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London buses to scrap cash fares

03 February 2014  |  11238 views  |  4 London bus

Bus-hopping commuters in central London will no longer be able to pay for their fares with notes and coins from the summer, as Transport for London announces plans to ditch cash in favour of Oyster cards and bank debit and credit cards.

A recent public consultation, which sought customers' views on proposals to withdraw cash fare payments, attracted over 37,000 responses.

Only a third of respondents agreed with the proposal to remove cash fares, says TfL, although three-quarters admitted that they do not themselves pay cash fares on the bus.

Leon Daniels, managing director for TfL Surface transport says: "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."

He says cash fares make up just one per cent of bus journeys - down from around 25% a decade ago.

Since launching on the bus network in December 2012, over eight million journeys have now been made using a contactless payment card.

With the acceptance of contactless payment cards to be extended to London Underground and London Rail services from later this year, the use of cash is expected to continue to fall.

"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," says Daniels. "It costs £24 million 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."

Comments: (4)

Bo Harald
Bo Harald - ZEF, Transmeri, Demos, Real Time Economy Program - Helsinki Region | 03 February, 2014, 11:21

This is great. Nondigital payments belong to the past.

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Brett King
Brett King - Moven - New York | 03 February, 2014, 18:04

I'm with Bo here. Hong Kong scrapped cash more than 10 years ago, it is about time London buses evolved into the present. Now if only we can get the NYC subways to take the step

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 04 February, 2014, 08:05

Ditto the Trams in Helsinki.  You do get the option to pay by SMS however...

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 05 February, 2014, 10:24

This is a good milestone, well done. I hope everything is in place for tourists that are mostly cash traverlers.

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