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Manchester scraps Atos contract for smart transport ticketing

Atos has been let go as the contract partner for Manchester’s Oyster-style ticketing system due to issues with delivery speeds

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has terminated its outsourcing contract with Atos to create a smart ticketing service for Manchester's transport system, dubbed Get Me There.

The Oyster-style ticket system was given the go-ahead in George Osborne’s summer budget, but has since been delayed by a series of problems.

TfGM and Atos said in a joint statement: “The parties have decided it is in their best interests to agree to a mutual termination of the contract, on commercial terms, the details of which remain confidential between the parties.”

TfGM claimed it would receive “substantial compensation” to enable it to recover the costs incurred from the failed system and allow it to develop a new system with “alternative providers”.

Digital services firm Atos was commissioned to design and build the project in 2012, and the system was meant to be in place by summer 2015, rolling out initially to Manchester’s Metrolink and then later to bus and rail.

In October 2014 the system was partially introduced to Greater Manchester’s 500,000 concessionary travel pass holders for Metrolink services, and is now used approximately 60,000 times a week.

But delays to the wider roll-out have led Manchester to claim Atos will be unable to deliver the system it was contracted to build, leading to termination of the contract.

“Atos are collaborating with TfGM to ensure that the existing services are maintained and transitioned to new providers,” said the statement.

TfGM hopes to give further information about the future of the projects over the next few months, and emphasised the project will still go ahead despite termination of the contract.

The firm explained it would be using the opportunity to look for new suppliers to help it build a new scheme that is “flexible and fit for the future”.

“The world of technology is moving faster than any of us could have anticipated, and nowhere else is this more true than with smart ticketing. Today’s smart card already looks destined to be overtaken by contactless payments and mobile apps on smartphones,” said a TfGM spokesperson. “This has allowed TfGM to bring in a range of experts to look more closely at just what customers want and how we expect their needs to change.”

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