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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.


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