It appears that TfL are currently looking to remove road-side ticket machines (RTMs) on the bus network, with a public consultation on this now online here.
RTMs are largely a legacy of the pre-Oyster age, when their presence as a “Pay Before You Board” option helped speed up bus boarding in Central London and various high traffic areas outside of that.
420 RTMs apparently remain, from which a single cash fare can be purchased. The plan under consultation would see all of these permanently removed.
The consultation indicates that 40,000 purchases a week are currently made from the machines, which equates to approximately 2m a year. Running costs for the machines equate to £1.9m a year.
Assuming the plan comes to pass, removal will begin at the end of September with the last machines being removed by February 2013. Details of the consultation can be found here.
Thanks to CB for the spot.