Do We Need Cash Fares on London Buses?

TfL consults as fewer than 1% of fares are paid in cash

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Transport for London (TfL) is launching a public consultation seeking customers' views on proposals to withdraw cash fare payments on London buses.

Since the introduction of the Oyster card in 2003, and the launch of contactless payment cards on London's buses last year, fewer and fewer passengers are using cash.

This year cash fares will make up less than one per cent of bus journeys - down from 25 per cent in 2000 - and TfL is now putting proposals to passengers that would see cash fare payments on London buses ending in 2014.   

Transport for London says the majority of those still paying cash are doing so because they discover their Oyster card has insufficient credit after boarding the bus. Oyster pay as you go and contactless payment cards offer cheaper fares and TfL say that other benefits including faster boarding times and savings generated for reinvestment in the transport network.

With the recent introduction of contactless ‘wave & pay’ cards this number is expected to fall even further.

Paying with Oyster or a contactless payment card guarantees the cheapest fare, currently £1 less than a cash fare.

Opponents of the move highlight safety issues particularly after recent cases in which vulnerable travellers were stopped boarding a bus because they didn't have credit on their Oyster cards. It is feared that these cases would rise further if it was not possible to pay by cash. Also it is claimed that the move would discourage use of public transport by occasional visitors to London.

The Public Consultation closes on 11 October 2013.


August 20, 2013