Imperial College London will continue to use cashless payment across eight of its catering outlets, despite overall negative feedback on the changes.
In a survey carried out between December 2017 and February 2018, 88% of students and staff who responded were not in favour of expanding to a fully cashless system. Respondents frequently raised concerns about a cashless system not offering enough choice about how to pay, leading to charges on card transactions for some customers, and being less convenient.
The College, after reviewing the feedback “very carefully”, said they would not roll out a fully cashless service to all catering outlets, but “the outlets involved in the trial will remain cashless as standard”, with the exception of the Senior Common Room and H-Bar Cafe, which will operate a single cash-only till at peak times.
Theodor Videnberg, a postgraduate student who has previously written in Felix criticising the switch, said:
“Is it disappointing to see that although 88% of respondents are against fully cashless operations, the college has decided to ignore the complains and ban cash from the majority of its outlets. In the remaining two outlets cash will be accepted only at peak times, thus severely restricting our freedom of payment choice. With this undemocratic decision, the college shows that is does not care about student/ staff opinion and concerns on this issue.”
College initially ran the trial for two weeks at the end of December, across four outlets, before extending it to eight outlets for the next two months. They said the change would “improve your experience by reducing queuing times and creating a faster service”. Results from the survey showed staff and students “felt that queue times have not visibly reduced.”
In a statement for Felix, a College representative said: “As part of the cashless trial at our catering outlets, we received 50 feedback responses from students and staff. 88% of these were not in favour of the College’s catering outlets going fully cashless. We have listened to your feedback, and a fully cashless service will not be rolled out across all outlets.”
In total six outlets will continue to operate cashless payment only: Fuel, Queen’s Tower Rooms, SCR Cafe, Electrical Engineering Cafe, College Cafe, and the Business School Cafe.
Students and staff will be able to pay via Yoyo, contactless, and chip and pin.