Are we about to witness the death of cash?
That may be slightly premature, but London's black cabs have announced a big step forward and it means passengers won't be hindered by only having cards on them.
Passengers will be able to pay for any journey using solely credit and debit cards, including contactless payments from Monday 31 October.
While many of the capital's cabbies have been accepting cards for years, cash has remained the standard form of payment. No more. From Halloween, all taxis will have to carry a card payment device, so no longer will you have to dash to a cash machine if you're thinking of hopping in a black cab.
The move forms part of Mayor Sadiq Khan's Taxi and Private Hire Action Plan, aiming to make life easier for passengers and improve safety. It also marks London cabs moving up a gear in the battle against the ubiquitous Uber (where card payments are very much the norm).
Until next year, card payment devices can be fixed or hand-held, so we may be in for a few road bumps with how erratic those can be, but from January 2017 they'll need to be installed in the passenger compartment.
It comes after an overwhelming response to Transport for London's (TfL) consultation; 86 per cent of respondents said they wanted to be able to use cards and contactless payments in taxis.
And it goes ahead despite some drivers mulling over a legal challenge over the mandatory introduction of card payments last month.
Sadiq Khan said:
I'm delighted to announce that from next Monday, everyone using our iconic black cabs will be able to pay by card, making their journeys quicker and more convenient. Since becoming Mayor, I’ve been determined to ensure we have a vibrant taxi and private hire market that provides a truly world-class service for Londoners.
While many black cab drivers already provide the service, it’s important that Londoners know for certain that they won’t have to run to the cash machine before they start their journey. Our black cabs provide a unique and invaluable service for Londoners and guaranteed card payment will be good for our black cab industry, and good for passengers across London.