Law guide: Complaints and disputes

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Complaints about buses

Complaints about buses

If you have a complaint about a bus or coach service, you should write to the operator first. Give as much detail as possible about the journey concerned, and enclose a copy of the ticket.

The name and address of the operator must be shown on the vehicle and will also usually be displayed inside.

London, Scotland and Northern Ireland

If you're still not happy, you can approach one of the following complaints bodies:

They can help you with commercial aspects of bus operations, such as fares, service levels, ticketing, timetabling, punctuality and routing of local bus services.

England (excluding London) and Wales

For England (outside London) and Wales, you should complain to Bus Users UK, an independent consumer watchdog for bus passengers.

They may be able to help resolve complaints about unreliability, punctuality, staff behaviour or poor information. However, unlike the organisations in London, Scotland and Northern Ireland, they can't help with commercial aspects of bus operations or help with any legal matters.

The Bus Appeals Body can also deal with complaints in other parts of the UK that are outside the scope of the bodies mentioned above, such as coach services.

Changes to services

If a company is unwilling to provide or continue to run a service because of insufficient passenger use, your local council or the Urban Transport Group may be able to help.

Complaining about standards

If you have a complaint about the standard of bus and coach operators, particularly on safety and vehicle maintenance, you should complain to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency.

Complaining about bus stops and stations

If you wish to complain about a bus shelter, bus stop or bus station, contact the transport section of your local authority or council.

Complaints about poor service

The Consumer Rights Act states that bus operators must provide their services with reasonable care and skill.

Bus operators who provide a poor service are liable to pay compensation under the Act. This can include:

  • bus journeys that are cancelled, delayed or overcrowded;
  • services like wifi that have been promised but not provided.

The compensation claimable includes the cost of the journey and other losses that you may have incurred due to poor service, such as having to pay more for the same journey using another form of transport. You will need to prove your loss and that you kept resulting costs to a minimum. The bus operator cannot exclude or limit the amount you can recover to less than the ticket price.

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