This information applies to England, Wales and Scotland
Bus services outside London are run by private operators or are services subsidised by a Passenger Transport Executive or a local authority. There are six Passenger Transport Authorities (PTAs) in England and one in Scotland. Each PTA has a Passenger Transport Executive, which is responsible for subsidised services in its area (see under heading Addresses).
Local authorities may provide some bus services and they must provide bus services to meet the needs of elderly and disabled people. The local authority will normally have a public transport officer responsible for bus services.
Bus services in London are the responsibility of Transport for London (TFL), which gives contracts and licences to private bus operators.
All coach services in Britain are privately operated.
In London only, you may liable to pay a penalty fare if you travel without a ticket or valid pass. A penalty fare is not a fine but is a fare set at a higher rate than the normal fare.
If you do not pay the bus penalty fare when asked, you must give your name and address to the official representative of Transport for London (TFL). Refusal to supply these details is a criminal offence and you could be prosecuted. If you want to appeal against being charged a penalty fare - whether you have paid it or not – you have 21 days to do this. TFL then has to show why you should pay and, if you continue to refuse, will have to take proceedings in the county court. If you want to appeal write to Revenue Protection Services (for address, see under heading Transport services in London).
If you feel you have been unfairly treated by being charged a bus penalty fare you should complain in writing to Transport for London (for address, see under heading Transport services in London).
If you have a complaint about any bus service (for example, unsafe driving, overcharging, late running, unacceptable staff behaviour) you should complain directly to the bus operator. The name and address of the operator must be shown on the vehicle and will also usually be displayed inside. In London, you can complain directly to Transport for London (TFL).
Many private operators and Passenger Transport Executives have charters or codes of practice setting out how complaints are dealt with and what a passenger can expect.
If you have complained about a bus service outside London and are not satisfied with the way the operator has dealt with your complaint, you can take it to:-
If you have complained about a London bus service and are not satisfied, you should contact London TravelWatch (for address, see under heading Transport services in London).
If you are travelling outside London and have a general complaint about bus services, for example, about the lack of a service in your area or where a bus stop or shelter is situated, you should contact the local authority or, if you are in an area covered by a Passenger Transport Authority, the Passenger Transport Executive (for addresses see under heading Addresses). In London, you should contact Transport for London (TFL) Buses Customer Service Centre (for addresses, see under heading Transport services in London).
If you have a complaint about a bus service in Scotland, contact the bus service operator first. If this does not resolve the problem you can take your complaint to the Bus Passengers' Platform (BPP) – for the address see under heading Addresses. BPP can deal with complaints about service failures, staff behaviour, service provision and fares, and - if your complaint is upheld - can make the bus operator pay compensation. You must complain to BPP as soon as possible, and no later than 28 days after you've received a final response from the bus operator. If the complaint is outside their remit, BPP will pass it to a body who can deal with it, such as the Traffic Commissioner, or the Bus Appeals body. You cannot go directly to the Bus Appeals Body with a complaint about bus services in Scotland. You can also complain directly to the Traffic Commissioner for Scotland. The Traffic Commissioner cannot award compensation but can fine a bus operator or withdraw their operator's licence.
Anyone who has a complaint about the quality of a coach service should address the complaint to the operator. If you are not satisfied with the way in which the operator has dealt with the complaint you should complain to the Bus Appeals Body (BAB) (for the address, see under heading Addresses).
Railway operators can impose a penalty fare on a passenger who travels without the correct ticket in some areas. This will be an on the spot penalty above the normal fare and is not a fine. If the fare you should have paid is £10.00 or less, the penalty will be £20.00. If the fare was over £10.00, the penalty fare will be double the fare.
You may want to appeal against a penalty fare if there was:-
An appeal should be made to the Independent Penalty Fares Appeal Service (IPFAS) (for address, see under heading Addresses).
There is a criminal offence of travelling on a train with the intention of avoiding paying the fare. If you are charged with this offence, you should get further advice from a specialist adviser, for example at a Citizens Advice bureau.
Penalty fares are only imposed on London underground services and not underground services outside of London. Penalties are imposed for the same reason as on buses, and are dealt with in the same way - see under heading Bus and Coach services.
If you want to appeal against a penalty fare, you should write to the London Underground Penalty Fares Appeals Office – see under heading Transport services in London.
If you have a complaint about a train journey or a train delay or cancellation, you should address it to the train operator’s customer services officer. You may be entitled to compensation for late or delayed services. You should check this with the train operator’s customer services officer. If you are complaining about a station, you should find out whether the station is run by a train operating company or by Network Rail. You can do this by checking the logo displayed at the station. You should then address the complaint to the appropriate customer services officer.
For information about what compensation you can get if your train is delayed, see Frequently asked questions about transport.
Train operators must have a passengers’ charter that has been approved by the Office of Rail Regulation. As well as setting out service standards, the charter gives information on how to complain. If you want to make a complaint you can get a complaint form at a station or you can complain by telephone. Notices at stations and on trains give complaint addresses and telephone details.
If a complaint is likely to involve more than one company, or you are not sure which company you should make your complain to, complain to whoever seems most likely. This company should then deal with the complaint or forward it to the appropriate company or companies.
If you are travelling outside London and you are not satisfied with the way in which the train company or Network Rail has dealt with your complaint, you should complain to Passenger Focus (see under heading Addresses) In London, you should contact London TravelWatch (see under heading Transport services in London for address).
The National Rail Enquiry Service gives telephone information on timetables, fares and tickets on any route. It also gives information about engineering works and the best or cheapest route to use. The telephone number is 08457 48 49 50. Welsh language telephone number is 0845 60 40 500.
If you have been given incorrect information, complain to Passenger Focus (see under heading Addresses). You will need to give the date and time you made the call to the National Rail Enquiry Service and your own telephone code for them to identify the call centre which handled your original enquiry.
Outside London there are underground services in Merseyside, Tyne and Wear and Glasgow. They are the responsibility of the Passenger Transport Executive for the area (see under heading Addresses for addresses). Underground services in London are the responsibility of Transport for London (TFL) (see under heading Transport services in London for address).
If you have a complaint, go to the service operator. The operator’s name and address must be displayed on the train and will also be displayed in the station.
In London, if you are not satisfied with the outcome of your initial complaint to the line manager you can complain to London Underground Customer Service Centre (see under heading Transport services in London for address).
If you are still not satisfied you should complain to London TravelWatch (see under heading Transport services in London for address).
In all areas outside London, the local authority regulates taxis and minicabs and their drivers. In London, taxis, minicabs and their drivers are licensed by the Metropolitan Police at the Public Carriage Office (see under heading Transport services in London for address).
If you have a complaint about, for example, a driver’s behaviour, unsafe driving, the driver not taking the direct route, or the meter apparently being wrongly set, complain to the taxi operator. If you are not satisfied with the response then complain to your local authority, quoting, where possible, the licence number. The licence number is usually displayed both inside and outside the taxi.
If you are complaining about a taxi service in London and are not satisfied with the response you have received, take the complaint to Transport for London Taxi and Private Hire, giving the driver’s badge number and as much information as possible about the complaint - see under heading Transport services in London for address. There is a complaints form on the website.
You should first complain to the minicab operator. If you are not satisfied with the result of a complaint to the minicab operator, go to your local authority or Transport for London Taxi and Private Hire if you live in the London area.
If you are injured or your property is damaged while travelling on public transport other than a train (for example, you have fallen downstairs on an escalator), you should report it to the operator. You may also want to consider whether you can get compensation for any injury or damage caused by the accident.
If you are injured or your property is damaged on a train, complain to the train operator. If you suspect there has been a health and safety breach you should report it to the Health and Safety Executive (see under heading Addresses).
Your local council may offer cheaper fares for some people, for example, people of pension age, disabled people or school students. These concessions may apply to all sorts of public transport – buses, trains, trams and the underground. In some cases, your local council must offer you concessionary fares - see under heading Free bus travel.
If you want to know whether you qualify for a concession, contact your local authority public transport information officer or the Passenger Transport Executive (see under heading Addresses).
If you live in London, for information about concessionary travel, visit: www.freedompass.org.
In England, you are entitled to free travel at off-peak times on buses anywhere in England if you are:
If you're a woman, the state pensionable age is your pensionable age, and if you are a man, the state pensionable age is the state pensionable age of woman born on the same day as you.
You can find a calculator to help you work out your state pension age on the Directgov website at: www.direct.gov.uk.
If you have already reached the age of 60 or are due to do so before 6 April 2010, there will be no change. You will continue to be entitled to a bus pass. If you are about to become 60 before 6 April 2010 and you have not yet applied for a bus pass, you will still have the right to apply for a bus pass.
Off-peak times are between 9.30am and 11pm on weekdays and all day on the weekend and on bank holidays. In London, you can travel free on the buses and other public transport at any time, not just at off-peak times. For more information, go to: www.londoncouncils.org.uk.
Some bus services aren't included in free travel. These include intercity coaches, some park-and-ride buses, temporary rail replacement bus services and any services intended mainly for tourism.
Some local authorities choose to offer additional discounts and free travel on public transport. Check with your local authority for full details.
In Wales, the following people can have a free bus pass:
The bus pass is available from your local authority. It allows you free bus travel at any time and can be used in all local authority areas in Wales. You can also use it on some long-distance services.
In Scotland, the following people can have a national Entitlement Card. This allows them free bus travel anywhere in Scotland:
The Entitlement Card is available from your local authority. Further details about the scheme and how to apply are available from the Info Scotland website at www.transportscotland.gov.uk.
In Scotland, young people aged 16 to 18 and full-time volunteers aged 19 to 25 are entitled to reduced fares on buses, trains and ferries. You need a national Entitlement Card to access the scheme. These are available from your local authority. You can get further information from the scheme's website at www.givememycard.org.
Jobseekers on a New Deal scheme may get reduced price travel on trains, coaches and buses when looking for work. Reduced price travel may also be available during the first few months of commuting to a new job. The amount of reduction and the conditions which apply depend on the travel company you are using. Contact your Jobcentre Plus office for more information. You'll need to apply for a photocard to use when buying your ticket.
You may be able to get half-price fares on buses and trams in London if you:
You can find more information about this scheme, including how to apply, on the Transport for London website at: www.tfl.gov.uk.
For more information about Income Support, see Help for people on a low income – Income Support. For more information about Employment and Support Allowance, see Benefits for people who are sick or disabled. For more information about Jobseeker's Allowance, see Benefits for people looking for work.
Most public transport providers have a policy on providing access for disabled travellers.
For more information on disability access, see Public transport in Transport options for disabled people.
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