This post was first published by Croydon Advertiser on 02/08/2017.
Ticket machines and cash payments could soon be scrapped at Croydon tram stops
Croydon’s tram network could soon go contactless as Transport for London (TfL) is considering scrapping paper tickets and cash payments next year.
The move would see ticket machines removed from tram stops with passengers paying for their journeys using a contactless debit or credit card, or an Oyster card. Paper tickets would still be sold from third-party retailers which currently stock them.
If the changes are brought in the cost of a single trip would cost £1.50 in the contactless method, compared to the printed single ticket price of £2.60, and would also be eligible for the ‘hopper’ fare currently in place on buses.
TfL is assessing the situation because it estimates that replacing its current ticket vending machines, which are up to 17 years old and do not accept card payments, would cost £2.8 million with ongoing maintenance costs of £500,000.
Ten of the 70 ticket machines across the Croydon tram network currently don’t accept the new polymer £5 note, and none of them accept the new £1 coin, meaning they would all need to be replaced in the near future if paper ticketing were to continue.
In a report TfL have said just 0.3% of tram passengers purchased a paper ticket for their journey in May and latest figures also show 99.6% of passengers have never used ticket machine on the network.
In TfL’s public paper on the proposal, it says: “Ticket vending machines, as they currently exist, are obsolete as mechanisms of payment in the near future.
“The increasing use of multi-modal Oyster, National Rail contactless cards, retail contactless payment cards and mobile devices to pay for travel has made buying paper tickets at the immediate time of travel inconvenient and expensive to the customer.”
The paper continues: “The absence of cash held in devices eliminates the risk of theft, and will also remove some of the factors potentially encouraging anti-social behavior. The ‘open’ location of most tram stops further increases this risk.”
Passenger groups, local council officers and councillors, local MPs, business groups and other local community groups will now be consulted by TfL about the proposed changes, with an outcome expected to be published in January 2018.