Not fare: Anger as bus company overcharges passengers

Passengers are overpaying £340 a day

A SCOTS bus firm is earning an extra £340 a day from overpaying passengers who do not have the exact change.

Lothian Buses, who operate in Edinburgh, charge £1.30 for a single fare and do not give any change to passengers who overpay.

And the money earned from passengers who do not have exact change amounts to £600,000 over the last five years.

But the council-owned bus firm has also revealed that it has to write off more than £300,000 in fares because of travellers using fake and foreign notes.

It is not known how much is raised after foreign currency is converted.

Councillor Gordon Mackenzie, Edinburgh’s transport leader, said that it is right that the firm should keep this money.

He said: “Lothian Buses is a very well run bus company and as far as collecting fares goes, this is clearly the most efficient way of doing it.”

He added that if the company did not get the surplus funds then fares would possibly have to be increased.

He said: “I think this is a legitimate way to raise cash and this cash helps with the smooth running of the buses.”

But Lothians Tory MSP Gavin Brown said Lothian Buses should look at ways of giving passengers change or credit notes.

He said: “I would be interested to know how much it would cost them to have a system where they gave change or, if that’s not possible, is there a way of giving them a receipt for 20p or whatever which they could use towards their fare the next time they are on a bus?”

Ian Craig, managing director of Lothian Buses, said the surplus money was common for such businesses.

He added: “Every passenger is made aware that all payments are on an exact fare only basis.

“As a business, we handle millions of pounds of cash annually, so this small variance is as you would expect in any similar businesses.

“Lothian Buses regularly donates [to] and works with a range of local charities, and there is no reason to suggest this position will change.”

The company said users can travel using a variety of tickets or they can ask the driver for an overpayment receipt, which can be reclaimed later.

Every year the company contributes £12,000 to charitable causes.