PASSENGERS using the Shaw and Crompton tram stop could face higher travel prices with the introduction of a proposed new zonal fare structure for Metrolink.
And the plan put forward by Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham to place Shaw in a separate zone to the rest of the Borough has been described as “barmy”.
Residents are now urged to put pressure on transport bosses to keep the Linney Lane halt in the same zone as other areas of the town.
If approved, the zonal fare structure will be rolled out in early 2019.
A report to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority says the introduction of four travel zones will lead to “a significant simplification of the current fare structure”.
Stops at Shaw, Newhey and Milnrow will be placed in outer zone four. Derker will form the boundary of zone three.
Transport for Greater Manchester bosses reveal the new structure will reduce the number of fares available per product “from 8,556 (the number of point-to-point combinations) to just 10”.
They add: “The introduction of a zonal fare structure would facilitate greater transparency of fares and allow the removal of historic anomalies in the current fare structure across Greater Manchester.
“The proposal introduces four concentric, ringed, fare zones and is largely designed around existing underlying fare bands which have been introduced incrementally.”
Passengers will be charged one fare for travel within a single zone and a different fare for travelling across one or more zones.
However, OMBC Opposition Leader Cllr Howard Sykes has urged caution over TfGM’s new pricing model.
“Common sense says that Shaw and Crompton should be in the same zone as the rest of the Oldham borough,” he said. “This is just barmy.
Cllr Sykes who represents Oldham on the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee (TfGMC) said: “I think we can all welcome in principle a simpler fare structure, but the devil will be in the final detail.
“But we face a whopping 19 per-cent fare increase over three years despite the tram network being in massive profit and also failing to collect significant cash from those who choose to avoid paying.
“It is unclear whether these proposals will reduce any of these costs, and it will be disappointing if they do not, as a huge fare increase by a fifth will be a tremendous extra financial burden for many local passengers.
“Prediction is that these changes will be used to mask that massive 19 per cent fare increase.
“The Mayor says that passengers enjoy ‘journey quality’ when we have seen an increase in anti-social and criminal behaviour, including several vicious attacks at tram stops, and poor operational performance on the Oldham line,” stated Cllr Sykes.
“These are the issues that need addressing first, along with our promised direct link to Piccadilly, the principal mainline station for Greater Manchester.”
Cllr Sykes added: “Shaw and Crompton will be placed in Zone 4 when the other stops in the borough will be in Zone 3.”
“This will mean that residents in Shaw and Crompton will pay significantly more than those in the rest of the borough to travel into Manchester or to travel into Oldham town centre for leisure or to work.
“It will be cheaper to go to Rochdale than Oldham.
“It will also cost the hundreds of people who use it to travel to work in Shaw more as well.
Cllr Sykes is also disappointed by the lack of consultation with councillors before the plan was unveiled.
He said: “Like the general public, I only saw these proposals when they were published.
“It is disappointing that the Mayor of Greater Manchester did not trouble himself to first consult the councillors who represent the 10 districts in the conurbation on the TfGM Committee; even though they are charged with oversight of Metrolink matters.
“This is typical of the increasingly top down approach from the Labour Mayor rather than bottom up.
“I am only glad that at least there will be some public consultation, and I urge everyone who has an opinion to voice theirs.”