Transport for London (TFL) has announced that London buses will no longer accept cash payments from this summer, though the exact date is yet to be confirmed.
Contactless payments using cards were first introduced in December 2012 and since its introduction there has been a steady increase in the number of contactless payment transactions. Currently, cash fares make up 1% of bus journeys (down from 25% 10 years ago).
TFL has advised that accepting cash on their buses costs £24 million per year. This lead to a public consultation into stopping cash payments which received 37 thousand responses. Three quarters of the respondents came from people who do not use cash on buses, and a third of these agreed with removing cash payments.
TFL have included some measures to assist with the transition:
- Introducing a new ‘one more journey’ feature on Oyster (TFL’s pre-payment fare card) that will allow passengers with less than the single bus fare but who have a positive balance on their card to make one more bus journey before they have to add credit to their card
- A review of the Oyster Ticket Stop network to see if additional locations can be identified, particularly in outer London
- Refreshed guidance for all 24,500 London bus drivers to ensure a consistent approach is taken when dealing with vulnerable passengers
- A public information campaign to increase awareness of the benefits of contactless payment cards and Oyster pay as you go, which offer a single bus fare for 95p less than the current cash fare
TFL states that this change will not affect 99% of their customers who currently use the Oyster pre-payment card. Those who are thought to be affected include “children, young people, older and disabled people and the unemployed”.
“The decision to stop accepting cash fares on London buses reflects the changing way that people pay for goods and services in our city, including journeys on the bus network. ‘We are introducing a range of measures, including a new ‘one more journey’ feature on Oyster cards, which will ensure that people can still make a journey and then top up their card when they don’t have the full fare. ‘Paying with Oyster or a contactless payment card is not only the cheapest option, but also speeds up boarding times at bus stops and reduces delays.” Leon Daniels, Managing Director for TfL Surface Transport
Source: Transport for London