Making a Complaint
If you have a complaint about any bus service or regular coach service, tell the bus or coach company about it (many are listed on our Links page). Tell them exactly when you were travelling (date and time), where you were travelling from and to and the route number of the bus or coach. Any other detail (like the registration number of the bus or coach, the driver's name or description) will make it easier for the bus company to investigate your complaint, but is not essential. If possible, enclose your ticket. Give the company time to write back to you.
If you don't get a reply or you are not happy with the reply you get, you can take the matter further.
If you live in London contact London Travelwatch.
Otherwise, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 0300 111 0001. (Calls cost the same as calls to 01/02 numbers - even from a mobile phone - and are included in free minutes on their landline & mobile tariffs.)
We will do what we can to sort things out for you. Please give us as much detail as you can and if you have copies of letters or emails you have written to the bus company or received from them, it’s helpful if you can let us have copies.
If we still can’t sort it out, we are partners in The Bus Appeals Body who can issue a decision on the case. Most bus companies agree to abide by Bus Appeals Body decisions, though the Body has no legal powers. For more information see the Bus Appeals Body website at www.busappealsbody.co.uk.
The Bus Appeals Body can deal with complaints about operational issues, such as poor reliability (eg bus running early, always running late or making you miss an important appointment or connection to another bus or train), the bus not turning up at all, drivers or other staff being rude, driving badly, bus refusing to stop to let you on or off, etc.
It can’t deal with commercial issues, like fares and service levels, ticketing and timetabling, routings, nor can it help if the issue has involved the Police or other legal authority. If you think you are entitled to compensation for an injury on a bus, contact a solicitor: Bus Appeals Body cannot get involved with legal matters. You must always have written to the company first to give them a chance to sort out the issue.
The Bus Appeals Body will let you know if they are taking up your case. They will then go back to the bus company to get their side of the story, before members of the body and the chairman decide on what course of action should be taken. You and the bus company will then get a letter telling you what has been decided.
If a company is unwilling to provide or continue to run a service because of insufficient passenger use, while Bus Appeals Body cannot help, local authorities and Passenger Transport Executives (Centro [West Midlands], Nexus [Tyne & Wear], Metro [West Yorkshire], Merseyside, Greater Manchester, South Yorkshire) can invite bus companies to tell them how much they would charge to put on the service and, if they consider it justified, contract them to run it. So it could be worthwhile approaching the local council or PTE. See our Links page for the web addresses for the PTEs.
Bus companies must register timetables with the statutory local Traffic Commissioner, who also licenses the operators. The Commissioners are also responsible, through the Government's Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA), for monitoring bus fitness and safety and adherence to drivers' hours regulations. Commissioners can - and do - bring operators to book (by fines, restriction of services or even putting them off the road altogether in extreme cases) for regular infringement of these aspects of bus operations, including timekeeping. Traffic Commissioners are located in Eastbourne, Birmingham, Leeds, Cambridge, Bristol and Edinburgh. There is a website for the Traffic Commissioner network giving full contact details which can be found listed on our Links page.
In London, London Travelwatch is the official passenger watchdog for all bus issues. Their address is Dexter House, 2 Royal Mint Court, London, EC3N 4QN, telephone 020 3176 2999.
In Northern Ireland, The General Consumer Council for Northern Ireland (GCCNI) looks after the interests of bus and rail users. The address is Elizabeth House, 116, Holywood Road, Belfast BT4 1NY.
Bus stops, bus shelters and bus stations are usually the responsibility of the District or Borough Council. But contact the PTE or Transport Section of the County Council first for advice if you have a complaint about waiting facilities and/or interchanges.
1) Passenger Focus is the passenger consumer watchdog covering mainland Britain for bus and rail matters. Its offices are based in London and Manchester. Passenger Focus does not handle individual bus passenger complaints.
2) Local bus travel information in Britain can be obtained from Traveline on 0871 200 22 33, or via the Traveline website.
3) Rail travel information in Britain can be obtained on 08457 484950, or via the National Rail Enquiries website.
The BAB is a non statutory committee offering independent review of complaints arising from the operation of local bus and scheduled coach services. It was set up in 1998 as the result of a joint initiative by the industry’s trade association, the Confederation of Passenger Transport (UK) –- and Bus Users UK’s predecessor, the National Federation of Bus Users (NFBU). Its remit is restricted to complaints about operational issues such as staff behaviour, reliability or information. Commercial issues such as complaints about service levels and fares are not covered by the BAB. An information booklet about the BAB and how it works can be obtained from BUS USERS UK, Terminal House, Shepperton TW17 8AS. Further information can also be found on the Bus Appeals Body website see http://www.busappealsbody.co.uk
Click here for our BAB page.
BUS USERS UK, Terminal House, Shepperton TW17 8AS, UK
T 0300 111 0001 Email email@example.com Membership enquiries 01932 232574