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Monday, 3 February 2014

Going cashless

Today we are announcing that London’s buses will stop accepting cash fares later this summer.

99% of our passengers use some form of pass. The number of people paying cash is so small, yet it costs £24m a year. That is a lot of money which could be reinvested in the transport system.

Who uses cash?

During our consultation, respondents expressed concern on behalf of the following groups:

Older people: They travel free at all times with a Freedom Pass

Children: They travel free too - they need a Zip Oyster photo card aged 11 upwards to prove their identity

People on low incomes: The first to sign up to Oyster Pay As You Go since a bus fare is about £1 cheaper using Oyster than by paying cash

Tourists: Buy their Oyster cards in advance in their home countries 

Overseas business people: Many organisations who send people to London frequently keep a stock of Oyster cards for use. 

In fact, 47% of people who pay cash, do HAVE an Oyster card but with no credit on it. Many passengers have several cards! We will now make sure that there is one last ‘get you home’ facility so those with less than £1.45 on their card will get one more ride. They will also get a paper ticket message reminding them it is time to top up.

44% cited having “the wrong trousers” (or handbag). Yes they have an Oyster card but didn’t have it with them.

And as for people late at night - our rules for the treatment of vulnerable people remain the same. These will be refreshed for all staff.

The big growth market is in contactless bank cards. By the end of 2014, nearly everyone with a bank account in London should have at least one. All our buses already accept these cards, charge the same as an Oyster fare and there have been 8 million transactions to date. When we go cashless the Underground will accept them too and offer all the usual Oyster benefits - price capping and so on.

The ending of cash fares is a big step forward but is entirely driven by our passengers. With less than 1% actually using cash it is time to move on. By so doing London remains at the forefront of transport development. London was the first city with an entire low-floor bus fleet; the integrated ticketing was taken to a higher level than in any other city in the UK. We now continue staying ahead by removing cash, which not only saves the cash-handling costs but also speeds up boarding - and with the additional investment, bringing more benefits to all passengers.



  1. What happens though when children (as they all-too-frequently do) mislay their Zip card? Unlikely to have a bank card, and it would probably be with the Zip card if they did! At the moment they can usually borrow money from a friend. The amount of discretion bus drivers need to use could well get out of hand.

    1. No they don't borrow money from a friend... Really!!

  2. Contactless bank cards need to have a PIN entered every x number of transactions as a security check. If this happens anywhere else you can enter you PIN on the terminal. What happens on a bus at 2 in the morning when this happens? TfL's answer is to use another method of payment or Make a chip and PIN transaction at another retailer and try your card again on another bus journey or if necessary, contact your card issuer for advice. With cash being withdrawn the only other option is Oyster, so do you expect everyone to carry a topped-up Oyster as a back up to the contactless card? You might find a retailer open in the centre of London at 2 in the morning but you won't in the suburbs, or even at 11pm for that matter, and why should you have to purchase something unnecessary just so you can use the bus? Can't this requirement be disabled for buses, so that you can rely on your card being accepted for payment?

  3. After 8m transactions we've no had any trouble....

    1. Who's we? TfL? What about your customers though, are they actually going to complain or would they have just paid by cash up to now and sorted it out later on? Or are you saying you've had no trouble because it doesn't get rejected on the bus because it realises that you can't enter a PIN?

  4. I only use Oyster on an ad-hoc basis since I live outside London and only top up with cash as required - how will the Mayors plans to do away with Oyster tackle this requirement?

  5. Use your contactless debit or credit card supplied by your bank! That way you will get Oyster Pay as You Go fares which are nearly £1 cheaper on bus

  6. petition against cashless buses:

  7. With the 'extra' journey allowance being brought in, you say that a paper ticket will be issued as a reminder that you need to top up your card.

    How will this work when boarding in the middle on the 507/521 or middle & rear on the NBfL, as surely the printout will be issued on the drivers machine.

  8. On the 2nd May 2014 , i was riding in the " Cycle Lane " westward at Nine Elms ! Struck in the REAR , by an " Out of Service Bus " , i was thrown onto the pavement ! My rear derailleur being broken , the bike was now USELESS! Had the Police not carried me to a Bike Shop , i would have been refused travel on a BUS , as i ONLY could pay with CASH !

    When i asked the Police to discover HOW TFL proposed to help me to my destination , i was told to phone 08432221234 ! Really helpful ! Even " Harry Potter " had to use a fireplace for transport , BUT , i never heard of an accident victim being transported on a phone line !

    I had not expected to be transported to Manchester where i had Bike Parts / spare bike , BUT , i also did not expect the bus driver to come back to me and utter , " Oh you are sitting up , that's good " then wander off !

    Passing through London from the " Tour de Romandie " in switzerland , to do some business with the CBA of Oz , then onto Belfast to ride the Route of the Giro d'Italia for the 16th year , i had not expected TFL , to welcome me to London , by knocking me off my BIKE , whilst cycling in a MARKED CYCLE LANE ! Perhaps the Bus driver was late for LUNCH , but trying to pass in a " Pinch Point ( Traffic Island ) , resulted in an even longer delay !

    Currently at the Austrian address rendered to the Police and thus YOUR DRIVER , no mail todate !

    Police advised that the bus carries CCTV , when will i get this ? Is there any CCTV covering this location ? Has TFL copied it ?

    EMAIL contact required since in a few more days , i will be fit to continue riding the Route of the Giro d'Italia . Having to ride the 3 days in Nth Ireland in PAIN , was not the way i have done so , in previous years ! The pain was so particularly hard to cope with on Sunday Night , i spent the early hours of Monday Morning in Shrewsbury A & E dept !

    Failure to reply & acknowledge this comment will require Legal Action to commence ! With NO OTHER means offered to contact TFL , i have had to resort to this form of contact !

    This comment will now be " Copied & Pasted to the " Facebook Page of StopKillingCyclists "!