Buses and Coaches
November 19, 2009
If your bus or coach is consistently late or offers a poor service, you can make a complaint.
How can you complain?
All complaints about commercial bus services should first be made to the relevant bus operator.
If you are not satisfied with their response (or the handling of it), you may take the matter to the Bus Appeals Body (BAB): PO Box 320, Portsmouth, PO5 3DS.
BAB is a national independent body, which acts as an arbiter in unresolved disputes between passengers and local bus/scheduled coach operators. Write to them, including as much detail as possible and any copies of correspondence with the bus or coach company. You can also contact your nearest traffic commissioner. There are seven commissioners, each responsible for the licencing of passenger service vehicles (including buses and coaches) in regions covering England, Scotland and Wales:
All coach services in the UK are privately run, and there is no independent statutory passenger body for handling complaints. Complaints should be directed first to the service operators, then to the BAB and, if serious enough, referred to the traffic commissioner.
What grounds do you have to complain?
All buses are registered with their regional traffic commissioner and must abide by the conditions of their licence.
The Transport Act 2000 brought in standards for bus companies. This includes quality partnerships – statutory agreements between bus companies and local authorities whereby the bus companies provide a certain standard of service in exchange for action by the local authority services (eg provision of bus lanes) to improve bus operation. Services must meet specified standards in order to benefit from facilities provided by the local authority.
The act also makes provision for agreements between local authorities and bus companies on through- ticketing and dissemination of information on bus services.
The Public Service Vehicles Accessibility Regulations 2000 Guidance, under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, provides that any public service vehicle with a capacity exceeding 22 passengers must provide facilities for disabled passengers. New buses and coaches must comply from 31 December 2000, but wheelchair access to smaller buses and coaches will apply from 1 January 2005.
Will you get a fair hearing?
The BAB is a non-statutory body. Its members represent bus operators and consumers.
Traffic commissioners are appointed by the secretary of state for transport, local government and the regions to licence bus operators and to ensure that local bus services are operated safely and in accordance with their registrations. They are independent of bus services.
What will happen if you’re successful?
The BAB will arbitrate between the customer and the bus company in order to reach a mutually satisfactory outcome. It does not have any power to enforce recommendations or demand compensation.
Traffic commissioners can limit or revoke a licence if an operator breaks the law or persistently fails to run the service it is registered to run. Commissioners can impose a financial penalty, in terms of a repayment of fuel duty rebate, on operators failing to run a service according to their registered details.
Anything else you can do?
The National Federation of Bus Users is a voluntary, non-political, nationwide organisation which aims to safeguard and promote the interests of bus users in the absence of a statutory body. It campaigns for improved bus service provision at national and local levels, and aims to increase the influence of bus users on local and national government decisions about public transport. For further information and membership details, write to: Secretary, NFBU, PO Box 320, Portsmouth, PO5 3SD.