Going cashless on TfL bus services
Transport for London (TfL) is proposing to go cashless on its bus services in 2014. If, after consultation, the proposal is approved the option to pay by cash will be removed on all TfL bus services.
Since the introduction of the Oyster card in 2003 and the launch of contactless payment cards (CPC) on London buses last year, more and more passengers are now appreciating the convenience and value for money these options offer. This year cash fares are expected to fall to less than 1% of total bus journeys, down from 20% ten years ago. With such low levels of cash use and the cost to TfL of providing for cash payment, alongside the cheaper alternative payment options Oyster and CPC, TfL has decided that now is the time to ask for peoples views on going cashless.
Why are we consulting?
If we go cashless we will remove the delays with cash that will benefit everyone.
Cash payers would benefit from a cheaper fare, saving around £1 a trip as they switch to pay as you go (PAYG) Oyster or CPC.
The cost of collecting such low levels of cash is high. TfL would save £24m a year by 2020 that would be reinvested into the transport network for the benefit of everyone.
By removing cash, people with an Oyster card or CPC will need to remember their card and have enough credit on it.
Paying with Oyster or CPC guarantees the cheapest fare. But if people don’t have enough credit on their Oyster card TfL is considering introducing a new Oyster feature that will allow passengers to make one more bus journey, helping them get home or to the nearest station or Oyster Ticket Stop. This negative balance on their card would be removed on the next successful pay-as-you-go top-up.
What are we proposing?
We are proposing to remove the option to pay by cash on TfL bus services in 2014.
Click here for answers to Frequently Asked Questions.
Have your say
This consultation ran from 19 August until 11 October 2013.
Over 37,000 responses were received. Around a third of respondents agreed with the proposal to remove cash fares. Around three quarters of responses to the consultation came from people who indicated that they do not themselves pay cash fares on the bus.
We have made a decision to go ahead with a cashless fare system on London’s buses from summer this year.
We have taken into account all of the views expressed in consultation responses and have used these to shape a range of measures that will ensure a smooth transition to the new arrangements.
These measures include:
- a new ‘one more journey’ feature on Oyster that will allow passengers with less than the single bus fare but who have a positive balance on their card to make one more bus journey
- 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 to ensure a consistent approach is taken when dealing with vulnerable passengers
- a public information campaign to increase awareness of the benefits of contactless payment cards and Oyster pay as you go
99 per cent of bus passengers already pay for their journeys using Oyster, prepaid tickets, contactless payment cards or concessionary tickets. The latter group represents a third of passengers and includes children and young people, older and disabled people and the unemployed. 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 for all bus users. Our research shows this change is also unlikely to affect tourists as the vast majority use a prepaid ticket, such as Oyster, to get around the capital.
- Cashless Bus Consultation Report.pdf, 1.5 MB (PDF document)