Cash versus cashless


Ensuring that ticket machines accept cash payments is a drain on the resources of local authorities and public transport operators, now that electronic alternatives are available.

The equipment must be robustly built to deter thieves and should be updated with each new issue of currency, not only by the Bank of England, but also banks in Scotland and Northern Ireland whose currency can be used throughout the UK.

The accumulated money is regularly collected from each machine, which would otherwise cease to function.

Consumers can also have difficulties with cash-only machines, for example if they have insufficient coinage or the wrong combination of coins to pay for a parking ticket or an ‘exact fare’ bus ticket. Some machines will repeatedly reject an individual coin, for no apparent reason.

Most UK residents carry the means to buy tickets without cash, including debit and credit cards, smartphones, smartcards and contactless bank cards. However, any moves to withdraw the cash payment option are resisted by people who continue to pay by cash or perhaps want the facility available as a back-up.

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