London TravelWatch says that TfL need to go back to the drawing board on its plans to make stations cashless

08 December 2020

London TravelWatch has today written to TfL Commissioner Andy Byford to express its concern about plans to stop taking cash across all London Underground, DLR and London Overground station ticket offices and machines in the new year. This follows research by the watchdog which showed the significant impact withdrawing cash would have on passengers, especially those on low incomes or the 260,000 Londoners without a bank account.

During the pandemic, many of London’s Underground station ticket machines have stopped taking cash payments for Oyster top ups or to buy paper tickets, to reduce the possible transmission of Coronavirus. TfL are now proposing to extend the number of places where you will no longer be able to top up by cash, leaving people needing to top up at a Ticket stop, usually a newsagent or convenience store.

London TravelWatch’s investigation has shown that some stations don’t have a ticket stop nearby, meaning that it will be harder to top up an oyster card with cash. They are:

  • On London Underground 17 had a Ticket Stop over 400m away or had no access to a ticket stop – Chalfont and Latimer, Chesham, Chorleywood, Croxley, Epping, Fairlop, Holland Park, Hyde Park Corner, Knightsbridge, Loughton, Moorgate, North Greenwich, Osterley, Rickmansworth, Stanmore, Watford, White City.
  • On London Overground 5 had a Ticket Stop 400m or more away – Hackney Wick , Southbury, Imperial Wharf, South Acton and Watford High Street stations
  • On the DLR 10 had no Ticket Stop available – Bank, Beckton Park, Devons Road, Langdon Park, Limehouse, Mudchute, Pontoon Dock, Pudding Mill Lane, Royal Victoria and West Silvertown stations

London TravelWatch Director, Emma Gibson commented: ‘These proposals would leave a large number of people in London reliant on Ticket Stops to top up their Oyster cards using cash but our research has shown that many London Underground or DLR stations are without nearby Ticket Stops and they may not be open when passengers need them. The feedback we received from transport users who filled in our online survey paints a powerful picture of the wide- ranging impact these proposals will have on children, those without bank accounts, or those visiting unfamiliar areas, like tourists. The challenge for TfL if they go ahead with these proposals will be to prove that all Londoners can easily access a Ticket Stop if they need to top up their Oyster with cash.’

Survey respondents were also worried about having a card payment rejected at a station and being unable to use cash instead, or of having to go out of their way to find a Ticket Stop.  Survey respondents also talked about how using cash helped them to manage their weekly household budget.

As well as writing to TfL, London TravelWatch has sent a briefing to all London Assembly Members and London MPs in the hope that they will pick up this important issue on behalf of their constituents.


Notes to editors

  1. London TravelWatch is the operating name for the London Transport Users Committee. We are the official watchdog representing the interests of transport users in and around London, and independent of the transport operators and government. London TravelWatch is sponsored and funded by the London Assembly, part of the Greater London Authority.
  2. *250 people filled in our short survey which we sent out to our digital community and shared on social media. While not statistically significant, the findings are a useful snapshot of the key issues. We’ve picked out some key quotes in our briefing slides.
  3. For more information, please contact the London TravelWatch press office on 07734 055494.
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