As reported in April, TfL is looking at ending the ability to pay in cash on the bus network as early as 2014. Around 1% of all bus journeys are currently paid in cash, though that equates to 60,000 journeys every day. TfL thinks it could save £24m a year by making everyone use Oyster or contactless bank cards. It is looking at the possibility of allowing people to make one journey on an empty Oyster card and makes reassuring noises about nobody being left behind if there's a possibility of them being a victim of crime, issues that are probably going to be people's immediate concern.
TfL's FAQs (weirdly, and annoyingly, in a PDF) give further information about these cash payers. 3% don't have a bank account or just prefer to pay in cash, 16% pay in cash at least once a week and 12% always pay in cash. Given that there's a £1 penalty for paying in cold hard coinage over Oyster, these people presumably have their reasons. The factoid that 10% of cash paying journeys are on night buses may also fuel the fear of being left behind. With ticket machines at bus stops being removed and contactless technology still not yet ubiquitous in people's wallets, this move to scrap cash may be too early. You can tell TfL what you think until 11 October.
Elsewhere, the London Assembly wants to know about how you use buses. TfL expects passenger journeys to rise from 2.38bn in 2012/13 to 2.45bn in 2014/15, but doesn't plan to expand the service and acknowledges it's going to have to be smarter about how and when buses run. The Assembly wants to hear about Londoners' current experiences – is your bus overcrowded? Is it being used more or less? Are there enough buses? We're not sure about the deadline for this one, so get your answers in quickly.
Photo by Arturo Ayala from the Londonist Flickr pool