Cashless buses

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


A Harrow constituent has raised the following concerns about the plans for cashless buses, which I would appreciate a response to:

1. Bus users are being given just 4 weeks' notice. This is not adequate at all.

2. At the best of times it is easy for one to forget their oyster card, misplace it or for it to drop out. What will happen when such a situation arises?

3.It's going to mean numerous people being thrown off buses. These will undoubtedly include the elderly, frail and people with disabilities as its very easy to forget your oyster card one day or lose it. Do you think this is acceptable?

4.This means throwing vulnerable people off buses in atrocious weather or late at night subjecting people to unsafe conditions. How will the elderly get home if they lose card in the middle of nowhere?

5. It means people travelling to work will be even more at risk of being late on top of problems that exist through traffic congestions already.

6. Is it fair to force people to carry cards rather than have a choice of how you pay your bus fares?


Answer for Cashless buses

Answer for Cashless buses

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Following my decision that TfL bus services go cashless in January 2014, TfL issued an initial press release in early February. There was a subsequent press release regarding the 'go live' date of Sunday 6 July 2014 in early April. This was reported in the London press, and received wide media coverage on the television and radio.

TfL's marketing and communication campaign started in May and has significantly intensified since the beginning of June.  This campaign uses a range of media including posters on TfL's estate and at roadside locations, adverts in the Evening Standard, Metro and local regional press (including just outside London). In addition, there are on-line media adverts and digital adverts at key locations, radio adverts, details on TfL's and visitor websites and TfL's Facebook page, leaflet distribution for 'face to face' use in areas with higher cash use and at hotels and visitor attractions. There is also a drivers' information card which is being given to cash payers to inform them of the change and the alternative ways to pay for their journey and on-bus announcements.

TfL's report into the consultation on 'Going cashless on TfL bus services' published in January 2014 is available on the web 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 facility 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 hase 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.