London bus drivers will no longer accept cash payment when new measures are introduced this summer.
Transport for London (TfL) has announced a raft of changes, including allowing passengers with insufficient Oyster card credit to travel for a whole journey before they need to top up.
TfL said dwindling numbers of bus passengers using cash prompted the change, following a consultation in which it said 99% of customers already use Oyster, prepaid tickets, contactless payment cards or concessionary tickets.
Leon Daniels, managing director for TfL surface transport, said:
"The decision to stop accepting cash fares on London buses reflects the changing way that people pay for goods and services in our city, including journeys on the bus network. Paying with Oyster or a contactless payment card is not only the cheapest option, but also speeds up boarding times..."
"It costs #24 million a year to accept cash on London's buses and by removing this option we will generate significant savings which, like all of our income, will be reinvested in improvements to the transport network."
Around three quarters of responses to the public consultation came from people who indicated that they do not themselves pay cash fares on the bus.
An Oyster-approved newsagent ripped-off London commuters during a fraud which netted him £6,000. Mariathas Thevathas stole money from top-up cards over 18 months, docking a few pounds each time.
Even though Oyster users are given a receipt confirming the credit, dishonest agents can void the transaction for a lower amount and keep the difference. Transport for London investigators admit there is currently no way of stopping the practice.
You've been telling us what you think about public transport in London, and the rising cost of getting around. Get involved in the debate by tweeting us @itvlondon or going to our Facebook page.
Julian Niblick Chiu And they say they want to encourage more people not to use their cars. The London congestion charge was understood to, to some degree, subsidise London public transport and to bring prices down. But that's not happened, has it?
Megan Barry I wouldn't mind paying it if the service was good, everything seems to be going up except the quality of the service!
Shirley Melbourne If you go to these other countries, you will see that their public transportation system is much better than ours too! Something needs to be done.
More than 20 Labour MPs signed a Commons motion condemning London public transport fares, urging mayor Boris Johnson to freeze increases next year. The motion says:
Transport for London has reported unbudgeted operational surpluses for the previous three years and is showing evidence of regularly under-anticipating fares income and overestimating other expenditures
(We) call on the mayor of London to use his discretion to freeze fares at RPI (retail price index) for 2014, easing the pressure on ordinary Londoners during the current cost of living crisis.
Commuters in London are paying the highest fares in the world. The warning from MPs in today's Evening Standard reveals major cities, including New York and Berlin have cheaper single fares than the Oyster Card.