Cash still accounts for 48% of transactions in the UK, according to Moneybox on BBC R4 just now. As part of this programme, Shashi Verma from Transport for London was being interviewed about the acceptance of contactless payment cards (which we helped him design and implement from 2008-2014) on TfL modes of transport. The interviewer asked about the famous ‘capping’ provided by Transport for London (TfL) to all travelling customers using contactless. Shashi explained that using contactless bank cards is guaranteed to be cheaper than buying a ticket. Not just the same price, but cheaper. Guaranteed.
But what about the “Premium on the Poor,” as the programme called it? Now that buses in central London do not accept cash how can those without contactless cards travel by bus. Shashi’s answer was simple: they can use cash to buy an Oyster card. I believe they can also use their cash to buy tickets in ticket machines off the bus, but this was not mentioned and would also be more expensive than using Oyster.
But why was I so interested in this programme about things I already know about?
It’s because Chyp have been appointed Development Partners to Transport for the North (TfN). Since 7 December 2015 we have been working with TfN in Leeds to help them prepare designs, implementation plans and business cases sufficient to inform George Osborne’s budget in March 2016. Assuming all goes well, in March, the Chancellor will allocate sufficient fund to TfN to allow improved smart ticketing systems to be delivered across the north of England.
My particular role in the TfN project is to lead the Design stream of work proposing what should be implemented, where and when. It is a really interesting project and in many ways it will be more challenging than London. Will it be ITSO, or EMV? We’ll have to wait and see. Que sera, sera …
The roadside ticket machines have been removed. It was always entertaining when tourist families realised that they needed £2.40 in coins for each member of their party for each bus they caught. Originally, the machines sold one day bus tickets, but this was presumably considered too convenient (and undermined the case for taking the machines away).