the worlds most bonkers ticketing system in Manc

        When did AToS get booted from that one?

        I only ask because I was chatting to someone who was on that project late last/early this year and he definitely hadn't been booted off?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      My Get Me There card

      should be read as Might Get Me There card

  8. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    can, er, inspect the Official Fares Tables "by appointment at TfGM's Trading Office between the hours of 0900-1700"

    In a filing cabinet in the basement next to a sign saying "Beware of the leopard" ?

    1. Steve K Silver badge

      Yes - like it said in the article....

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        ah yes . my bad .

  9. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Data point from (the other) Boston

    I commute into the city by train. In a stunning outbreak of common sense, the "T" has made my monthly pass RFID card ($318/mo) good for unlimited travel on subway and bus in the city. Which is a Good Thing, because, although I enjoy walking the 1.5 mi to work and back every day, it becomes less enjoyable when it rains/snows.

    Now, we do have other problems (the French company, Keolis, that actually runs the commuter rail system is working on a tight budget with old equipment and outages are, if not frequent, periodic) but this seems to be a good deal. The $70/mo parking fee at the suburban train station, less so, given that it's the only place in the area, with the exception of the other train stations, that charges for parking. Still, at $400/mo, of which my company subsidizes $200/mo, it's cheaper than driving in and parking, and there's no traffic on the train (except for the occasional numpty who tries to dispute ownership of the tracks, with predictable results...and a multi-hour wait while they clean him off the front of the train)

    Now, if they could only figure out how to send you ONE card, instead of my having to order a new one every month...and the train conductors don't even use the RFID, they physically LOOK at the card, which is imprinted with Zone, month and year...

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Data point from (the other) Boston

      Still, at $400/mo, of which my company subsidizes $200/mo…

      That's eye-wateringly expensive for Europeans but the point still stands: priced correctly and operated well and many people will prefer public transport. In Europe subsidies are almost through tax so that they're not subject to the whims of employers and park + ride schemes are almost always free to encourage their use.

      Here in Düsseldorf (a bit smaller than Boston) my monthly ticket costs around USD 70 and lets me travel with the family in the evening and at the weekends (and take my bike!) in a area considerably bigger than Boston.

      1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Data point from (the other) Boston

        @Charlie Clark

        Trust me, it's mind wateringly expensive for me as well, considering my company moved from 10 miles outside the city, where we had a free parking garage! It cost me a tank of gas a week to commute. If I drive to the new place, I pay highway tolls both ways, around USD6, then USD20 to park. Plus fuel. So the train is a slightly better deal.

        The way the charges are figured, seems to be relative to any other mode of transit. So the train is priced comparably to the cost of tolls and parking, and parking is the same cost everywhere, except at the airport, where it's more, of course!

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Data point from (the other) Boston

        "That's eye-wateringly expensive for Europeans but the point still stands: "

        ...and the employers $200 subsidy would be classed as a "benefit in kind", ie part of the salary and therefore taxable as income tax. Better than nothing, but in real terms, only $160 subsidy :-(

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    she's only following orders!

    "Common sense" was not in the job description advert she applied to, so WHAT DO YOU EXPECT?! :D

  11. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

    Perfectly reasonable.

    You wouldn't want to give a competitive advantage to the trams that go up and down Blackpool promenade so they can move to Manchester and undercut you on the Eccles to Old Trafford route.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Blackpool Tram in Manchester

      Please... Especially one of the double deckers.

      Wonderful photo opportunity.

      Would piss off City Hall no end as well.

  12. Clockworkseer

    "British cities that have tram networks (London, Edinburgh and Nottingham)"

    Y'all forgot Sheffield.

    To be fair, everyone else does.

    1. EddieD

      Edinburgh doesn't have a tram network, it has a tram line.

      A very, very expensive tram line.

      That was took nearly half a decade longer to complete than advertised.

      That was badly laid and had to be dug up and repaired before it could be used.

      That was so badly thought out that in spite of advice from many parties was laid in such a way that it crosses cycling lines in a very awkward fashion which has necessitated some odd road markings. If you want to see the fun that the council had trying different things out, use the history settings.

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Edinburgh has half a tram line. They did lots of digging things up along Leith Walk to lay the rest of the tram line, buy never managed to actually do it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Edinburgh trams

          Yes, Edinburgh managed to spectacularly mess up the implementation of its tram system by grossly underestimating the complexity of finding and moving utilities out of the way in old city streets, and by foolishly wanting to make a too early show of things by having too soon a target date to have track laid in the city centre (rather than doing the sensible and easier thing of starting at the airport and laying track inwards from there), but despite all that the existing line is well used (often standing room only at busy times) and is an important part of the city’s transport infrastructure.

          In fact, it’s looking hopeful that the other half of the planned original line (from the city centre to Leith, passing through some of the most densely populated parts of the city) will soon be authorised to go ahead. With the utilities already moved out of the way on the route, the track laying should be the relatively easy part, and hopefully this time the Council will have learned not to interfere unnecessarily, and leave it to the professionals.

  13. Simon Millard

    Love the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy reference

    1. Grease Monkey

      The lights had probably gone.

      So had the stairs.

  14. David Harper 1

    "Anyone wanting to look up in advance how much their journey might cost can, er, inspect the Official Fares Tables 'by appointment at TfGM's Trading Office between the hours of 0900-1700'."

    Presumably in a cellar, in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet, stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying “Beware of the Leopard”?

    (With apologies to the late great Douglas Adams.)

    1. James Cullingham

      FFS RTFA

      ... please

      1. Ian Emery Silver badge

        Re: FFS RTFA

        True, but they all missed out the fact the lights were broken, and the stairs down to the basement were missing.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes that joke has already been made, once in the article itself and in a previous comment, which also had a reply stating it had been mentioned in the article.

      Do keep up.

  15. The other JJ

    A beginner’s guide to using My Get Me There:

    Manchester’s hilarious attempt at reinventing London’s Oyster Card.

    An entertaining read that describes more of the Kafka-esque policies of TfGM:

    https://startupsventurecapital.com/a-beginners-guide-to-using-my-get-me-there-manchester-s-hilarious-attempt-at-reinventing-london-s-70a6d1dde246

  16. John70

    Heard at work the tram fares are going up 6%

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I travel for free!

    I strap on a pair of rollerskates, cling to the back of the bus/train/plane by my buttocks, & time my release so I can use a pole-like object to swing gracefully to a stop at my destination.

    No ticket, no problem, & no having to talk to the crazy guy in the next seat whom keeps inviting you to stick your hand in his pants or the funny lady that keeps talking to her invisible cat in the next seat.

    1. Roj Blake Silver badge

      Re: I travel for free!

      You are Frank Spencer, and I claim my £5!

  18. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Poorly handled

    I guess "Senior Paralegal" is another name for sacrificial goat or lightning rod. The easiest dodge would have been to simply state that the new fare schedule will be released on Dec 1 or some other date as it was still under formulation/review/approval/whatever. To say that they aren't going to release it for competitive reasons is bonkers.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Poorly handled

      "I guess "Senior Paralegal" is another name for sacrificial goat or lightning rod. "

      Ah, thanks. I always wondered what a paralegal was. Up till now I've only ever heard the term on US TV shows and assumed it involved parachutes or some sort, possibly made of gold.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Old trains

    I believe that the oldest trains on the rail network, are on the Isle of Wight line, being recycled 1938 Tube stock, from London.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Old trains

      The Tyne & Wear Metro is still not only running the original fleet built for the inception of the system, even the two original prototype trains are still running. AFAIK they are all estimated to still be in service up until at least 2025. Not as old as the Isle of Wight line, but still...

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seriously. Who gives a flying f about the structure of tram ticket prices for a northern city. Is this a joke?

    1. Pedigree-Pete
      Mushroom

      Who gives a flying f about the structure of tram ticket prices for a northern city.

      Possibly those living in and having to commute to/from said Northern City.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I already know what next year's prices are...

    Too bloody much.

    TfGM needs to get their shit together, public transport in Manchester is sodding awful, it's nigh on impossible to complete a journey to anywhere other than central Manchester or a satellite town from Central Manhcester in one hop.

    That wouldn't be so bad if they'd got a joined up system where one travel pass would work on all services but no, deregulation has meant that you can either walk a couple of miles or pay double to use bus/tram services from competing providers which makes a six mile journey take 2 hours each way.

    And the cheeky sods are trying to say that commuters in cars are the biggest cause of lost working hours.

    Maybe if there was a public transport system that cost less than running a private car and worked efficiently enough that it wasn't faster to use said car then perhaps there'd be less congestion?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I already know what next year's prices are...

      Oh and to cap it all, half the f&£$%^g buses were on strike yesterday and will be again in a week or two, apparently they took issue with being asked to drive buses and deal with the public or something...

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