I rode a cable car on my trip to San Francisco earlier this year. The cable car may be the closest I have been to a rollercoaster in terms of the uneasiness of the journey. We went up a big hill, then went down. I rode the full cable car on the Powell / Hyde journey. One experience from the journey that I recall vividly, aside from the beautiful views and excitement I felt on the journey, is one passenger trying to figure out how to buy a digital ticket on the cable car journey.
From the beginning of the journey until quite far in, one person was trying to make a payment option online. Someone else, who looked like their friend, was helping them out. The conductor was informing them what app they needed to go to in order to receive a digital ticket. I saw this as unfortunate: their experience on the cable car was occupied with figuring out an app.
I found the payment system for the cable cars confusing in the moment. I later found out that you could pay in cash, the option that I chose because I didn't want to miss the cable car in front of me while downloading the right application and buying a ticket. I'm unsure if the person in question knew if cash was an option and had cash on them, but this experience illuminates a point that I want to make: where possible, cash should be offered as a prominent payment option.
While not requiring one to download an app like in the cable car case aformentioned, I recall going to a cafe and one patron was turned away because the cafe only accepted card payment. I understand businesses can set their own policies on the methods of payment that they accept, but having cash as a payment option (advertised well, in cases such as the cable car) is reassuring.
There are plenty of reasons why one may not make a payment with a card: the physical experience of handing over money feels more real to some than making a digital payment; someone may not have a card with them; someone may not have a digital payment means at all; someone's card may have been marked as fradulent and cancelled, leaving them with a period during which they do not have access to a card.
I hope that cash remains a ubiquitious payment option in the future. Digital payments may be convenient for some, sure. But for others, digital payments are burdensome, particiularly if payment is facilitated through a separate application that one needs to download such as the case of the cable car.
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