A pensioner is calling for a change in the rules after a friend, who suffers from dementia, was refused a bus ride for losing her pass.
David Hall and pal Margaret were hoping to catch the Fastrack B bus to Dartford town centre on August 4, when they were told the 80-year-old was not allowed on.
The grandmother-of-six had lost her bus pass, which entitles her to free travel, earlier in the week and had visited Dartford Library to buy a new one
She was told the new pass would not arrive for two to three weeks so kept hold of her receipt and had been using it as proof of payment to travel on other buses.
Mr Hall, 75, said: “The bus driver said she wasn’t insured to be on the bus.
What a shame they can’t get their act together!
Message from bus pass user today: “I have just been on the H37 bus from Blenheim centre towards Richmond and the driver told me my national bus pass was not valid, even when I showed him it was valid anywhere in England. It made me feel uncomfortable and embarrased. It is about time tFL instructed all their drivers of the situation.”
This is appalling – so many people have been embrarrassed in this way.
Isn’t it strange, we have never had a complaint from a Londoner having a problem using their pass outside London.
You can read other bus pass users complaints on
Do print off a copy of the attached and have it with you on your next journey. London Bus Driver’s Guide Book Page
The numbers of pensioners contacting us to relate their embarrassment and difficulty when their valid bus pass is refused by a London Bus driver has been going on for 3 years, and is on the increase. We quote here a couple of recent examples,
Pat September 23, 2016 at 11:13 am
We have always on trips to London been asked to swipe our cards on buses and always been waved through but on a recent visit to London on a Wed evening pre 2100 my bus pass gave message “Invalid for this trip” whereas my partner’s said “Show to the driver”. The driver waved my partner through but started to tell me mine was invalid. I told him that it was valid and ran until 2019 so he didn’t press me for payment but it does seem that London bus drivers need to be educated in how to treat bus passes especially if readers are not able to recognise them which it seems they are not.
Nora Johnson August 29, 2016 at 6:44 pm My Senior Bus Pass with ‘Red Rose’ issued in Hertfordshire was refused today, 29 August, in London on a No 170 bus running from Royal Hospital Road to Victoria Station. The card showed ‘invalid’ on the screen reader although it is in date until 31 December 2017. The driver insisted that I paid the full fare. Any comments would be appreciated.
Many more can be seen on our ‘Using a Bus Pass in London’ page.
Bus drivers are probably not happy either – it is high time TFL resolved the problems with the card readers on buses.
PS: we have had no complaints of this kind about Londoners not having their cards accepted on bus services outside London. so get your act together London.
Once again we have written to TFL on this matter.
Comment just received (August 2016) from a bus pass holder:
“Between 31/6/16 and 2/8/16. Myself and five of my friends went to London, as we have done for the last three years. The problem this year we were unable to use our “oap” free bus passes issued by West Midlands Authority, which we used without problems in the past. We were told we must buy an oyster card.
The same issue is reported to us repeatedly:
LONDON BUS DRIVERS REFUSING VALID BUS PASSES
Valid Bus Passes being refused in London & elsewhere.>
We have raised this with Transport for London several times, and nothing improves. It is very embarrasing for people to be refused what they are entitled to. Our recommendation is to stand your ground and make the bus driver sweat. There is life outside London ! Perhaps we should arrange a march on GLC HQ?
not a wise move if he wants to be re-elected, though with most of the country having to wait to age 66 and London 60+ passes covering tube also it sounds quite generous.
Following on with our recent post about using a bus pass in London we’d like to do our bit to assist visitors to the capital with as much useful information as possible. This is what the Transport for London website says :
Concessionary bus passes from outside London
If you’re from outside London and have a bus pass issued by another English council, you can use it, at any time, to travel free on buses displaying the red roundel.
You should show your pass to the driver; at the moment they can’t be read by the yellow card readers. If the bus you’re on doesn’t display the red roundel, check with the driver if you can use it; most will let you travel free between 09:30 and 23:00 on weekdays, and at any time on weekends and public holidays.
English National Concessionary Passes issued by English councils outside London can’t be used on Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail or National Rail services.”
If it helps you could print off this copy of an extract from the pagein case the bus driver doesn’t understand. Or maybe print off this briefer version
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: –
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.