Complaining effectively about buses
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 was applied to all travel from 1st October 2016. You are now entitled to services carried out with reasonable skill and care. If they are not then you should be able to gain redress.
When you complain, ensure you give as much detail as you can, times, dates, registration number of the bus, route number etc. Send copies of receipts/tickets etc. If the company insist that you send the original retain a copy.
Transport for London and bus companies do not have a standard compensation policy for compensation for bus delays and won’t compensate for delays out of its control such as weather and traffic jams.
If you have any complaint about buses/bus drivers in London contact Transport for London. If you are dissatisfied with the response contact TravelWatch detailing why you remain unhappy. If you remain dissatisfied contact the Local Government Ombudsman.
Outside of London complain directly to the bus company. If not happy with the response you can contact the Bus Appeals Body. You can also contact the Traffic Commissioner for the area in which the company is based. (There are 7 Traffic Commissioners who are appointed by the Secretary of State for Transport and their responsibility includes responsibility for the licensing of the operators of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and of buses and coaches (public service vehicles or PSVs) and the registration of local bus services.
The Traffic Commissioner for Scotland deals with both appeals against decisions by Scottish local authorities on taxi fares, with appeals against charging and removing improperly parked vehicles in Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Other useful information
Bus companies must adhere to regulations laid by the Traffic Commissioner and the 3 rules of the CPC (Certificate of Professional Competence) holder’s licence, these are:
1. Professional Conduct
2. Good Repute
3. Financial Standing (for alternative transport arrangements)
If companies fail in any of the above you can write to the Commissioner or if you feel that a bus/coach/limo is unsafe they can write to VOSA or any of the bodies named above.
Under The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (for public transport) you can ask for a certified copy of the vehicle MOT, COiF, (Certificate of Initial Fitness), Insurance documentation, the Driver Daily Check sheet with name redacted and public liability certificate. You may not get this but adds strength to your case.
Example of complaint
A colleague had problems with Stagecoach which operates the buses in Cambridge. One late evening Ed’s bus was prevented from following his route because a car had been abandoned on the busway. The driver did not contact the office and nothing was done to help the passengers. So I wrote an email to the CEO outlining the issue and saying that he had had to pay £20 for the taxi fare. The CEO said that they had staff on site at all times while vehicles are out, in case of emergencies and breakdowns. He said they have a 24hour contact number for drivers who for some reason cannot contact the depot which would then in turn contact the next level of management. He reimbursed the £20 taxi fare. (The financial standing mentioned above). I wanted Ed to email again and point out that as the driver did try to ring the office and got no answer it would appear that their “Tried and tested” processes have not been tested well enough but he didn’t!
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