Edinburgh Transport

Discussion in 'Other Public Transport' started by hungry, 2 May 2017.

  1. hungry

    hungry Member

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    Recently had a trip to Edinburgh for a few days. Was very impressed by the tram, we arrived at the airport on our flight from LCY and the tram was really close to the terminal. There was even a novelty ticket/information office in the shape of a fake tram. We was able to purchase tickets in there and get help from the friendly ticket assistant.

    It was so quick and easy, the tram was nice and modern and very clean and comfortable. It was good value too with the open return ticket to the city, and our hotel was only a couple of minutes from the tram stop.

    The buses however were a nightmare. On our last day we were taking a bus to the Royal Yacht terminal. We located the bus stop and waited for it, and got on board and I asked for two tickets to the Yacht terminal (the last stop), but the driver wouldn't accept my £5 note. It was a bit hard to understand at first due to the security screen and his thick accent. But eventually I grasped that they don't take bank notes and needed exact change !

    I asked if I could pay with a credit/debit contactless card instead, this was refused as well.

    So we had to leave the bus (having waited 10 minutes for it). There was no notice on the bus stop that you need exact change, and even so, as a tourist how would we know what fare to have? There was no fare information on the bus stop either.

    We went into John Lewis, the nearest shop to the stop and asked them if they would be kind enough to give us change. The attendant went and got a supervisor who came and told us no, sorry, they can not- I pleaded the case and explained about the bus and we had been ordered off once, but to no avail. Eventually a really nice old lady who overheard our situation made change for us so we could get on the bus.

    Surely this should not be allowed? If they do not take cash bank notes, they should take credit/debit cards surely?

    Its such a shame as everything else about the city we both loved. This would really confuse overseas visitors I would imagine and even put them off visiting the yacht.
     
  2. Failed Unit

    Failed Unit Established Member

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    Lothian are like that, I think many first buses in the city now give change (and advertise that on thier windows) - but of course that doesn't help if first don't cover your area.

    It isn't pleasent and I think as bad in Glasgow as well.

    I didn't know they didn't accept notes - If you are buying a family ticket you need to get a lot of £1 out.

    I doubt Edinburgh and Glasgow are not the only cities where the buses don't give change, it was common everywhere when I was younger but the practice seems to be going away.
     
  3. takno

    takno Member

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    I guess the no change policy is something you get used to pretty quickly, and most locals tend to be using travelcards anyway, and there are fairly clear signs on most of the buses saying Exact Fare Only. Contactless would be nice, but is still pretty uncommon outside of London.

    On the upside, in a lot of other cities you wouldn't actually get any change from a fiver for that journey, so being inconvenienced by the relatively cheap fares is not bad, and the quality and frequency of the buses is great.
     
  4. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    As far as I know they do take notes. Perhaps it was more that he was trying to point out you'd get no change.
     
  5. takno

    takno Member

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    Or possibly trying to suggest a day ticket instead - they're £4 so paying £10 for two of those would probably be a better option.

    Actually if you were at John Lewis popping down to the tram stop at Picardy Place and buying day tickets from the machine would have likely been the cheapest option, although I wouldn't expect a visitor to know that.
     
  6. overthewater

    overthewater Established Member

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    Remember old English £5 note are no longer legal tender. Only service 38 gives changes, the other three first routes don't. Service 22 to Royal Yacht terminal is every 7mins.

    Two singles is only £3.20? so maybe that why he would take your note? You do know
    https://lothianbuses.co.uk/tickets/ticket-options Moblie tickets are also allowed for singles.
     
  7. gordonthemoron

    gordonthemoron Established Member

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    The old English five pound note is valid until Thursday 4th May
     
  8. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    They are, but there is a minimum purchase that makes them useless other than for locals. Really stupid.

    TBH, they (and all other bus companies) just need to implement contactless/Apple Pay/Android Pay and be done with the gimmicks. Same for parking meters.
     
  9. endecotp

    endecotp Member

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    I'm surprised by that; the standard Edinburgh bus stop info certainly says "exact fair only, no change given". See the attached images.

    Edinburgh's busses are comprehensive, frequent, clean and affordable. It has the best bus system of any (British) city I've ever lived in, by far. The fixed price, no change system has advantages and disadvantages; it makes boarding quicker, and locals get used to it. It's not ideal for visitors as your experience is quite common. There are various apps and cards that remove the need to have the right change but they aren't as useful as Oyster in London yet.

    The drivers do accept notes if your journey costs enough. The place where you can't use notes is the trams, where the tickets machines don't accept them.
     

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  10. Harpers Tate

    Harpers Tate Member

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    Exact money, no contactless......they clearly aren't trying to do business.
     
  11. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Some transport operators clearly do not try, because they know that they have a captive audience who have absolutely no alternative.

    And they think there's enough of them not to bother enticing anyone else to use the service :|
     
  12. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I think the superb quality of their operation, which really beats anything else in the UK by a country mile, generally means people will tolerate its one foible, which was probably a good thing in its time as it substantially speeds boarding, but should really be replaced with ceasing to take cash, TVMs for cash payments, mobile ticketing, and above all contactless.
     
  13. me123

    me123 Established Member

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    Lothian buses are second only to London's when it comes to ease of use. Having had the misfortune of trying to travel by bus in Aberdeen and Glasgow, I can assure you that Lothian are very user friendly.

    They operate a transparent exact fare system (£1.60 for all journeys - this information certainly was widely available and publicised a year ago, as endecotp has noted) with multiple options for purchasing (mobile app and cash being the most useful). OK, they don't have contactless, but I don't think anyone does outside London (yet) and there are plans to roll it out. The £1.60 exact fare requires only three coins (try paying £2.85 in exact change - a genuine First Aberdeen fare), and compared to other operators represents excellent value for money.

    Exact fare is common on buses. It's a pain in the backside, but it minimises the significant risk of loss of revenue (either through driver manipulation/change scams, or overt theft).

    Lothian has one of the easiest to use websites out there, and all of this information is readily available online. If I was going to an unfamiliar city, I'd have had a quick look to ascertain how to use the local public transport.

    Shops are not obliged to change money for you. They are businesses, not public services. Why not pop into a shop and buy something? You'll get change if the value of the cash you tender exceeds the price of goods you purchase.

    Could be said of most bus operators. The vast majority I've used have operated on this exact basis for many years.
     
  14. markydh

    markydh Member

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    Stagecoach North East have had contactless for several months and I believe Arriva North East have started rolling it out. Go North East are about to start a trial.
     
  15. Zoidberg

    Zoidberg Established Member

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    They do, indeed, accept notes.
     
  16. 317 forever

    317 forever Member

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    I went to Aberdeen at Easter. First still had an Exact Fare policy as per predecessors Grampian, but Stagecoach did give change.
     
  17. 317 forever

    317 forever Member

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    A few years ago Lothian travelshops sold change tokens for use on the bus. Maybe they still do?
     
  18. 317 forever

    317 forever Member

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    Stagecoach Manchester introduced contactless a couple of months ago.
     
  19. mark-h

    mark-h Member

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    I think those were mainly sold to businesses to give to staff who needed to use the bus (my dad got given them to use when he worked for Edinburgh Council).

    They were replaced by scratch-off dayticket cards and CitySingle cards (since discontinued).
     
  20. W-on-Sea

    W-on-Sea Established Member

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    Stagecoach Oxfordshire too.
     
  21. route101

    route101 Established Member

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    Compared to First Glasgow , Lothian buses are luxury . First Glasgow dont have a smartcard but they have an awkward mobile app. Usually with Lothian the vehicles are well turned out and mostly double decker .
    First Glasgow run a lot of e300s on busy routes .
     
  22. paddington

    paddington Member

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    This might be a sneaky way of getting some passengers to pay £3 while keeping the headline fare of £2.85

    I once had a funny experience on a bus in or around Leeds. I think the fare was something like £3.40 (or at least, this number works for what I remember happening).

    There were a lot of passengers and nobody had the exact fare so the driver ran out of silver coins. This resulted in two passengers paying £4, followed by two paying £3.50 (so he now had two 50p, but he didn't call back the two people who had paid £4!)

    Then it was our turn and there were 3 of us so the total must have been £10.20. Knowing he had no silver except for the two 50p, and not having any ourselves, I presented 10 pound coins and twenty 1p. He was forced to accept the twenty pennies but said something rude about having too many pounds, which resulted in me giving him a £20 and getting a £10 note back (but also having to keep the 10 pound coins in my pocket for the rest of the day, as everywhere else we went took card payments)
     
    Last edited: 9 May 2017
  23. gsnedders

    gsnedders Member

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    Lothian buses now do have mobile ticketing, FWIW, with most fares available. (Unlike, say, First Glasgow which have mobile ticketing, but won't sell a single or return ticket on it...)
     
  24. markydh

    markydh Member

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    Lothian also have a £10 minimum spend on their app, so it's next to useless, really.
     
  25. sng7

    sng7 Member

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    Not really as the tickets you buy last for 6 months for residents and is you are visiting 3 day tickets will get you over that. You can share the tickets you buy with friends and family also.
     
  26. me123

    me123 Established Member

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    That's absolutely what it is. And I bet they make a fortune on it. <(

    As someone who used to use the app regularly, I can assure you that it is not "next to useless". In fact, it was very handy for me when I used to have to go to Edinburgh at short notice - I could get the bus from the Park and Ride and not have to worry about having exact change.
     
  27. JamboCommuter

    JamboCommuter Member

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    Maybe the driver didn't understand YOUR thick accent.


    Sent from my E5823 using Tapatalk
     
  28. Starmill

    Starmill Established Member

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    I've never bought a ticket on a Lothian service. Their fares policies seem utterly backward and bizarre to me. Minimum card payments at the tram ticket machines!? No change and now apparently coins only on buses? Restrictions on their new m-tickets? Luckily Plusbus is accepted - and can be purchased in easy, sensible ways by chip and pin or online for postage / collection. I have never even seen a bus in England that was exact change only. For years I bought bus singles with denominations of coins that required change, and was given it. Although I do think bus companies have been missing a trick for a decade by refusing contactless payments - and in some case banknotes.

    The argument about drivers committing fraud against their own employer doesn't hold any water either. The company should be employing people it can trust. Most buses nationally have not had the problem of embezzlement by drivers so I don't think it's at all reasonable for Lothian to use that as an excuse for their incomprehensible policy.
     
    Last edited: 12 May 2017
  29. Zoidberg

    Zoidberg Established Member

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    It's not coins only as already pointed out. It's exact fare. And in my experience, with the flat fare, it works well.
     
    Last edited: 12 May 2017

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