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Secret Curmudgeon: So is it farewell to cash on buses?
So is it farewell to cash on buses?
Who knows, but Transport for London (TfL) has just launched a public consultation on withdrawing the chance to hand over three clods, two ogs and a sprowsie (that’s old money, from the 1920s when I was a nipper, and which I believe was referred to in George Orwell’s fine book Down and Out in Paris and London) for the privilege of travelling on a claustrophobic mobile tin can driven by a, err, curmudgeon and packed full of people coughing, spluttering and shouting at their kids.
One TfL spokesman said that “with so few customers paying cash it makes sense for us to consider removing it”.
But, talking of Orwell, isn’t this classic doublespeak? Surely if “so few customers” are using cash then it can’t be that difficult for the driver to have a bag of change that he very occasionally has to dip into?
TfL will no doubt say that it’s the machines printing the tickets that are the things that cost the company the stated “£24m” – but surely this isn’t just about money.
What if you’re out and about and you’ve left your Oyster card at home? You’ll be forced to pop into a newsagents and buy another.
And what if you’ve only got a couple of sprowsies left, which could have got you somewhere on the bus but is no good for a taxi? A trip on a pony belonging to Mr Shanks it is then!
What if you’re a family from outside London visiting the capital? Have they got to stump up £5 for an Oyster card, as well as topping it up? Seems a bit unfair.
What if you’re a pensioner who still pays in cash? Don’t buses in all other cities accept cash fares? Why is London any different?
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