Category Archives: bus operators

LONDON BUS DRIVERS REFUSING VALID BUS PASSES

Big Red Bus Pass WARNING

Big Red Bus Pass WARNING

If you are thinking of visiting London and using your Bus Pass then please be aware that some drivers are refusing to recognise the pass and will not let you travel. Following on from the introduction of the Oyster card buses no longer accept cash and this has caused some difficulties for Bus Pass holders who live outside London. The Pensioners Free Bus Pass is a national system and pensioners should not be penalised because of the failure of Transport for London. In this respect we have reported the this issue but so far no department seems willing to accept responsibility for resolving the issue.

Any bus pass issued in England is valid on buses anywhere in England, and that includes London – they are easy to recognise as they carry the red rose symbol: –
ENglish National Bus Pass Symbol

We have written to the Freedom Pass Office who passed us on to the John O’Donovan, Customer Service Representative, Transport for London, who passed us on to ENQUIRY.TUBE@tfl.gov.uk whose reply is awaited. (this does not relate to tube travel, but that’s who we were referred on to.

Failing this our next step will be to take this up with Boris 

Contents of our email are:

“We’ve received a sudden spate of comments about bus drivers in London not accepting valid bus passes issued outside London. e.g.

Submitted on 2016/03/30 at 1:24 am

“I have had this problem in London on route 142 coming back to Watford from Burnt Oak.I have the yellow band disabled pass.One driver said he hadn’t seen one before one nearly threw me off the bus,in london some drivers do not want to except this pass.Mine is issued in Buckinghamshire and told the driver this.

TFL need to enable these ITSO passes on their oyster readers but do not look to be in any hurry,the driver normally pushes a button or similar on the machine.As route 142 operates outside grater London into Hertfordshire they should be aware of these passes but are reluctant,I have never had a problem between Watford and Burnt Oak however on the return journey there can be problems.”

Submitted on 2016/03/23 at 10:54 am:

“Some bus drivers are turning into despicable creatures.

I was in Oxford Street, when the driver was collecting the money, and telling passengers that he will issue the tickets in “a minute”. He never did, and obviously pocketed the money. Driver was Eastern European.

Two weeks ago, I was travelling from Esher, in Surrey on the 458 bus, to Kingston upon Thames.
The driver charged a disabled 82 year old pensioner, giving a flimsy excuse. I suggested to the old Lady to report him, as she was rather shocked.”

“Submitted on 2016/03/19 at 4:13 pm

I have just shown my bus pass issued in Cheshire on a london bus it was refused. Why was this”

Have you had an experience like this – if so please let us know. We understand that bus drivers have a difficult job – it is down to TFL managment to ensure that bus drivers are properly instructed.

Bus company in Scotland: to carry more people on concession but receive less is unsustainable

Stagecoach chief executive Martin Griffiths described the Scottish transport market as challenging but said the transport group remained committed to investing in its home market.

The firm is locked in negotiations over the future of its Cowdenbeath depot in Fife.

Mr Griffiths said talks were ongoing with the unions about “realigning some of the business” in Fife and said the wider Scottish market was difficult as authorities kept an eye on budgets.

“Scotland is quite difficult at the moment – our economy is still challenged,” Mr Griffiths said.

He said tendered services were being squeezed and there was an issue with returns for concessionary travel, such as that offered through the free bus pass scheme for pensioners and disabled people.

“The Scottish Government has been reducing concessionary reimbursements,” he continued.

“To carry more people on concession but for the company to have less is not a sustainable business model. Long-term, what we do with the concessionary scheme will need to be debated.”

The issue was also tackled in the firm’s preliminary results statement.


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Revolutionary proposals for public transport in N East England

The North East Combined Authority has voted for a plan which could give councils power over when and how often bus services run in Tyne and Wear.

Quality Contract Scheme: What will changes to the bus system in Tyne and Wear mean for you?

The North East Combined Authority has voted for a plan which could give councils power over when and how often bus services run in Tyne and Wear

What is a QCS?

A Quality Contract Scheme is a legal power over bus services by a council. In this case, the North East Combined Authority will set ticket prices, routes and timetables across Tyne and Wear and on some routes in and out of County Durham and Northumberland. NECA will also decide what types of buses are used. Nexus, the public body which devised this scheme and currently manages the Tyne and Wear Metro, will collect fares and pay bus companies to provide bus services through contracts. This is a big change to the present market, where buses companies decide on prices and routes.
What is wrong with the current system?

NECA believes a QCS will be better than leaving things as they are. It argues people are put off using buses because fares have gone up on average 3% more than inflation for a decade. Today, councils pay bus operators to provide less-used bus services, and subsidise some fares – as well as funding the free bus pass for older and disabled people. This adds up to £56m-a-year in Tyne and Wear, money is running short and the cost of the free bus pass – which councils must pay by law – is growing, meaning that the other bus services councils pay for will have to be withdrawn.
So, everyone agrees it is great?

Not exactly. The bus companies – mostly Stagecoach, Arriva and Go-Ahead – strongly disagree with the move and recommended a voluntary system that gives them more freedom. They say a QCS a “huge gamble” that could lead to higher fares, worse services and higher tax bills in the long run.

Kevan Jones, MP for North Durham, also has “serious concerns”. He said profitable services in urban Tyne and Wear subsidise the rural bus network in Northumberland and County Durham. He is worried that subsidy would dry up under the new QCS.


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Our comment: Not difficult to see why the bus companies don’t like the idea ! Residents who live outside Tyne & Wear may stand to get a better deal on access to the Metro system ?

Valid Bus Passes being refused in London & elsewhere.

Imagine the scene – a couple leaving the Hampton Court Flower Show attempt to board a London bus. They tender their bus passes issued in Gloucestershire but the bus driver refuses it as being invalid on London buses. Feeling very unhappy about this the elderly couple, anxious to get back to the place they are staying, offer to pay the fare but that too is refused, as no cash is now taken on London buses. Obviously bus pass holders visiting London will not have bought an Oyster Card if they intend to just use bus services for transport.
We are sorry to report that get messages at regular intervals from people with an ENCTS scheme bus pass issued in England but outside London where the bus driver has erroneously refused to accept the bus pass. This places the bus pass holder in an impossible position, since the London buses no longer accept cash.
Sadly these are not the only cases where bus drivers don’t seem to understand the rules – a resident in Somerset recently reported to us that on a trip to Devon using a Somerset Bus Pass they were made to pay the bus fare to the Somerset border. This is clearly not how the ENCTS scheme is intended to work.
May we say we don’t wish to vilify bus drivers who generally do a first class job cheerfully. We do feel very strongly though that those responsible for the provision of local bus services have a responsibility to ensure that their drivers are given clear information on the acceptance of bus passes. The position is more acute in London, since the refusal to accept a valid bus pass puts older people in a very bad situation.

If you encounter any difficulty getting your bus pass accepted we would like to hear about it – please use the ‘reply’ box below.

Comment received from Devon Bus Pass office:

You may not be aware that Devon County Council has excluded service 300 from the concessionary travel scheme as of 1st April 2014 as the service is used primarily for tourism.

This means that anyone boarding in Devon will have to pay a fare to the county border regardless of where the pass was issued.

Attached is a link to our scheme document for 2014. http://www.journeydevon.info/files/2014/02/DCC-Concessionary-Travel-Scheme-1-April-2014.pdf?9e396a

Stagecoach threaten legal challenge to Welsh Government on concessionary fare funding

STAGECOACH Group has threatened a legal challenge over plans by the Welsh Government to reduce the budget of its concessionary travel scheme.

The transport operator said it intends to bring a judicial review, which is a court proceeding where a judge looks at the lawfulness of a decision or action by a public body, unless the Welsh assembly’s plan is reconsidered before April 1.

The potential action comes after the Welsh Government recently agreed a funding package of £189 million for free bus travel in Wales for the next three years.

That is a reduction of more than 11% on the £213.3m that has been allocated during the past three years.

Around 720,000 people in Wales, including serving members and veterans from the armed forces, are eligible to use the scheme.

Stagecoach said its legal advisors suggest the Welsh Government has made an error by capping the scheme to fit within a budget as opposed to following a statutory principle that transport operators should be no better and no worse off as a result of a concessionary scheme.

That principle makes allowances so operators should not miss out on the fares they would have collected while also taking into account the likelihood that more people are likely to travel as a result of a concessionary scheme.

Perth based Stagecoach is the largest bus operator in Wales with seven depots, almost 400 vehicles and around 900 staff.
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Bus fares increase in Huddersfield

Bus fares are going up in Huddersfield with the cheapest single fare rising from 80p to £1.

The prices are to rise on most single journey and return fares at the end of the month.

But bus operator First has maintained a price freeze on all day, week, month and annual prices for both local travel and West Yorkshire wide travel.

They will stay the same as current levels as part of a fare review to come into effect from Sunday. March 30.

As part of the current review, some single and return fares will increase to meet rising costs. First says it has worked hard to keep these to a minimum and the increase is less than 1.5% overall, well below the rate of inflation (CPI 1.9%, RPI 2.8%).

In the summer of 2013, First introduced a new £12 weekly ticket which allowed unlimited travel for seven days.and bus chiefs claim that this, along with better service delivery, has helped lead to a five percent increase in passenger numbers across West Yorkshire.

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Government urged to rethink law banning pensioners from contributing towards bus services

AN MP is pressing for a change in the law which bans pensioners from contributing towards bus services.

Thirsk and Malton MP Anne McIntosh has applied for a House of Commons debate as campaigners dubbed the Concessionary Bus Travel Act “bizarre” as elderly passengers on trains have to pay £30 to receive a concessionary rail card.

North Yorkshire County Council leader Councillor John Weighell estimated tens of thousands of pensioners in the county want to contribute towards fares to make 150 threatened services financially viable for bus operators.

The authority, which is mid-way through cutting its budget by £168m, decided to cut its bus subsidies by £2m earlier this week, despite warnings over the loss of services to sheltered housing estates and doctors’ surgeries.

The council spends £8m a year subsidising pensioners’ bus travel in the county, which has a high proportion of elderly residents, who represent 70 per cent of the bus services’ users.

Coun Weighell said he would write to the Transport Secretary to highlight pensioners’ frustration over the law.

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