All London taxi cab drivers could be required to accept debit and credit cards by 2016 under plans being considered by Transport for London.
Some drivers and operators already accept cards, but many opt not to because they’re reluctant to incur installation and running costs for card terminals.
Introducing the facility across all cabs would have benefits for both passengers and drivers, including reducing the risk of drivers being robbed and ending the need for passengers to stop off at cashpoints during their journey.
As part of the proposals TfL would scrap the surcharge currently levied when paying by card and include the average cost of a card transaction in the standard fare, meaning passengers would pay the same amount regardless of their payment method.
Making card acceptance mandatory would help close the gap between app-based firms such as Hailo and Uber and drivers who prefer not to sign up to third party services.
Recent TfL polling suggests almost 90% of users would back the move.
The TfL board will be asked at its September meeting to approve a public consultation on introducing compulsory card acceptance from 2016.
Leon Daniels, TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport, said: “We are always keen to utilise technology to improve the experience of our passengers. Currently around half of the 23,000 taxis in the capital can already accept card payments.
“We are exploring a proposal to make this a mandatory requirement across the entire taxi fleet from 2016. The proposal would also see card transaction fees considered when we calculate overall taxis fares – meaning that passengers would pay the same fare regardless of how they chose to pay.”