6 July Is The Date London Buses Will Go Cash Free

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 49 months ago
6 July Is The Date London Buses Will Go Cash Free


Make sure your Oyster card is topped up: from 6 July you won't be able to pay your fare with coins.

Transport for London had already announced its decision to go cashless on buses, despite the majority of responses to its consultation being against the move. TfL argues that collecting currency is becoming inefficient — 1% of passengers pay with cash, although that equates to 24m journeys a year — and that by stopping it could save up to £130m by 2023.

We've previously listed the ways TfL will try to mitigate potential problems with going cashless (a 'one more journey' feature if you don't have the full fare left on your pay as you go Oyster, more ticket machines and better driver training to make sure vulnerable people aren't left stranded). But still: this is a significant change in the way some Londoners travel (particularly on the city borders, where Oyster isn't the dominant mode of payment) and in back-up plans for the rest of us. If you've got a contactless debit card, now might be the time to consider using it (though remember that there's no daily capping on buses at the moment).

Photo by Raphaël Chekroun from the Londonist Flickr pool

Find out more about TfL's 'One more journey' scheme.

Last Updated 10 April 2014

jay gatsby

Well, if UK Multipass rolls out by 2015 then contactless card payment for travel will become the universal norm anyway, which should ease the no doubt slightly bumpy transition noted above (See, http://www.theguardian.com/mon...


Night Buses are about to become even more fun as drunks don't realise they have to use their Oyster or contactless debit card to pay. While 1% of passengers still use cash, I still think it should be an option to pay if the Oyster packs up, especially at night.

Viv Onslow

Not great for tourists. How will they work this out?

Michael Jennings

The main issue here is what you do about tourists who board a bus, don't understand how the system works, and just want to ride the bus.

Many of them will be carrying contactless credit and debit cards that will work fine, but explaining that to them (particularly if there is a language issue) may not always be easy. Cash is the ultimately fallback system.


If we only had the possibility to top up oyster anywhere at anytime…but this is not the case! so this would be really annoying for anyone who is forced to find some place to top up…not to mention the difficulty at night.

Stuart Dean

Contactless debit cards are by no means the answer. Depending on what bus you get on you can be stood there at the front getting the "error beep" over and over again on your bank card until it finally works or you get a narky comment from the wonderful drivers TFL employ. Aside from the minor embarrassment, where does that leave people, when the machine just decides to not accept a card that's fully valid? Taking away the option of cash is utterly ridiculous.

And therefore exactly what I would expect from TFL.


What about travelers from other countries ??


living on the outskirts of London, i regularly find i cant top up past 8pm as all the shops shut and the closest top up machine is a mile and a half away. As i only take the bus if going out in the evening (past 8pm), i have no idea what i am going to do if i find i have no more credit on the card - i dont have contactless debit cards. we need more top-up machines on the outskirts if this is going to work, however TFL seem to ignore that some parts of Kent are still serviced by them...


I think it's going to take time to work out the issues but they've done it here in california but we still have some issues like being able to get one in area's late at night and only aloud so much on it and when where you paid makes mistakes and if you are charged wrong or something and are traveling and not going back that way we have been blessed the few times it's happened the bus drivers have been kind they know the differance of the regulars or young kids taking advantage to someone traveling and new and don't know much about cards or what to do so I'm sure the drivers are understanding somewhat I'm sure they are taught how to handle certain things because even when you do look ahead on a trip everything still might not be in front of you as in just went a few towns over and they had a bus stop out side the train and i'd looked ahead and no phone number on the site so i'm waiting and waiting finally when i see nothing coming I start asking and people were very kind as looking around station no new number for buses even called the one on sign was a home phone number so kind people guided me but these places should have updated info for you as you come into their town i even went down too the next bus area and no buses and no numbers so they told me to go to main road and i don't even think they had phone number for buses their so you have to wait for a bus to come and hope they have the books showing you where to go and a number for company and this is a place where there are many visitors magic mountain huracaine harbor you would think they would want you to make it safely too these places as they make their money from torists so busses ect still need a lot of work with there systems


Rachel has stated that more training not to leave vulnerable people behind. This already happens. As a bus driver I have NOW more people trying to get on without paying then people paying cash fare. And if we let someone travel TFL fine the bus company over £350 per person. So if they drop this fine. So if TFL change that it not the driver responalbilty that a passenger travel without means of travel and have more revenue inspector to deal with these passenger.


I think cash is important. What if you forget your oyster card, or are late and dunning to catch a bus, or if you don't have enough cash to buy a new oyster and load on. I think Cash should always be allowed to be used! It is silly to cut it out.

Dorthe Jacobsen

In February 2014 we grabbed a cab in Chelsea instead of a bus, as the busdriver decided to laugh at us for not having an Oystercard or realizing cash was a no-go mean. This being laughed at happened on a daily basis for 6 days, sooo not 'in your face' like for us visitors that you need the OysterCard.
But then, it may be my fault - I should have kept up with UK changes and political decisions... it is my job to keep up.


I thought they did this about 10 years ago!


This is a bad move.
The one more bus journey won't work if you have a negative balance
What if you need more than one bus home?
What if a driver refuses to give you a UFN (Unpaid Fare Notice) as they deem you not 'vulnerable'?

It's been deliberately pushed since Oyster was introduced- the cash fares have been artificially inflated for years to railroad people into using Oyster. I wouldn't be surprised if the demise of cash fares had been deliberately planned since Oyster's introduction


surely I can't be the only person in London who has registered their Oyster card and has an automatic top up? I mean it's sooooo easy!

Philip Morgan

We introduced cashless travel on the bus in Montreal and within six months they reintroduced exact cash payment The reason was tourists, absence of an Opus card and people of limited means. They were told it was a dumb idea but the short sighted transport company would not listen. It seems London has the same problem with short sighted incompetent people as Monreal.

debbie blake

I think going cash free is a brilliant idea.It gets us to stop expecting things to work out themselves and start topping up oysters to continue our journey.This should have happened years ago,and stopped fare hoppers.
Please ensure your drivers don't let us skip the fare .Its unfair to the people that have to pay.,that's why the oysters always rising fares.


I live a long way outside London and only visit the capital perhaps once every 2/3 years. I don't have a contactless debit card and don't have an oyster card. How can I make an unplanned journey on a London bus?

Tess Bryan

I just tried to top up online, and also claim my refund due to the system making an error and leaving me in minus figures last weekend. Even though I have paid the money to top up, it won't become active until I tap in at a nominated railway station, so I can't use it on the bus I need to take me to the station. What if there is no shop within walking distance. Have you seen how many glitches there are on the Oyster system daily? Just check out TFLs twitter there's constantly stations where the system had gone down, leaving people unable to tap in/out, and probably leaving loads in minus figures through no fault of their own. TFL should learn to walk before they run. It's all very well TFL trotting the "one more journey" placation down our throats every time we query this, but a lot of people need 2 buses. Or you may get home, but still need to get to a shop to top up.


TfL really needs to re-think its cashless idea. Its just going to confuse infrequent users of the bus network even more. Perhaps what TfL should do is keep cash fares, but do what's done on the continent and have one fares structure for all public transport in London (e.g.: £1,50 for one zone and £0,20 being added on for each zone), and being able to change from one vehicle to another (as long as you stay within a time limit (e.g.: 90 minutes), and having to validate your ticket by placing it in a machine when you first use it, and when you change from one route to another. Sorted!


So you've got coin of the realm and banknotes in your pocket, you want to get on a bus, and you can't. Some mindless beancounter has worked this out - daft in the extreme.


Okay but we will need top up points, specially at night!!

zeen desaeta

What tfl has not taken into account was that this further encouragement of the use of contactless debit cards will result in an increase in the number of hackers/hack cases because those such cards are easily broken into. Not only is this inconvenient for anyone's economy, it's also a threat.
I hope that this cash-free change will be reconsidered.

el bib

what about the unemployed who only get the bus if they really need too,do they have to shell out their weekly food budget on a bloody card they will hardly ever use,what about those without mobile phones or bank accounts.what if you only want to go 3 or 4 stops.it might save the regular travelling commuter money buts its a absoloute nightmare for people on a low budget who have no phone job or bank account.the only account i have is a post office account


It's a good news for the Daters! Why only for July this offer should be for the February! Because 14 Feb is the valentines day and all the Daters can get benefit from this offer not only for 6 July!

Vicki Rhodes

I think this is good that you need not to pay
cash at bus. You should have Oyster card for pay. This is good option as you
are in hurry or you do not have change then you can give card. This thing can
be applied to everywhere.