Updated: Oct 11
The Zaragoza Bus and Tram networks had made bold plans to become completely cashless. It was proposed that cash could be a source of potential COVID infection so the services were to become cashless. This announcement was met with anger and hostility by various consumer groups and politicians. The Aragón Consumers Union warned that any limitations of service were to have negative impacts on the consumer. Vox councillor Julio Calvo expressed concern further highlighting the potential difficulties for visitors the city.
The move was scorned by many residents. Comments ranged from the cynical observation that the virus was only spread by the money paid to bus drivers, but not the cash that exchanged hands in bars or supermarkets
The Council, through Councillor Natalia Chueca, have announced that cash payment has been reinstated but also confirmed the launch of a new mobile phone app to facilitate digital payment through scanning a code. There are also plans to release a real time information service on the public transport system.
This U-turn can be considered a small victory in the battle against the drive toward a cashless society. Zaragoza seems to have bucked a trend in this case as many major cities in Spain and further afield in Europe have aggressively pursued a cashless future, citing COVID transmission as the justification.