Making a complaint Join the campaign

Bus Users is an approved Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Body for bus and coach passengers, and the nominated body for dealing with complaints under the European Passenger Rights Regulation.

To request a hard copy of 'Making a complaint', get in touch on the 'Contact us' tab below or download a copy by clicking 'Making a complaint

Bus Users is independent and impartial in its handling of all complaints

Making a complaint

If you’ve made a complaint to a bus or coach company and you’re not happy with the response, Bus Users can take the matter up on your behalf.

We handle complaints on bus services across the UK with the exception of London, which is covered by London TravelWatch and Northern Ireland, which is covered by the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland.

Bus Users is independent and impartial in its handling of all complaints and the service is entirely free of charge to passengers.

How we can help

We support passengers on a range of issues from driver rudeness and damage to property, to buses arriving too late, too early, or failing to turn up at all.

We can only help in cases where the operator has been given the opportunity, and the time, to respond and we’re not able to help with timetable issues, fare prices or bus routes: these are matters for the bus or coach operator and should be taken up with them.

We can only handle complaints on events that have taken place within the last 12 months, and if you’re under 16 years of age, we’ll need the consent of a parent or guardian to proceed.

We can help with:

  • Service Reliability
  • Driver/staff attitude
  • Frequency of service
  • Vehicle condition/type
  • Bus failing to stop/failing to show
  • Infrastructure
  • Overcrowding
  • Disability/accessibility issues
  • Ticket systems
  • Personal injury/accident
  • Incorrect/inadequate information
  • Smoking
  • Loss or damage to luggage
  • European Passenger Rights Regulation

We can’t help with:

  • Complaints that have not been raised with the operator
  • Issues that happened more than twelve months ago
  • Legal, commercial or policy decisions taken by an operator
  • Complaints raised by a minor where the legal guardian has refused permission for us to act
  • Complaints about the tourist content of a coach holiday rather than transport
  • Complaints from non-passengers (pedestrians/other drivers)
  • A complaint already subject to legal action
  • Anyone who has a history of being abusive or wasting the time of our staff

What we need to know

When you get in touch with Bus Users, we’ll ask you for the following information:

  • your full contact details including postal address, phone number and email if you have one
  • the date and time of the incident
  • where the incident took place
  • the name of the bus or coach operator
  • details about the bus including the service number and destination
  • the bus stop you were travelling to
  • a brief summary of what happened
  • what you would like to happen as a result of your complaint.

We’ll also ask you for copies of any correspondence between you and the operator to help with our enquiries.

Your rights

Once you’ve registered a complaint with Bus Users you have the right to withdraw your complaint at any point. 

You also have the right to consult a lawyer at any point, including once the case is closed, although it isn’t necessary in order to pursue a complaint.

A resolution arrived at through this process might be different to that of a court. Attempting to resolve a complaint through Bus Users, however, is unlikely to have any legal impact on a court’s decision.

What happens next?

  • Once you’ve contacted the bus or coach operator with a complaint, you need to give them 14 working days to respond
  • If you don’t receive a response or you’re not happy with the response, you can get in touch with Bus Users at the relevant office and we’ll send you confirmation that we’ve received your complaint
  • If we’re unable to help, we’ll let you know within 14 working days
  • If we can help, we’ll send you a unique reference number which you should quote in all future correspondence
  • We’ll then contact the operator on your behalf, giving them 14 working days to respond
  • At each stage, we’ll keep you informed of progress and allow 14 working days for you and the operator to respond to correspondence
  • If you’re happy with the proposed resolution, the operator will have 14 working days to meet their commitments
  • If they meet these commitments within the time limit we’ll close the case
  • If they fail to meet their commitments, or offer a satisfactory solution to your complaint, you have the option of putting your case to the final appeal panel
  • The panel will make its decision, in writing, within 60 days
  • The panel’s decision is final and a decision in favour of the operator may mean their previous offers are withdrawn
  • We’ll monitor the case to make sure the operator abides by the requirements of the decision. While we can’t enforce this in law, the vast majority of operators accept the panel’s decision
  • If an operator consistently fails to abide by the panel’s decisions, a case file will be sent to the Traffic Commissioner who has the power to fine, or even disqualify, an operator.

At any point during this process, you have the right to seek legal advice and refer the matter to the courts

Complaints against Bus Users

If you’re at all unhappy with your dealings with Bus Users, please contact us and your complaint will be investigated by our Chief Executive.

We will look at any concerns you may have around the helpfulness of our staff, whether our procedures were followed, whether you were kept properly informed, and whether there were any unnecessary delays.

We’ll also consider whether more could be done in relation to your original complaint.

Get in touch

You can contact Bus Users by:

Phone on 0300 111 0001

Email to complaints@bususers.org

Online at www.bususers.org

Or in writing to the country in which the incident took place:

Bus Users Cymru
PO Box 1045
Cardiff  CF11 1JE

Bus Users England
Princes Exchange
Princes Square
Leeds  LS1 4HY

Bus Users Scotland
Hopetoun Gate, 
8b McDonald Road 
Edinburgh  EH7 4LZ

For complaints about London bus services contact London TravelWatch on 020 3176 2999

For complaints about bus services in Northern Ireland contact the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland on 028 9025 1600