London is a city infamous for its erratic weather and therefore travellers prefer hailing a taxi or minicab anywhere they go. Taxis are swift, comfortable and prompt. However there is a common instance that deters passengers from availing taxis and private hire in London.
Let us consider an office goer who is late for an important meeting, avails a taxi only to realise that he is cash-strapped. Nevertheless he has his credit card from a top tier bank in the country. Does this help? Imagine a bunch of youngsters rushing after a Saturday night party to reach home before their parent set curfew. None of them have cash except for the rich kid with a credit card. Does this help?
Not all taxis in London accept credit cards. As a result passengers end up rushing to the nearest ATM and losing an ample amount of time to long queues and route diversions. The real advantage of hiring a taxi which is time is lost in the pursuit for cash. This condition quite naturally deters cashless passengers from availing taxis.
What prevents taxi drivers from accepting credit or debit cards from passengers? Primarily, the cost of installing card readers keeps drivers away from the initiative. Ready cash is always more appealing than waiting for the long process to yield money. Thus more than half of taxis fail to offer this facility to their passengers.
However, in 2014, Transport for London conducted a research which revealed that 88% of cab users preferred having card payment as an option. Following this Transport for London launched initiatives to make credit card machines in cabs mandatory. The system is expected to reach its maximum potential by the end of 2016. This model of cashless travel has already been adopted in New York since 2008 and has proved to be successful.
Alternatives to this option would be booking minicabs online, where you can pay the service charge using credit or debit cards. Some providers also offer seasonal discounts for advanced payments. Cashless transport encourages passengers to opt for taxis and keeps both drivers and passengers safe from acts of burglary.