Barely a single bus journey goes travelled without someone spilling coins on the floor or a bus driver kicking up a fuss about taking a £20 note. And, you know, it must be really hard for the drivers to carry their little metal money boxes around every time they get out of their seats. Well, all these problems may be a thing of the past as TfL are thinking of scrapping cash fares, possibly even later this year.
If you’ve ever lost your oyster card, you’ll know that paying by cash will cost you an extra £1. This makes the fact that only 1.5% of fares are paid for with the emergency shrapnel we all keep in the bottom of our bags completely unsurprising. But what may raise your eyebrow is that it costs roughly £10m-£15m to keep real money transactions going, leaving TfL with a lot of extra work for very little profit. But seeing as cash journeys are usually opted for in times of emergency, what will happen to all those late night travellers who can’t top-up their oyster cards? Or tourists who don’t even know what an oyster card is? The short answer is we don’t know, but TfL are in the process of discussing the logistics of the cash ban and assure us that no-one vulnerable will get left behind based on the fact that contactless payment via bank cards and ‘drivers discretion’ are completely viable options. Maybe it’ll work and we’ll stop carrying cash all together just like the Queen. Or maybe there’ll be a lot of sad people wandering the streets with a very long walk home. Jude Brosnan
For more details see the Londonist.