A consultation has been launched to ask whether passengers should always have the option of paying for their journeys in London's iconic 'black' taxis by card - making it even easier for anyone to jump into a cab and travel around the Capital.
The London taxi trade has long been envied as a world-leading service. TfL and trade representatives are working together to maintain that reputation by trying to make it as easy and convenient as possible to use.
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.
The consultation is another step in TfL's continuing efforts, together with trade representatives, to modernise the industry and ensure that black cabs remain an essential part of life for people living in, working in or visiting London.
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% of passengers would like to be able to pay by card.
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.'
TfL is at the forefront of contactless payment, with passengers now able to use both contactless cards and, when it launches next month, the new Apple Pay system to pay for bus, Tube, tram and London Overground journeys. Millions of customers use this option every day across the Capital and by offering a contactless service, the taxi trade could open itself to a vast new market.
This consultation is open until Friday 24 July and anyone with a view on the proposals can complete an online survey at: https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/taxis/card-payment. 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.
Notes to Editors