Monday 3 February 2014
London goes cash free / Herts introduces weekly tickets
As far as buses and many other things are concerned, London is a different country, totally different to the rest of Great Britain. Its buses are regulated and centrally planned for a start. No free market exists in the capital. London's buses are lavished with a level of subsidy that the rest of the country can only dream about. One of the benefits of that is the multi-modal Oyster card, which has sped up London's buses by doing away with the need to pay by cash when you board. Cash has still been an option though, until now, but it will be phased out from this summer. To stop people being stranded, Oyster cards will allow people to go overdrawn by the value of one bus journey. Even if you lose your Oyster card, you can pay with your contactless bank card. All in all, this is a positive step, which will speed up journeys even more ... and widen the gap between the experience of using buses in London and elsewhere in the country.
While London gets excited by the end of cash on buses, just a few miles up the road, Hertfordshire marvels at the fact that you can now buy a ticket that is valid on almost all buses in the county for an entire week. In fairness, the Intalink Explorer makes Hertfordshire one of the best places in the country to use the bus. There are a great many regions with no all-operator ticket whatsoever. Visitors from Europe quite rightly view us as primitive.