London buses to become cashless this summer

New London bus TfL said making buses cashless will deliver £130m in savings

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London's buses are to become cashless from this summer, Transport for London (TfL) has said.

It predicts that, because of the Oyster card, the number of cash fares on buses will fall to less than 1% this year.

That compares with 20% of journeys being paid by cash 10 years ago.

TfL said it would introduce a 'one more journey' feature that will allow passengers to make one more bus trip if there are insufficient funds on their Oyster card.

The decision comes following a public consultation last year in which 37,000 people responded.

Vulnerable people

When the idea was first proposed, there were concerns about the impact on vulnerable people and the lack of places in outer London to top up an Oyster card.

To address these concerns, TfL has introduced measures including

  • Introducing a new 'one more journey' feature on Oyster that will allow passengers with less than the single bus fare (currently £1.45) but who have a positive balance on their card to make one more bus journey before they have to add credit to their card
  • 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

Lib Dem London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon welcomed TfL's changes, but said night-time journeys could be more difficult for some groups.

"I remain concerned about young people facing problems travelling on night-time buses if cash fares are completely ended this summer," she said.

"Ending cash fares might make sense on many bus routes, but I think a case for ending them on night-time bus routes has yet to be made."

Last December, buses began to accept payment via contactless debit cards.

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