From Friday 1st March, we'll be introducing Revenue Protection Officers on board our buses in the West of England.

Revenue protection officers will be regularly riding on our bus network to ensure everyone is travelling with a valid/ correctly issued ticket. Any tickets purchased from the driver must be retained throughout the journey, and any tickets on our First Bus App must be valid and ready to show.

When travelling, please have your ticket ready to show - this might be:

You must also be ready to show any ID associated with your travel ticket, for example your student ID or First Photo ID pass.

If you're unable to show a valid ticket to travel or the required ID for your ticket our Revenue Protection Officers will issue a standard fare charge of £50.

Frequently Asked Questions

Most customers pay the correct fare, but a small minority try to take advantage by presenting or asking for a ticket they are not entitled to (e.g. an adult with a child ticket), or by more blatantly avoiding paying. We don't want our drivers to be in a difficult position, so the revenue protection officers are there to provide support, and to deter and catch those who abuse the system, which isn't fair on other customers. By collecting the proper fares we ensure that we can invest in better services for our customers.

You can find your expired tickets in the wallet section of the First Bus App. Each expired ticket will show the ticket type, when it was purchased & when it expired.

You can find your digital card number by going in to your wallet settings on the device you paid for. This will match the number on the print out the Revenue Protection Officers will check against.

When you tap on a bus, the ticket machine records the last 4 digits of your payment card or virtual card in the case of digital wallet payments. When you leave the bus and tap off, the machine deletes the numbers. When our officers board the bus, they take a printout from the ticket machine, this will show a list of the last 4 digits of every card used when a passenger is still on the bus. You will then be asked to show the last 4 digits of the payment card you used to tap on or may be asked to show the same numbers from a virtual card used in a digital wallet. This will be matched to the printout and prove that you have correctly tapped on or off. Should you for any reason not be comfortable in showing the officer your payment card last 4 digits you will need to stop using this payment method and continue to purchase paper tickets, as you would be charged a standard fare if you don’t show the payment method used.

No – It is a condition of using a discounted ticket that you carry the relevant photocard or college ID. If you have forgotten to bring the entitlement ID, you should purchase a full adult ticket for that journey. 

The £50.00 standard fare charge is neither a fine nor a penalty fare. £50.00 is the standard fare we charge for a journey if the passenger does not have a valid ticket or pass or in some other way does not comply with our conditions of travel. This standard fare charge is advertised on all our buses and our conditions of travel are available on our website. By travelling on our buses, you agree to accept and abide by our conditions of travel, or pay the advertised standard fare.

No – Our conditions of travel place the responsibility of ensuring they have the correct ticket or pass on the passenger. Whilst our drivers will always be happy to advise on purchasing the correct ticket, they are trying very hard to keep to timetables. They do not always have the time to wait for passengers to search through bags looking for ID cards or determine a passenger's age. If you are in any doubt, you should always purchase a full adult single ticket. Full details on all our available fares and conditions of use are on our website.

The responsibility of having a valid ticket for your journey is placed on the passenger. Data protection regulations prevent us from viewing CCTV for such reasons. Even if we were allowed to do so, we would not have the time or resources. Neither would the CCTV be able to prove what sort of ticket was purchased.

No – It is not acceptable to use an out-of-date ticket or pass. A full adult ticket should be purchased until the new ticket or pass arrives to avoid being charged a £50.00 standard fare.

It is the responsibility of the passenger to ensure that they don’t travel further on our bus than where they have paid for. In this case, we would issue a £50.00 standard fare charge notice.

No – there are no circumstances where it is permissible to use someone else’s concessionary pass. The person who is pictured on the pass is the only person entitled to use it.

No – The body worn cameras are always in standby mode. They only start recording when activated by the RPO. Should there be a reason they need to activate the camera, they will warn you before switching it on, if it is reasonably possible to do so. The camera will always be switched on to record the interaction between an Officer and a passenger being issued with a standard fare charge.  This is both for the safety of the passenger as well as the Officer involved. They may be switched on at any time, without warning, if a crime is being committed, the Officer is worried about their safety or the safety of other passengers or as evidence of fraud being committed against the company. The body worn cameras record both video and audio and footage will always be used in prosecuting any individual who threatens or assaults our staff.

Yes – if for example you were using a child monthly ticket and you were an adult, the RPO would confiscate the ticket as well as issuing the standard fare charge notice. There would be no refund available for any unused portion of the ticket. In the case of misuse of a concessionary pass, this would also be withdrawn and returned to the relevant authority issuer. If a mobile ticket is misused, we would block the use of this ticket. This also blocks your First Bus account and the device from receiving any further mobile tickets. If travel fraud is suspected, the Police will always be called.

Yes – First Bus is committed to making your journey with us as safe and pleasant as possible. Our RPOs will always do their best to ensure that any instances of anti-social behaviour are swiftly dealt with. This includes but is not limited to – smoking, vaping, feet on seats, loud music, eating and drinking alcohol etc. Passengers involved in anti-social behaviour may be removed from the bus and in more extreme cases the Police will be called and CCTV and BWC footage used to prosecute offenders.

In the first instance, we only ever issue a standard fare charge notice to a passenger if they have failed to comply in some way with our conditions of travel. We would therefore ask all parents to ensure that their children are aware of what they need to do before getting on our buses. We are still bound by data protection regulations when asking for personal details of minors, so we therefore must remove the passenger from the bus to obtain their details and issue the notice. At all times the passenger is accompanied by at least 2 RPOs, in full uniform. Once the notice is issued, they will wait with the passenger until the next bus arrives and ensure the passenger gets on the bus safely to continue their journey. At no time, will a minor be left on their own in unfamiliar surroundings.

No – Our conditions of travel state that you must be in possession of a valid ticket for your journey. This means that you must collect your ticket from the machine and retain it until your journey is complete. You can then dispose of the ticket in the used tickets bin on leaving the bus. Our tickets contain a lot of information including the price paid, type of ticket purchased, times and date, journey and stop details. It is for this reason we need to see the ticket. It would not only be against data protection regulations to go looking through your bank payment app but also, they simply don’t give the information needed that is only printed on the physical ticket.

Yes – the notice you have been given contains full details on how to make an appeal. This must be done within 21 days of receiving the notice. Late appeals will not be accepted. You can give as much information as you want in your appeal and upload photos or documents if you feel they are relevant. It should be noted that all appeals are judged against our standard conditions of travel. If you have breached one of these, it is very unlikely that your appeal will be upheld. You will be notified of the appeal result by either email or post and your case is put on hold until the decision email/letter is sent out.

Our standard fare charge is neither a fine, nor a penalty fare but rather a charge for your journey. As such, we will always allow you to travel onward to your intended destination. As data protection regulations will not permit us to ask for your personal details within earshot of other passengers on the bus, we will always remove a passenger from the bus before issuing the notice. Once the notice is issued, if the passenger is under 18 years of age the RPOs will wait with the passenger and ensure they are safely put on the next bus to complete their journey. For passengers over 18, they will be given a single use ticket to get the next bus to their destination.

No – when you are issued with a standard fare charge notice, you will be given the opportunity to pay the £50.00 on the spot by credit/debit card or cash. Should you choose to take the 21 days to pay option, payment can only be made through our online payment platform. Full details on how to make your payment are contained within the notice you have received. There are no facilities to pay over the phone, at a bus station/interchange or at any of our offices. You have 21 days to make a payment.

If our RPO's issue a standard fare notice to a passenger who is under the age of 18, it is our standard practice to send a letter addressed to the parent or guardian of the passenger 7 days after the notice was issued if payment has not been made in the meantime. This letter will inform the parent/guardian of the reason for issue and the fact that there are still 14 days left to either pay or appeal the notice.

Absolutely not! – By travelling on our bus, you agree to either abide by our conditions of carriage or pay our standard fare charge of £50.00. For the sake of the vast majority of our passengers who do travel correctly, it is only right that we pursue the few who don’t. If the standard fare charge remains unpaid despite our reminder letters, we will have no option but to issue a County Court Summons against you for the balance due. This will also include court fees, our reasonable legal costs and interest due at the Court prescribed rate from the date the notice is issued until judgement is received. It is worth noting, that should the judgement be in our favour; a County Court Judgement (CCJ) will be registered against you. If the debt remains unpaid, we will have to enforce the judgement using either Bailiffs or an attachment on your earnings. This could have serious consequences for both your personal and professional life as it remains active for 6 years.

One of our biggest forms of fare evasion is adults buying child tickets to obtain cheaper travel. A child ticket can only be used by passengers aged between 5 and 15 years old. It is not acceptable for any passenger aged 16 or over to be in possession of a child ticket. This will always result in a £50.00 standard fare being charged. If you appear to be 16 or over, travelling on a child ticket, RPOs may ask for some proof of age. If a passenger is not able to provide that proof a standard fare notice would be issued. Whilst we readily accept, that not all minors carry proof of age with them, we would happily close the case with no further action, if proof of age is sent in within the 21-day appeals period.

Yes – whilst we only allow one appeal and our decision on this is final, you do have the right to complain to Bus Users UK ( They are an approved Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Body for bus and coach passengers who will look at any complaint you make. Should they find in your favour, we will close your case and refund any money you have paid. It should again be noted that they also can only judge complaints against our standard conditions of travel, so an appeal to them is just as likely to be declined if you have not complied with our conditions of travel.

Once a standard fare charge notice is issued, the passenger the notice was issued to has 21 days, beginning the day after the notice is issued to make their payment or appeal the notice. The due date is clearly printed on the notice received. Should an appeal be made, the case is automatically put on hold until the result email/letter is printed. If the charge remains unpaid after the 21 days or following the appeal being declined, we have to send out a reminder email or letter. This involves us in significant extra costs and as such, we add a £25.00 administration charge. Should the notice remain unpaid after the next 14 days, we will send out a further reminder which will also incur an administration charge bringing the balance due to £100.00.

Once we have sent you our appeal decision email/letter, that is the end our process and the standard fare charge becomes payable by the due date. Making a complaint to Bus Users UK will not put your case on hold and reminder letters will continue to be sent out involving you in additional costs. We strongly suggest that you make your payment to close your case and await the decision of the ombudsman (this could take up to 12 weeks). Should they find in your favour, we will refund any monies you have paid immediately to your original payment method.