On 6 July 2014, London buses went cashless. In an effort to improve the times taken for passengers to board a bus, Transport for London (TFL) ceased to allow cash payments to the driver on boarding. This action was taken following a consultation phase that ran from 19 Aug 2013 to 11 Oct 2013.
There are a number of options available for would be passengers to pay for their journeys. The first is the Oyster card. These cards may be obtained from tube stations and many shops displaying the blue Oyster card symbol. They can be topped up on line or at any Oyster card sale point. In addition to buses Oyster cards can be used on journeys using the Underground, Tram link, and the Dockland Light Railway, and some over ground train services.
Visitors to London can buy a Visitors Oyster card in advance from the TFL website. These are sent to the visitors' home address to allow their use immediately on arrival in London. These cards also allow a discount on certain attractions and restaurants. The current available attractions can be found on the same website.
There are other places to buy a Visitors Oyster card. TFL list these as:
Gatwick Express - from the Gatwick Express ticket office or terminal desks
Stansted Express - from the ticket office at the airport rail station
Eurostar - on board trains to London
Oxford Tube coach service - from ticket offices at Gloucester Green Coach Station and Thornhill Park and Ride in Oxford
National Express coaches - from ticket offices throughout the UK, including those at major airports such as Gatwick, Stansted and Luton.
TFL has introduced One More Bus journey scheme for users of the Oyster system. Many users of the previous cash on entry system had an Oyster card but it was credited with insufficient funds for their journey. Now they can make one journey before adding credit to cover that journey and future journeys.
An alternative to the Oyster card is the contactless payment car issued by some banks. This card can be used to make small payment at car readers without the necessity of entering a PIN. While currently used in paying for bus journeys, TFL envisage its usage in paying for their other services in the future. Paper tickets are still available but need to be bought in advance. Day or weekly tickets are available from the visitors shop on the TFL website. These allow unlimited travel on the TFL network of trains, buses and trams. Oyster card users have their fares capped so they do not pay more for their transport than a user of a paper day ticket.