Transport for London has been urged to explain how bus drivers will deal with passengers who have lost their Oyster or Travelcard or whose card doesn’t work.
A recent decision to axe cash bus fares has prompted concerns that some passengers could be left stranded if they’re unable to pay for their journey, especially if travelling when no Oyster outlets are open.
TfL says drivers have been given guidance on how to deal with such passengers but has declined to publish details to prevent the information being misused by people seeking to travel for free.
However London Assembly member Darren Johnson says doing so would help boost public confidence in the new cashless fares system.
He said: “A lot of concerns could be dealt with if the guidelines were published, so that vulnerable people and those in distress have some reassurance.”
Mr Johnson also wants TfL to install more Oyster terminals in central London venues which are open 24 hours a day and, in the long term “to put Oyster machines at bus stops, especially in those areas of outer London without tube or rail stations.”
His call comes after TfL told him that an average of 2,115 Oyster Cards were lost, stolen or stopped working each day last year.
TfL recently introduced a new a Oyster ‘overdraft’ facility allowing passengers with insufficient pay as you go Oyster credit to make one final journey. The cost of the journey will then be debited from any future top-up.
However Mr Johnson said: “this doesn’t deal with the common and widespread problem of people either not having a card at all, or their card suddenly not functioning.”
In response, Leon Daniels, TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport, said: “Less than one per cent of bus journeys are paid for using cash. As we move towards a cash-free bus service we are making several changes that will ensure a smooth and trouble-free transition for our passengers.
“If a passenger’s Oyster card is lost, stolen or in very rare cases not working – they will be able to pay using a contactless payment card or visit our extended Oyster Ticket Stop network to get a replacement. Bus drivers are also being provided with refreshed guidance to deal with vulnerable passengers.”