The big plan for better buses
Tickets you can use on buses run by any company, and on other forms of transport too, for that matter.
Have you ever got on a bus only to be told by the driver that your ticket is not valid? The same number, going to the same place, but run by a different company. So off you get to wait in the rain for another.
There is no obligation on bus companies to honour each others’ tickets on the same bus line. This was one of the issues highlighted by a recent in-depth investigation by the Competition Commission into local bus services. Their final report recommended that the Scottish Government should make it obligatory for bus companies to honour the tickets from other companies serving the same route. But there has been no movement from the government on this.
And what about integrating with other forms of transport too? Not just the timetabling (it seems obvious that the train shouldn’t leave 5 minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive) but also with tickets. The Oyster card used on London public transport allows passengers to move seamlessly between bus, train and underground. You don’t even need to work out in advance whether you’d be better off getting an all-day ticket. The system works it out for you.
All Glasgow’s buses have the capability for a smart card system, it’s the one that concessionary card use to scan their cards. £42 million of public money was spent on the system, but it looks as though we’ll still have a long time to wait till smart cards arrive for general bus users.
How would you like to pay for your bus? What are your experiences of smart cards in other places?