London buses to go cashless
TfL is to stop accepting cash fares on London buses this summer, these make up just 1% of bus journeys, down from around 25% a decade ago. Over 8m journeys have been made using a contactless payment card since their launch in 2012 and their use will be extended to London Underground and London Rail services from later this year, further reducing the use of cash. A recent public consultation found that a third of 37,000 respondees agreed with the proposal to remove cash fares. Around three quarters of responses came from people who indicated they do not themselves pay cash fares on the bus.
A range of measures will be put in place to ensure a smooth transition to the new cashless arrangements. A new ‘one more journey’ feature on Oyster will be brought in to allow passengers with less than the single bus fare (currently £1.45) but who have a positive balance on their card to make one more bus journey before they have to add credit to their card. There will be 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 will be put in place to ensure a consistent approach is taken when dealing with vulnerable passengers. A public information campaign is to be launched to increase awareness of the benefits of contactless payment cards and Oyster pay as you go.
MD for TfL Surface Transport, Leon Daniels, said, ‘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. It costs £24m a year to accept cash on London’s buses and by removing this option we will generate significant savings which, like all of our income, will be reinvested in improvements to the transport network.’