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AIBU to complain about London bus driver?

(78 Posts)
addictedtofrazzles Wed 31-Aug-11 09:49:22

I live in London and was returning from my antenatal appointment at the hospital by bus. I boarded the bus and handed over a £10 note (£2.20 fare). The bus driver refused to take the money as he said I should have an Oyster card and he was under no obligation to carry change. I replied that I don't use public transport frequently enough to justify the cost of an Oyster card and that no where on the bus was there a notice saying that change would not be given for £10 notes...

So I delved into the pits of my handbag for loose 2p's and literally hand to count them out into his tray. I counted clearly, putting the coins in piles so that the driver could keep a check. By this point the other passengers were understandably getting annoyed.

The driver then told me that he would have to re-check the loose change and that, "he had all the time in the world". He counted and said I had short changed him...BUT REFUSED TO TELL ME BY HOW MUCH and demanded (rudely) that I recheck it again!!!

At this point the passengers are even more irate, as was I, but I recounted the money and sure enough it was correct.

AIBU to complain about his unhelpful, difficult and arrogant approach?

crazynanna Wed 31-Aug-11 09:53:06

Oh dear...you got a jobsworth. There seems to be plenty on London buses these days. I find the 43 and the W5 particularly jobsworthy.
I know they can insist on the right change,but it seems your driver took it to another level,so yes,complain.

SiamoFottuti Wed 31-Aug-11 09:54:21

Does everyone in the UK complain about every little thing that annoys them these days? It would seem so from AIBU sometimes.

Wouldn't you prefer to, maybe, get the fuck over it?

Red2011 Wed 31-Aug-11 09:54:48

Probably a bit of fault on both sides. I don't live in London at all but I have an Oyster card - it's a PAYG - I just put the odd £10 on it from time to time. I use it on the trains and buses whenever I need to.

I got on the local bus recently and paid for 2 fares with a £10 note and the driver gave me change, but that was only because the fares combined were close to £5.
I seem to recall that the bus used to display a sign saying "correct change only". I must admit that as I am an impatient wotsit I would be a little irritated by someone paying with 2p coins.

usingapseudonym Wed 31-Aug-11 09:56:24

I think its pretty normal for bus drivers to refuse £10 notes as they just don't have the change. I normally have a panic looking for change when I have to catch a bus (outside london now) as I wouldn't expect them to take a note.

An oyster card costs about £3 and makes london bus journeys so much easier, it really is worth getting one if you use buses/trains more than a couple of times a year.

WreckaJones Wed 31-Aug-11 09:56:50

He was rude and unhelpful in how he handled it but the rule is the same for everyone. Most London bus stops now have a ticket machine at the stop which says no change and you must have a ticket before you board so you have to go into a shop and get change and have the ticket ready if you are caught out. Oyster cards are now a fiver I think, which is a deposit returned to you when you return the card. Worth having one if you live in London even if you don't think you will be using it regularly - presumably you are new to London?

Being a regular bus user it is v annoying to be stuck behind someone who imperiously demands that a bus driver take their assorted change/give them change when everyone else is perfectly capable of a quick flick of their oyster card/ticket - speeds the buses up and helps them be on time for everyone. But there's always one who thinks the rules don't apply to them.

HellonHeels Wed 31-Aug-11 09:57:14

Bus driving is stressful I'd imagine but no excuse for that kind of rudeness. Complain!

Not entirely sure but I think you pay cheaper fares with an oyster so might be worth getting one even if you're an infrequent user.

WreckaJones Wed 31-Aug-11 10:00:44

You do pay cheaper fares with oyster - think a single ticket is £2.20 which can only be reused within the hour as a return or for several bus journeys/changes. I think with Oyster it is £2 and then if you go on more journeys outside the hour it will calculate it at the cheapest allowed (e.g. peak/non-peak travelcard fare at a slight discount to having bought a travelcard over the counter) - might have all gone up though. Had a bit of a shock a few days ago when I discovered oyster deposits had gone up to a fiver!

addictedtofrazzles Wed 31-Aug-11 10:00:58

Red2011 - I am pregnant and didn't fancy the 2 mile walk home from the hospital...it was 'pay with 2p coins' or walk!!!

Siamo - the complaint would not be so much about the way he dealt with me (if I am honest, his OTT manner rather amused me as I was so gobsmacked that someone could be so arsey). My complaint is more that his handling of the situation was so 'unprofessional' - in addition to how he dealt with me, old ladies got on the bus and he would drive at speed before they had sat down. I think a supervisor should be aware.

Crazynanna - I was on the 319!!!!

TheLadyEvenstar Wed 31-Aug-11 10:03:16

Bus Drivers start the day with NO money except their own in their pockets. They don't get a float and at the end of the day they have to cash up.

If the Driver had just started his first rounder then he would not have had any cash, if he was half way through then he would only have had change IF passengers had got on without a ticket prior to you. Therefore the assumption that he would have change is wrong. You as a passenger should make sure you have the correct money it speeds up getting on the bus and helps everyone out.

WreckaJones Wed 31-Aug-11 10:04:16

He was unprofessional in as much as he allowed you to break the rule but did not take any responsibility for permitting you to break it (e.g. he wasn't going to sit and count out your tuppence bag of change for you). So you want to get him into trouble for letting you on the bus and paying for the ticket? Jeez. Good luck with that.

Yes he could have said well I am very sorry but we have this rule to ensure speedy service for everyone, how about you disembark, get yourself a ticket and wait for the next bus? Would that have made you happier or would you now be complaining about a bus driver chucking a pregnant woman off a bus?

addictedtofrazzles Wed 31-Aug-11 10:05:07

Thanks for info on Oyster Card - I have always lived in London but the last 5 years have been a SAHM (and prior to that was a teacher at a local school so used to walk!). When I worked in the city, there were no Oyster cards, just weekly travel cards - thought Oyster was the same. Will look into it as bus route to hospital is so much more convenient than spending a fortune on parking!

Still think the driver was an arse though!!

Pakdooik Wed 31-Aug-11 10:06:16

Complain long and hard

addictedtofrazzles Wed 31-Aug-11 10:07:59

Wrecka - I counted it out for him VERY clearly. He then counted it and said it was wrong, but wouldn't say by how much (in which case I would have added the extra 2p/10p/20p missing). He demanded I recount. I did. The amount was correct. He was being unnecessarily obtuse. He delayed the passengers more than me!

dreamingbohemian Wed 31-Aug-11 10:10:11

I'm amazed anyone can live in London and not have an Oyster card!

The fiver for it is only a deposit and the fares are much cheaper with it (especially on the tube). It's well worth it even if you only use it a couple times a year.

You're right that he was an arse but you were BU for violating the unwritten social codes of London public transport smile

crazynanna Wed 31-Aug-11 10:11:51

Making you recount the change after saying it was short makes me think he was lying,just to be an arse,so he was an arse,and his manager needs to be told he is an arse who holds up buseswink
Arses everywhere

usingapseudonym Wed 31-Aug-11 10:13:37

I think in your situation I'd have gone and brought a coffee/chocolate somewhere from the hospital and got on the bus with the correct change.

Even here in the sticks its normal to have change when you get on the bus.

It's one of those things that this time round you genuinely didn't know as you weren't used to using buses but you really were at fault and need to make sure you have change next time!

WreckaJones Wed 31-Aug-11 10:19:21

addicted He was making a PITA point about why there is a requirement to pre-buy a ticket or use an oyster card. I have already said he was unnecessarily rude but would you have been happier if he was polite but told you to get off the bus, buy a ticket and wait for the next one? He would have been perfectly within his right to.

When I visit a foreign city I always make sure I know how to travel whether it's carnet books in Paris or the tickets for the tram in Amsterdam. They too have rules about what tickets you can/should use. Most city transport systems are trying to do away with the added admin burden/time consuming/theft risk that cash entails. You seem to think you are above all of this because you are not a frequent public transport user and have no responsibility to work out what the rules are in the period of time you have not had to use public transport! Very strange attitude to have. I think the Queen might get away with this attitude but not the rest of us!

crazynanna Wed 31-Aug-11 10:31:26

Even with Oyster cards people still hold up the bus. Not just people with cash.
How many times have I seen someone get on the bus,only to rest their bag on the driver's hatch,and fumble for 5 minutes looking for their oystercard (only to usually find it in their pocket)
Have your pass ready is the cry,but shit happens wink

SiamoFottuti Wed 31-Aug-11 10:35:23

so what if he was "unprofessional"? Honestly, get over it, and yourself. Haven't you anything better to do with your time than make formal complaints about how a bus driver spoke to you?

TandB Wed 31-Aug-11 11:08:31

It sounds like he had a bit of an attitude about the whole thing, but he wasn't actually in the wrong. I have never, ever managed to get a London bus driver to accept a £10 note. I used to live somewhere where there were no shops/cash machines nearby so if I had left my oyster card in the office or forgotten to top it up I had to either hope I had change or walk to the station instead of getting the bus.

If you complain, all you will be doing is wasting your time and giving the bus company a good laugh when they receive your letter or email stating that you are annoyed that the bus driver refused to change a large note and then was unpleasant when you paid with 2ps. It really isn't going to get you anything except further annoyance.

Insomnia11 Wed 31-Aug-11 11:20:31

On a lot of routes you have to buy your ticket before you get on, and there isn't always a machine, which is a pain for occasional users, but at least in central London if you miss one bus while hunting around for a ticket machine/spare change there will be another one in a few minutes.

I think you are lucky if you get a bus driver in London who interacts like a normal human being TBH. But then I also appreciate that they take a lot of shit from the general public as well and that it's a stressful job with all the London traffic.

On the odd occasion I travelled into London with DD1 in a pushchair, I thought it would be easy to get on/off buses because of the newer ones having disabled access. Hmm yes. Disabled access only works if the driver pulls up to the kerb, not a foot away. So I ended up having to lift the buggy onto the bus, which was fine - would not be so easy with a 13 stone man in a wheelchair though. hmm

YouDoTheMath Wed 31-Aug-11 11:23:09

He wasn't being unreasonable to require either a card or the correct change (my Dad is a bus driver and it's really frustrating when people get on with notes over a tenner and expect change), but he was being unreasonable to make such a fuss over the coins - he should have counted with you first time around.

LRDTheFeministDragon Wed 31-Aug-11 11:30:43

I think Wrecka's point about foreign cities is a good one.

If you'd got it wrong in a different country, I bet you'd take more blame on yourself for not knowing the system. I agree he should probably have simply asked you to get off the bus and sort yourself out. But he didn't.

stoatie Wed 31-Aug-11 11:37:58

Oyster cards are fab (don't live near London) but myself and daughter go to London on average 2-3 times a year, we have 2 oyster cards which we keep @£10 on, hop on off tube much easier (esp last weekend with multiple tube closures) and didn't have to worry about getting correct ticket etc

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