Cashless London buses - the world’s not your Oyster

26 June 2014

oyster swipe Looming TFL plans to make London buses cashless have come under fire, after a recent report found that 2,115 passengers were left stranded every day last year because of problems with their Oyster cards.

If your card runs out, gets nicked, or ends up down the back of the telly, London bus drivers are not inclined to joyfully wave your through with a smile. You are walking, mate.

And the damning new figures from the London Assembly Green Party show that the transition from cash to cards probably isn’t going to be seamless.

London buses will no longer accept cash from July 6th. Meanwhile, Boris has tried to calm things down by tweeting that ‘We will be extra understanding if your card has run out.’


TFL have also introduced ‘One More Journey’, which entitles you to one free trip if your Oyster card has run out. But although critics agree that’s a step in the right direction, they still think there’s a higher chance that people will be stranded.

Darren Johnson AM said: ‘There are over two thousand Oyster Cards a day which are actually reported as stolen, lost or no longer working, but the number of people who suddenly find themselves without a functioning card is likely to be even higher.’

However, TFL say that less than one percent of bus journeys are paid for using cash. Leon Daniels from TFL said:

‘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.’

'Refreshed guidance.' ie: don’t kick the old lady who doesn't even have a bank account - let alone a contactless debit card - off the bus too hard...

TOPICS:   Travel   UK News


  • bob
    "the transition from cards to cash" I think that should read "the transition from cash to cards"
  • Inspector G.
    There are many countries where you have to buy tickets in advanced from newsagents and drivers don't take cash. Londoners moaning again.
  • bob
    Drivers in my area are already pretty understanding even with blatant blaggers so I think this should go OK.
  • dvdj10
    You can use a contactless card to pay on the buses too...
  • Sophie
    This is an awful proposal and is an irresponsible way to save money - especially considering that TfL have a mountain of unclaimed public money laying dormant on unused Oyster cards already worth £60M. Vulnerable people who do not qualify for a freedom pass, or who do not present as having a vulnerability will be the most affected by this move and will be put at risk, especially at night. Not everyone has a bank account that allows them to whip out a card to get on the bus. More importantly the rising number of homeless people will effectively be cut off from the network. London's buses are a public service and should not exclude those who want to pay with real money - cash is a legitimate method of payment - legal currency. Let's not forget that although we keep being reminded that 1% use cash - this represents 60,00 journeys EVERY DAY. Sign the petition calling on Boris Johnson and Peter Hendy to reverse the decision to remove cash fares form buses. Let us pay with money for our public services.
  • BusWanker
    There are bank accounts available that need only ID. You don't even have to be credit worthy, as there is no credit /overdraft, that do offer contactless functionality. The excuse of not having a contactless card isn't one that washes with me. An investment of around 1 hour to open a bank account, and then a person will save £1 per bus journey, that ROI will soon be returned, and the end user saves money. Why would someone WANT to pay £2.45 a bus fare, rather than £1.45 per bus fare. You can easily top up an oyster with 5p if that's all you need, but if you have no cash, then you're still not getting on the bus in the first place.
  • News P.
    [...] Jaguar ad banned for being reckless bitterwallet/vroom Cashless buses are a problem bitterwallet/oyster In debt to keep up with the Joneses [...]
  • CZ
    In my country you need to buy tickets in advance, from machines at the stop, news-stands, shops etc. You can ALSO officially buy it from the driver, at DOUBLE price - Although I`ve never seen it happen yet - wonder why?
  • Jan
    What a joke and ignorance by our fellow european friends from the island. aI cannot pay with my contactless card as TFL says only "UK issued cards" are allowed. So with my German credit card I am lost. Last time I travelled to London, I landed in Heathrow in the late evening, tired as I was I took a taxi to the hotel and next morning I got up, went to the bus stop, paid the driver and took the bus to my destination. Is this now a thing for the past? Am I now supposed to go all the way to the Heathrow tube station to get a damn ticket for the next day? And how am I supposed to buy it for the next day, I've never seen that functionality in the machines If a German teacher wants to travel with his group of children by London Bus, he simply can't because first of all he or she has to find a tube station and buy a single group ticket, then head back to the bus stop and get all the kids in - how inconvienint is this? Do you think any teacher will carry 10 kids to the tube station, get a ticket and then back to the bus? Hell no, they'll have them walk. Fair enough, you did not want to join the Euro. Up to you, now you live with the consequences (higher inflation rate than the rest of us). But do you want to throw away your money now to give the banksters better control over you?

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