Cash is of course still accepted on buses, but the option to pay by the Contactless method has to date only been available on Merseyside via Stagecoach buses.
However, Merseytravel want to make this option more widely available, which helps both passengers and the bus companies, as they don’t have deal with so much cash at the end of each day. Plus, there’s less chance of ne’er-do-wells robbing a driver.
Cumfybus have recently upgraded their ticket machines in order they can accept Contactless payments. However, there do not seem to be any notices on the buses to inform cash passengers of this payment option.
My understanding is that the new machines are owned by Merseytravel and rented out to Cumfybus (and HTL in the near future) so the cashless revolution can progress. Arriva are getting the same ticket machines later this year, so they can finally join the 21st Century!
The new ticket machines Merseytravel are providing to Cumfybus & HTL also have a tracking system which allows Merseytravel to check on the punctuality of their sponsored services as well. I’m also told that there’s a website which allows the public to check where buses are at anyone time and the registration of said bus. Handy for seeing if the 31/31A (Maghull/Lydiate circular buses) is coming and if it is on time!
Of course all this progress could potentially lead up to totally cashless buses and even trains locally, indeed that may well be the long-term aim? But I must admit to having reservations about a cashless society as it may not be a very inclusive one. Hence campaigns like this by Which?:-
‘The UK is drifting into a cashless society that risks leaving millions of people behind.
People like Gem, who has brittle bone disease:
I use a powered wheelchair and I have to get a taxi to and from work, which I pay for in cash. We’re definitely heading in the direction of being a cashless society. I’m a very digital person myself, but I think it’s important to realise that there are still barriers out there for a lot of people.
Bank branches and cashpoints are closing at an alarming rate. More than 3,300 UK bank branches have closed since 2015, leaving people struggling to access the cash they rely on.
That’s why we’re launching our new Freedom to Pay campaign. We want the government to set up a regulator to protect our access to cash and make sure nobody is left behind.
Support our campaign now and demand urgent action to protect cash for as long as people need it.’
My thanks to Kevin Duggan for the lead to this posting