This item had earlier appeared in “Nottingham Alternative News”

http://www.veggies.org.uk/AlternativeNews

LETTER: You are being ripped off (if you catch a bus)
Phil Shelton

I have always had an issue with Nottingham City Transport not giving change on their buses, as I often had to pay more than the fare, having no change. Some years ago, I was lodging at the home of a high ranking employee of NCT who informed me of a way to get my hard-earned cash back. It appears that NCT legally has to be able to provide change to its customers or it cannot operate as a bus company!

So you say to yourself, how are they operating when they obviously do not give change on thier buses? Well, it’s simple, it is called an Excess Fare Slip, which can be written out by a driver for you to take to the cash office in the Market Square. There, you can redeem the value of your overpaid fare and so claim YOUR hard earned cash back. This unknown right that all Nottingham’s citizens have is largely unspoken of as NCT apparently has no intention of letting the public know about this.

This I can only imagine is due to financial reasons… think of all the journeys where people pay extra, that’s one hell of a lot of money! Where does it go? Community groups? Charity? No, of course not, it goes to the bus company. Ignorance is bliss in the case of this greedy, selfish, self-serving company who does not care for its customers and implicitly rips them off.

Next time you overpay, be sure to demand that the driver write out an Excess Fare Slip. It is your legal right. If enough of us do this, perhaps NCT will have to review its sorry “Sorry, no change” policy.

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so, with all the above in mind …. I tried it out, having the incorrect change on the bus on the way home. The following letter to Nottingham City Transport sets out the case. If I get a response, I’ll tell you all about it…….! Reading this article has saved me 30p.

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Nottingham City Transport
Customer Services

Saturday 04 June 2005

Sir,

I am a freelance journalist.

I am writing a number of pieces connected with the ‘integrated transport policy’ in the regions.

I note the number of different policies that there are in the many bus companies serving the East Midlands on a number of issues.

Specifically I now write to you, asking about the giving of change.

While I appreciate that not giving change might be considered advantageous for the ‘free flow’ of the queue, it can be quite off-putting to some customers. Surely a consideration when trying to make the bus a viable alternative in travel to and from the city. Also, it was my understanding that having a policy about the giving of change was a legal requirement for the running of a service.

Thus on Saturday afternoon, I put the issue to the test. I caught a number 45 bus [reg no: V424 DRC] at 2.30 on Saturday 4th June from city centre to Woodborough Road.

The fare was £1.20. However, I only had £1.50 in change. I therefore asked the driver if he gave change. He said he didn’t. I then asked for an “Excess Fare Slip” with the intention of claiming back the excess from your office at a later date. Unfortunately, the driver didn’t have one and seemed amazed I’d asked for such a thing. He asked for my address on a piece of paper and a proof of identity. I showed him my press card. In the mean-time, I’m holding up the queue. Eventually, the driver managed to get another passenger with sufficient change to give me some and therefore for us both to deal with our exact fare.

I thanked the driver for this. But I still asked if he normally had a supply of Excess Fare Slips. He said that he did, but on this occasion, they were in his other jacket. I think it important to tell you that the driver was polite throughout this exchange.

Looking for further guidance on this issue, I had looked over the company website at: http://www.nctx.co.uk and can find no reference to this facility.

I imagine that there are many times through the normal operation of the company, that customers are unable to give the exact change for their journey. I’m thus prompted to ask if you keep an account of the monies accrued by such overpayment.

I would appreciate your comments.

regards

Alan Lodge

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