Cash free buses

MQT on 2014-07-02
Session date: 
July 2, 2014
Question By: 
Andrew Dismore
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


My constituent makes the following points concerning cash free buses:

"Imagine you are in outer London, possibly late at night, beyond walking distance (which for some people is only a couple of hundred yards) from a shop which is open to sell you a bus pass, and, for example, you lose your wallet with all your cards, or you aren't carrying your cards because someone was due to drive you home and has broken down, or you have just come to London and do not know the system and your foreign card does not have contactless technology:  you might borrow three pounds from a friend, but they are not going to lend you their cards or accompany you on the bus.  How do you get home?  If bus drivers have discretion to make allowances for people in distress, those who can tell a good story will abuse the system regularly, while some deserving cases will fail to convince and be stranded".

How do you respond to her?


Answer for Cash free buses

Answer for Cash free buses

Answered By: 
The Mayor

TfL's report into the consultation on 'Going cashless on TfL bus services', published in January 2014, is available at:

This report explains that bus drivers already have clear rules and procedures for permitting passengers to travel without a valid card or ticket.  These rules and procedures have been reviewed and reinforced with the bus operators and their staff, including in the newly updated drivers' handbook (the Big Red Book).  The report also notes that TfL will continue to monitor the use of the vulnerable passenger procedure to ensure that this facility to help vulnerable people is not abused.

In terms of the other mitigation measures that TfL is putting into place before cashless operation commences on Sunday 6 July 2014, the new Oyster 'One more journey' facility went live on Sunday 8 June 2014.  This allows passengers with an insufficient but positive balance to go into negative balance and to make one more journey whilst receiving an emergency fare slip informing them of the need to top up their Oyster card before using it again.  This new facility is proving to be highly successful and TfL has seen cash use drop from its previous very low level of around 1% of all bus trips to around 0.7%.  The other means of payment is by using contactless payments cards (CPC).  Since this facility was introduced in December 2012 over 15 million bus journeys have been made using CPCs by over 700,000 unique cards, and in May 2014 CPC use overtook payment by cash and currently accounts for around 0.8% of all bus trips.