Transport for London (TfL) has announced that it will introduce Oyster 'One More Journey' from Sunday 8 June, allowing passengers to make one more bus journey should they have insufficient pay as you go credit to travel.
This new facility supports the move to cash free bus travel, which is being introduced across the capital's bus network from Sunday 6 July.
It was developed following extensive research which showed nine out of ten passengers who paid a cash fare did so because either had insufficient pay as go credit to travel or had left their Oyster card at home.
Its introduction is one month earlier than planned and follows a successful trial on around 500 buses operating on 60 routes in the capital.
Since the trial started, around 1,500 passengers a day have benefited from the added convenience this facility gives, ensuring they can continue their onward journey whether it's to get them home or to the nearest Oyster Ticket Stop where they can top up for future travel.
The new feature is available to any passenger who presents an Oyster card for travel that has a positive balance but insufficient credit to pay for their bus journey.
They receive an emergency fare advice slip to acknowledge that the Oyster 'One More Journey' feature has been used and to remind them that their card needs to be topped up before another journey can be made.
Passengers using rear door Oyster readers on multi-entry buses, such as New Routemasters, will be prompted to speak to the driver and use the reader at the front of bus to receive their emergency fare advice slip.
This 'One More Journey' emergency fare will take the Oyster card into a negative balance which will be cleared when the pay as you go balance is topped up.
Mike Weston, TfL Director of Buses, said: "During our trial over 77,000 journeys were enabled because of Oyster 'One More Journey' with positive feedback received from both passengers and bus drivers. Introducing this facility is the first of many steps we are taking to ensure a smooth transition to cash free bus travel from 6 July when passengers will benefit from quicker boarding and the guarantee of always paying the cheapest fare for their journey by paying with an Oyster or contactless payment card."
Oyster 'One More Journey' is one of a number of initiatives that are being introduced to ensure there is a smooth and trouble free transition for customers to cash free bus travel.
The decision to move to cash free bus travel follows a considerable drop in the number of people paying their bus fare in cash. In 2000 around 25 per cent of journeys were paid for with a cash fare, today that figure stands at less than one per cent. With extensive use of Oyster and over 14 million journeys having now been made using contactless payment cards, cash usage is expected to fall even further as more customers take advantage of the convenience and cheaper fares these provide.
This change will not affect 99 per cent of bus passengers who already pay for their journeys using Oyster, prepaid tickets, contactless payment cards or concessionary tickets. The latter group represents a third of all customers and includes children and young people, older and disabled people and the unemployed. TfL research shows this change is also unlikely to affect tourists as the vast majority use Oyster or a prepaid ticket to get around the capital. Removing cash fares will also speed up boarding times, leading to faster journeys and will also ensure customers benefit from the best value fare for each journey they make.