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Discussion in 'Buses & Coaches' started by 175mph, 22 Dec 2019.
I'm not sure why you thought it would stop for you?
It stopped to let passengers off. Other passengers and I were not allowed on, the driver saying it was 'a school service'. He appeared unaware of the fact it was registered as a public service.
Can I ask if the particular service mentioned appears in a public timetable?
Or will it appear via a search on https://www.traveline.info/
I think you'll find most drivers operating commercially registered dedicated school services will refuse to stop for the public - especially men traveling alone. Even if you're technically 'allowed' to catch it.
It appears on the Government's operator website as a 'Normal Stopping' service
and Traveline Cymru
I'd suggest contacting the operator (Newport Transport) with the details of where and when this occured and ask if they could remind their drivers that it is a service available to the public.
If it's a dedicated school service it's not available to the public. If's it's a public service it's not up to the drivers to decide who should be using it.
If it is a registered local bus service it must, unless full, stop for passengers wishing to board it at a timetabled stop. Failure to do so on a repeated basis (rather than one driver making an error on one occasion) would seem to confirm that it was not, in fact, a public local bus service, and that any BSOG claimed from it was in fact being claimed fraudulently.
I can't say whether mine was a one-off case or not. Any fraudulent BSOG claimed would just be moving money from one part of the public purse to another since the bus operator is wholly owned by the Council that contracted the service.
I'd be more concerned if it was a private operator but don't intend to pursue the matter any further. I'm sure the Council officers and bus company managers have better things to do than reply to my queries / complaints!
I thought that's not true, drivers are at liberty to not stop for any passengers at a stop, including for no reason whatsoever? Also, if a would be passenger has been excluded by the bus company, I would have thought that the drivers just go past them if they are the only one at a stop, instead of stopping just to say sorry, I can't allow you on this bus?
Try standing at the stop on crutches. Or even with just a cane.
Tyne and Wear scholars buses used to have " Scholars, all passengers welcome" on the front, you got the occasional normal punter on but often they would be ashen faced by the time they got off, I always used to advise them not to get on.
Once had 2 coppers board to deal with kids misbehaving, I gave them strong hints just to leave it but no, they were determined. By the time they got off they were nearly in tears.
I remember on a day off from work, I got the Lincoln via Gainsborough 100 route from Scunthorpe to Lincoln and on the return journey I had selected in the afternoon, it made a minor diversion in Gainsborough via a school and an lightly loaded bus suddenly became full and the headteacher forced me to allow one of the school kids to sit next to me, luckily they had all got off before we reached Scunthorpe, but by the time we reached Scunthorpe, I felt mentally exhausted.
Maybe a topic for a different thread, but do you expect to have a choice in where children are allowed to sit on public transport? Did you need to be physically restrained by the headteacher?
No, of course not, it was the way he asked me though.
I had this in Greater Manchester shortly before I moved away. GMPTE stated clearly that all school services not on contract (i.e. that are normal fare paying) pick up normal passengers along the route. There was a service from a school in Trafford which dropped off in Sale on its way to Northenden where I happened to live, so I boarded it when it stopped to let off students. The driver informed me I couldn't board as it was a school service. I pointed out that it was registered as a public service and if he didn't let me board I'd ring up the local Stagecoach depot and complain AND tell the Traffic Commissioners - he changed his mind, rather surlily (and told me not to sit next to anyone!!), but I'd made my point. Stagecoach would doubtless be aware of this, but if an operator has a service for which BSOG is eligible and they refuse to pick up passengers at valid stops en route they are claiming the BSOG fraudulently. You could also argue that adults should not be desirous of catching buses full of school children, but when I was young school children were, for the most part, expected to catch normal service buses full of adults where this was feasible.
They still do catch the regulalr normal services as well in Birmingham.
I caught the X22 service last Friday (December 20th at around 13:00) from University of Birmingham towards Birmingham City Centre, which is a regular service and it was completely full of school kids. Even though this is a regular service, turned up standing room only. Regularly get school kids on the 11 (Outer Circle) as well.
A few weeks back I was in Harborne at 4PM one afternoon, a bus turned up on the 822 service from King Edwards Five Ways school in Bartley Green. Operated by National Express West Midlands. This service goes the same way as the regular 23 and 24 services, so rather than waiting around I decided to catch it. The driver stopped at the stop and let me board and didn't say anything to me. But further along the route other people were trying to get on and he wasn't refusing them all travel. Claiming they are not allowed to travel on a school service. Even though this is a registerd public route and it says on the front "available for public use".
In addition he had a virtually empty bus as well.
Also a few years back I tried to board a Green Bus service, the driver was saying I couldn't board as its a school service. Though later changed his mind and allowed me to board.
I had a couple of old ladies catch a school bus the other day then wonder why the bus was full of school children and complain there weren't any free seats
The current regulations, clearly state that school buses, which are registered as a local stopping services, that 20% of the seats must be available for normal fare paying passengers. This was confirmed by the Traffic Commissioner, after I complained about buses on my local bus service, being overloaded at school times.
I'm genuinely perplexed as to how that could possibly be enforced. What happens if all seats are taken at the first stop by students?
I drove a commercially registered school service for a few days while the regular driver was off back in October - every day I was full to capacity with school kids in an E400 MMC. There's no way I could refuse fare paying school kids to make way for adults.
It's all well and good quoting the technicalities of this but in the real world it just won't happen.
This is a weird rule that is also completely pointless it it dosent also specify that it applies to the whole journey. Most school services will have unloaded the majority of their passengers by the time they've completed the journey. Therefore at least 20% of the seats would have been available for 'normal (however that's defined)' fare paying passengers for the majority of the journey. I suspect that's why it's not commonly heard of.
The government website appears to give a different interpretation:
'they will qualify provided that some seats are available to the general public and the service is regularly used by the public'
If your local bus service isn't dedicated to schools then it's also a fairly useless reply from the Traffic Commissioner as your complaint is about overloading, not school children specifically.
Absolutely correct but that's not the point I was trying to make.
Perhaps it was a failure on my part to understand - from my perspective where I work we have numbered school services (e.g 606/604 etc) that only operate to and from the school but are commercially registered as there are no pre-paid passes or special fares. The children use normal weekly/mobile tickets etc but the services operate to and from the school grounds.
My understanding is that we're told not to pick up members of the public on these services - we have other 'school' services with normal route numbers except they'll have an S suffix (e.g 96S or 93S)and it specifically says on the running boards that anyone is able to use these services.
I rarely ever do the numbered school services but if I were to refuse a member of the public on these would I technically be in the wrong despite company guidance?
I'd say the company is committing fraud if it is claiming BSOG for such services.
Yes you would be in the wrong. If they are registered public services then it is not down to the company or the driver to decide who can use it.
You cant be in the wrong if it's company policy, however the company could be wrong.
Ignoring the BSOG issue the big problem is the reliability of information.
These services all appear on Traveline without any special notes indicating that there are rules about who can use them. This means that they'll appear in searches and people will expect to be able to use them. Not such an issue in a large city but could be a problem in remote areas where sometimes services like this go to places that normal service buses don't.
There are plenty of school services that are registered at VOSA (so potentially could claim to be valid services for BSOG) but don't appear on Traveline which at least removes the potential for a member of the public thinking they may be able to use them.
To return to the question of BSOG the part of the quote from the government site referring to 'and the service is regularly used by the public' would appear to mean that most school services wouldn't be covered. You could even take it further and question if journeys that regularly run empty might not qualify. On the other hand, as school children are also members of the public, the statement could be seen as pointless anyway.
However if it's clearly stated as company policy (either on the running board or some notice at the depot) the driver isn't in the wrong, the company is.
In this case I'd agree but it's not universally true. If for instance the operator instructed a driver to drive an unroadworthy bus the driver would still be committing an offence.
Our numbered school services all appear on the tracker and as journeys in the travel planner - although I've never had anyone attempt or intend to use them whenever I've driven them.
I think we should all be aware, whatever the govt. ,traffic commissioners or companies say, the driver will be in the wrong. This is why so many drivers appear to just suit themselves.