Friday, 4 July 2014

London cashless & Avon cheaper from Sunday

We've heard for months about Transport for London's plans to stop accepting cash on its red bus network. this takes effect as of Sunday. From then, you'll need either an Oyster card or a contactless bank card in order to use any TfL bus. This also applies to those TfL bus routes that cross the border to serve places outside Greater London, such as the 498 to Brentwood.

Taking effect on the same date is a fare cut for most First bus passengers in the area formerly known as the county of Avon. Fares have already been reduced in the Bristol Inner zone following a passenger campaign and subsequent consultation. Now the same is happening in the Bristol Outer zone and the rest of the West of England region. Full details from First here. The main changes are as follows:

  • Single fares to be based on distance so that some areas (*cough* North Somerset *cough*) aren't paying more per mile than others. Most single fares should therefore be coming down.
  • Flat fares for single journeys within Bath and Weston-super-Mare.
  • A new ten trip ticket at £24 to be available for journeys within the Bristol Inner and Outer zones.
  • FirstDay South West becomes FirstDay West for the same price, but is no longer valid on the Buses of Somerset.
  • New ticket FirstDay West Plus for passengers who also need to use the Buses of Somerset.

From Sunday, you'll be able to find out the new fares in advance by looking up a journey on the timetable section of First's mobile website. Here for example is the current fare for a journey from Portishead to Bristol:

If the fare structure is as described, the same journey should cost £4.50 from Sunday. I'll check the website then to see whether that is the case.

You would never have had an initiative like this from First a few years ago. Passengers numbers in the Bristol Inner zone are up since fares were reduced there back in November, so this region-wide move should revitalise the bus service over a much wider area. I have recently moved to the region so am particularly pleased that fares are moving to a more realistic level.


  1. The No cash for fares basically applies to Red bus services within London & those that only go a short distance outside of London. Most others still accept cash for journeys starting or finishing outside of London in fact some that operate mainly outside of London do not even accept the Oyster card such as the 84 & 242 , It is confusing outside of London and there are inconsistencies'. Oyster cards as well are hard to come by outside of London and are of very limited uses

  2. The No Cash apparently applies to all TfL contracted services (84 & 242 aren't TfL contracts but commercial services operated by Metroline) regardless of distance outside of London. Which means that the 465 in Surrey which runs out to Dorking doesn't accept cash and that is an area where a lot of casual potential local customers won't have an Oyster (if you only catch the bus a couple of times a year what is the point, especially as these are the areas that travel to London by train using a Travelcard so wouldn't need an Oyster if they were going to Central London) so now can't catch the service. TfL has never really been bothered by the effect they have on bus services across the border and this is now going to have an impact on casual bus use in areas of mid & northern Surrey where there are extensive TfL contracted services operating that have killed off the former commercial Surrey based network with lower fares than can be commercially supported.

  3. If basically applies to all TfL services in London but not to London buses commercial services or to TfL services where the part of the rout outside London is contracted or financially supported by the local council

    AS you say outside of London Oyster cards are not widely available nor are they or much use so the impact of cash only will be a significant fall in usage of these services as TFL in most cases is only a minor operator. So I can see frequency cut backs or axing of the sections outside of London. Cross boarder services have already been dramatically cut back

  4. Not related to this but Hedingham bus seem to have deregistered most of their routes. Whether other operators will take them up or whether say they are going to register them perhaps in the Chambers name who knows. The cancelations are effective from the 31st August

  5. First Essex Buses were up before the Traffic commissioners for continued failure to operate services in accordance with the timetable and for failure to properly maintain their buses

    I suspect nothing much will come of it the traffic commissioners rarely take any real action.

    In spite of being before the traffic commissioners the same problems continue buses failing to operate due to vehicle failures, staff sickness and any other excuse they can think of


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