London buses set to stop accepting cash fares from next year

Marion Dakers
TRANSPORT for London wants to axe cash payments on the city’s buses from next year, though user groups and politicians have sought assurances that the proposal will not leave passengers stranded.

TfL estimates that less than one per cent of journeys, or 60,000 a day, are paid for in cash. Yesterday it asked the public to comment on the plan to withdraw cash fares from 2014.

The transport body said that moving to Oyster and contactless cards only would save £24m a year in banking and security spending.

Passengers who run out of money on their Oyster card could make one extra bus journey before needing to top up, TfL added.

“[We] would be concerned about the impact it would have on visitors to London and vulnerable members of society,” said a spokesperson for London TravelWatch.

“It could also make things more difficult for passengers who live in outer London where it is not always easy to find somewhere to top up your Oyster card,” he added.

Val Shawcross, Labour’s transport spokeswoman in the London Assembly, said the idea “would work provided TfL ensures they give customers an alternative safety net”.

“I have asked TfL to give a guarantee that no vulnerable customers would be refused from continuing their journey if the facility to pay with cash is taken away,” she added.