83 per cent of passengers want to be able to pay by card
A consultation has been launched to ask whether passengers should always have the option of paying for their journeys in London's 'black' taxis by card.
The proposal was endorsed at a meeting last month between TfL, the Deputy Mayor for Transport Isabel Dedring, senior taxi trade representatives and card providers. Subject to the outcome of TfL’s consultation, all agreed to work together to find a payment solution that will work for both drivers and customers.
Currently there isn’t a requirement for taxis to accept card payments, and only around half of drivers do, despite a recent survey suggesting that 83 per cent of passengers would like to be able to pay by card.
Some drivers claim the processing costs charged by the credit card companies make it uneconomic to take cards but concerns have been expressed that taking cash fares can lead to an income being underreported for tax purposes.
The consultation seeks views on whether card payments should be accepted, giving passengers an alternative to cash. There is no intention to stop taxis accepting cash payments or for taxis to become cashless.
Helen Chapman, TfL’s General Manager of Taxi and Private Hire, said: “Card payments have become a central part of the lives of Londoners over the past few years, something that has only increased since the introduction of contactless payment. We are always trying to find ways we can improve the services that we offer to our customers and, with only half of taxis currently accepting card, we are keen to hear whether passengers and drivers feel that this would be a worthwhile change.”
The consultation also asks if contactless payments, both with cards and other payment methods, should be accepted in all taxis. The current contactless card payment limit is £20, but this will increase to £30 in September 2015 – which would allow passengers to pay for most journeys, with the average taxi fare being £19.50.
Richard Koch, Head of Policy and The UK Cards Association, said: “Consumers find debit and credit cards easy and convenient to use, and with three-quarters of all retail spending now made on card, people expect to be able to use them in all settings. Giving passengers the option of paying by card in London taxis would mean that customers no longer have to check they have enough cash before jumping into a cab. This would be of great benefit to London's many international visitors.”
This consultation is open until Friday 24 July and anyone with a view on the proposals can complete an online survey. A summary of the responses to the consultation will be published once the consultation period has ended. If appropriate, the TfL Board will be invited to approve any changes to the relevant taxi regulations.
June 19, 2015