Underground, Overground, Payment Choice is Free
Back in May 2020, all but 62 of London’s Underground stations stopped taking cash with the stated goal of helping prevent queues at ticket machines. Transport for London (TfL) has now walked back its pursuit of cashless payments in a move welcomed by politicians and pro-cash campaigners alike.
City Hall has announced the ‘vast majority’ of Underground and Docklands Light Railway stations will be equipped with machines that can accept cash payments for tickets, or to top up the Oyster cards used by many to access transport throughout the capital and beyond. Cash is also being taken once more at ticket offices on the London Overground, TfL Rail and the Emirates Air Line cable car that spans the River Thames.
With more Londoners and visitors making the most of what the capital has to offer, and the school holidays, it is important that we do everything we can to ensure public transport is open and accessible to everyone.
Alongside locals with a preference for cash, the policy reversal also recognises the Let’s Do London campaign launched by Mayor Sadiq Khan to encourage domestic tourism in London is likely to increase the number of passengers wanting to use notes and coins.
Caroline Pidgeon, a Liberal Democrat member of the London Assembly, is gratified that her campaign to keep cash for public transport in the capital has paid off.
This is a welcome announcement. For a long time, TfL’s strategy was to remove by stealth the ability to use cash. The decisions it made last year on removing cash payments were based on zero consultation with passengers and little real evidence of passenger or staff safety.
Pidgeon went on to say ‘the voice of vulnerable passengers has been heard,’ pointing out that removing the option of cash payments had serious repercussions for a wide range of passengers, from young people to those on low incomes and the estimated 260,000 adults in London who do not have a bank account.