Transport for London (TfL) has begun an eight-week public consultation on plans to make trams in London cashless.
The proposal would see existing cash ticket machines, which only sell a small number of the more expensive paper tickets every week and do not allow customers to top-up their Oyster card, removed from the Tram network.
The ticket machines were installed when the tram system opened in 2000 and now reached the end of their useful life. TfL says they have low that it is no longer cost effective to maintain them or have them replaced. Only 0.3% of single tram journeys are paid for with a ticket bought from a tram stop ticket machine. TfL says this is fewer than 250 tickets per day, with more than half of these sold from 10 tram stops.
TfL wants to remove the machines and ask customers who still buy paper tickets to switch to either Oyster or contactless bankcards. Customers will be able to top up their Oyster cards at Oyster Ticket Stops along the route, at ticket machines at National Rail stations or via the TfL website and forthcoming TfL Ticketing app. A paper ticket bought from a ticket machine costs £2.60, whereas the equivalent pay-as-you-go single fare with Oyster or a contactless bankcard is £1.50. Customers using pay-as-you-go also have access to the Hopper fare, which gives a second tram or bus journey for free within one hour of touching in on the first tram or bus journey.
Rory O'Neill, director of London Trams, said: “Most tram customers use pay-as-you-go with Oyster or contactless to travel, which is cheaper than paper tickets and also allows customers to use the Mayor's new Hopper fare to make two bus or tram journeys within an hour for the price of one. As very few ticket sales are made using ticket machines, we are asking local people and stakeholders if they think cash ticket machines should be removed altogether.”
Subject to the results of the consultation, a final decision on whether to remove the machines will be made early next year.
The consultation runs until Sunday 29 October.
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