Sunday, 29 June 2014

Thousands could be left stranded every day by cashless bus plans . . .


Thousands could be left stranded every day by cashless bus plans

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Concerns have been raised over the safety of vulnerable passengers, particularly at night

New fears have been raised over Transport for London’s plans to stop accepting cash on buses, as figures reveal over 2,000 people would have been stranded every day last year – because their Oyster cards were lost, stolen, or stopped working.

The Mayor defended next month's plans to make buses cashless in today's #AskBoris Twitter Q&A

The London Assembly Green Party discovered that in 2013, 2,115 people a day were left unable to use an Oyster card on buses – a total of 770,000 incidents. In 2012, the sitution was even worse, with 1.1 million Oyster cards ‘hotlisted’ by TfL.

The shocking figures have been brought to light as TfL prepares to stop accepting cash on buses on Sunday July 6.

TfL say the move will save £24 million a year, and that less than one per cent of bus journeys are now paid for with cash.

However, critics of the plan, including the Green Party, feel that it may leave vulnerable passengers lost or stranded.

Darren Johnson, Greater London Assembly Member for the Green Party, 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.”

Mr Johnson acknowledged that TfL’s One More Journey feature, which allows passengers to make a last bus trip when they are out of Oyster credit, was a step in the right direction, but added,” “However, this doesn’t deal with the common and widespread problem of people either not having a card at all, or their card suddenly not functioning and transport staff need to be given clearer guidance to assist people in that situation.”

Leon Daniels, TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport, said: “Less than one per cent of bus journeys are paid for using cash. As we move towards a cash-free bus service we are making several changes that will ensure a smooth and trouble-free transition for our passengers.

“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.”

Darren Johnson AM has urged TfL to make this guidance publicly available. London24 has also requested a copy but has not yet received it.

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