Tuesday 19 January 2021 1:57 pm

Transport for London drops plans to make all stations cashless

Transport for London (TfL) has today dropped plans to make all of its underground, overground, and DLR stations cashless.

Last year the transport operator proposed plans to make all ticket machines across its network cashless as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

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But after lobbying from campaign groups like London Travel Watch, it has elected to shelve the plans.

“We will however keep under review what the appropriate payment options should be on our network, as the way people pay for their travel continues to change”, TfL added.

In response, Emma Gibson, director of London Travel Watch, said: “We’re delighted that TfL have decided not to go ahead with their plans to stop taking cash at all stations across the capital.

“Their proposals would have left a large number of people in London reliant on newsagents to top up their Oyster cards using cash but our research has shown that many London Underground or DLR stations don’t have one nearby or they may not be open when passengers need them.”

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According to the group, there are 260,000 people in London who do not have a bank account.

A TfL spokesperson said: “After engaging with our stakeholders, we have decided not to expand our temporary measure of making ticket machines cashless to remaining Tube and DLR stations, or other stations on our network, at this time. 

“We will instead take time to reflect on the issues raised throughout our engagement. The temporary changes made to station ticket machines earlier in the pandemic will remain in place, and we will continue to monitor and respond to any concerns raised.”

However, TfL said that it would not yet reinstate cash payments at the 200 stations where it has temporarily postponed them due to the pandemic.

Gibson added that London Travel Watch would continue to put pressure on TfL to bring back cash payments across the network as soon as possible.

Liberal Democrat assembly member Caroline Pidgeon, who had campaigned on the issue, hailed the decision.

“As Travelwatch powerfully demonstrated there are many stations which do not have a newsagent or convenience store nearby, so TfL’s plans would have posed ongoing difficulties for people topping up Oyster cards”, she said.

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“The initial changes were a mistake.  They came about without public consultation or proper consideration of the consequences for some of the most excluded people in London.

“TfL should now go further and re-instate cash payment facilities at 200 underground, DLR and overground stations where changes were made by stealth last Summer.”