NORTHERN Rail is changing the times customers can use off-peak tickets in Manchester.

The changes take effect from Monday, September 8, and mean off-peak tickets can no longer be used at peak times during weekday evenings on local rail services in Greater Manchester and some associated routes.

Customers who currently use off-peak tickets during the evening peak will either have to travel earlier, later, or buy an anytime ticket.

Richard Allan, commercial director, Northern Rail said: “The majority of customers who travel at peak times, such as those with season tickets, Traincards and County Cards, will be unaffected by these changes but we want to make sure that those who are know about what is happening.”

“We have consulted extensively with local stakeholders and with Passenger Focus on the detail of this change, which is part of our new franchise agreement that was announced in March.”

From Monday, September 8, Off-Peak Day, GM Rail Ranger, Daysaver tickets (train and Metro, train and bus, and train, bus, metro tickets) will no longer be valid on weekdays on any services in the Greater Manchester area between 4.01pm and 6.29pm.

The changes apply to all rail services, not just those operated by Northern, on these routes and between these times.

The changes are being made after the Department for Transport asked Northern to look at several options to help reduce subsidy as part of its new franchise agreement.

The change to off-peak tickets is the only option that has been taken forward and will be used to reduce the cost of the railway to taxpayers by reducing subsidy to Northern.

In addition to the changes to off-peak tickets, the franchise agreement includes commitments to invest in more customer information systems, better retailing facilities and environmental initiatives.

The changes will also apply for journeys beyond the Greater Manchester area as far as

Alderley Edge via Stockport or Styal; Burscough Bridge; Buxton, Warrington via Birchwood or Newton-Le-Willows.