London’s buses will go cash-free from Sunday 6th July, after which passengers will need an Oyster card, contactless debit or credit card or pre-paid ticket to travel.
The decision to axe cash fares was taken following a public consultation last year.
Over the past decade passengers have increasingly adopted the capital’s Oyster smartcard system which offers cheaper fares than paying with cash.
According to Transport for London, Oyster’s popularity has seen cash transaction on buses fall from 20 percent of journeys in 2003 to less than one percent last year and the acceptance of contactless debit and credit cards on buses means the number of cash transactions is likely to fall further.
The abolition of cash fares is expected to free up £24m per year in processing and banking fees which can be re-invested in the bus network.
TfL say the change “will not affect 99 per cent of bus passengers who already pay for their journeys using Oyster, prepaid tickets, contactless payment cards or concessionary tickets.”
In response to concerns raised during the consultation period about passengers finding themselves stranded, TfL will allow passengers who have insufficient credit, but who have a balance of £0.00 or higher, to make a single bus journey.
The number of Oyster Ticket Stops has been reviewed and more locations added to ensure passengers can top-up when needed and drivers have been given “refreshed guidance” on what to do if a vulnerable passenger lacks a valid ticket and needs to complete their journey.
Leon Daniels, Managing Director for TfL Surface Transport said: “As Londoners and visitors change the way they pay for goods and services in the capital I am proud that we at the forefront of that change.
“Customers will not only benefit from a quicker, cheaper and more convenient method of paying their bus fare; it will also enable us to save millions of pounds each year – which will be reinvested in further improvements to the capital’s transport network.
“We have listened to the views expressed in response to the public consultation and have delivered a range of measures to ensure a smooth transition for our passengers.
“These include the ‘one more journey’ feature on Oyster, more Oyster Ticket Stops in outer London and we are also providing our 24,500 bus drivers with refreshed guidance for dealing with vulnerable customers, which has been developed with the help of key stakeholders.”