The name of Greater Manchester’s long-awaited version of the London Oyster Card was announced yesterday. It is to be called – drum roll – “My Get Me There”. And has, unsurprisingly, elicited a big fat “WHAT?” from Mancunians.
The card is part of a wider scheme called Get Me There, set to be fully operational by 2015. The card itself is not the problem. Who would object to a digital smart card for journeys and the use of mobiles and bank card to pay for buses and trams? But that name... tellingly, there is already a petition at change.org calling for a new moniker.
Local politicians were the first to give it a kicking, pointing out drily that it’s not exactly catchy. And Manchester’s commuters seem to agree. “The system sounds good,” says John Wedgwood, 25, a solicitor in the city. “It’s a faff buying a ticket at the moment. But the name is frankly rubbish. Why not go for something monosyllabic or redolent of the city?” Some locals have already suggested a more apt name – the Ryder Card, named for Happy Mondays’ singer.
Sam Harding, 26, an accountant who commutes by Metrolink tram, agrees. “It’s a bit of a mouthful. It’s a shame they didn’t go for something that made its equivalence to an Oyster card obvious. You could shorten it, of course, but then you get MGMT, which is an American band.”
The city’s transport bosses claim they consulted “in-house experts”, who advised against a snappy name; though they don’t say why this was. It certainly bucks the general trend, which has been to use animal names. London, of course, has it’s Oyster (as in “the world’s your…”). And Hong Kong went for the Octopus, with its many tentacles curled throughout the city. While Liverpool gives Manchester a run for its money in the stupid name steeplechase with, you guessed it, a Beatles-flavoured name for its travelcard. Since 2011, Liverpudlians have had to labour to work with a Walrus in their pocket.