On Trains & Buses

Travel news, views & information from Europe & North America by an independent public transport user

Change isn't always available

Posted on July 14, 2009

Reading time: 2 minutes.

For as long as I have known them, Lothian Buses has been an exact fare only operation with the machines to match. More recently, Dublin Bus has gone the same way. However, the usual norm is that most bus operators give change and even Scottish Citylink fit into this group; for the record, I am aware that they encourage you to book ahead on the web and prefer you to use e-Tickets and m-Tickets in place of the old fashioned method. Arriva also gives change on its buses but there have been occasions when the float isn’t up to the job and I met up with one of those yesterday morning on the 130. A vague memory of the same happening to me on a Sunday morning 38 to Crewe also resides in my mind and I have also seen a letter complaining about a similar situation with the same company in Buses magazine. While I accept that change is less plentiful on quieter services and you need to ensure that you aren’t tendering something ridiculous; Arriva perhaps reasonably does not accept £20 notes (in principle, it might be possible for weekly tickets and the like but I have never been brave enough to find out if this is the case) and I am sure that a £50 denomination is completely out of the question too. Returning to my experience, the driver looked forlornly at my tenner and we had to work it out another way. Thinking about it now, I am left wondering if there is an attempt of control operating costs by reducing the available float in these financially constrained times but there can always be a run on the amount of change available too, even with busier services and the 130 could be seen as one of them.