In an announcement at lunchtime today, TfL said that the ticket machines, which have been a feature of tram stops since the network opened 18 years ago, are to be removed on July 16.
TfL justified its decision by claiming that just 66 paper single tickets are sold per day across entire tram network.
A paper ticket bought from a ticket machine costs £2.60 whereas the equivalent pay-as-you-go single fare with Oyster or a contactless bank card is £1.50. Passengers using pay-as-you-go also have access to the Mayor’s Hopper fare, which gives a second tram or bus journey for free within one hour of touching in on the first tram or bus journey.
The Schlumberger ticket machines were installed when the tram system was opened in 2000. The machines feature an electronic display and are operated by a toggle wheel. It is a system similar in design to that used on the Docklands Light Railway and on France’s SNCF. But as the machines get older, and become more difficult to repair and maintain, TfL faced a decision on whether to invest in replacements, or rely on the growing use of contactless payments.
“It is no longer cost effective to maintain them or have them replaced,” TfL admitted today.
In its statement, TfL said that the “… machines only sell a small number of the more expensive paper tickets every week and do not allow customers to top up their Oyster cards.
“Due to the convenience and value for money of pay as you go using Oyster and contactless payment, only 0.3 per cent of single tram journeys – fewer than 250 single tickets per day – were made using a ticket bought from a tram ticket machine last year. Since the plans were first announced last year, this number has now fallen further to just 66 single tickets a day.
“This low number now means providing and maintaining ticket machines at every stop is not covered by ticket sales and TfL believes that this cost could therefore be better spent on initiatives to improve the tram network for customers.”
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