Customer Complaints Charter
At First Bus we work hard to deliver a helpful, friendly, easy to use and reliable service for our customers. First Bus is one of Britain’s largest bus operators. We operate around a fifth of all local bus services outside London. Our fleet of nearly 6000 buses carry about 1.6 million passengers every day across a huge number of communities. From as far north as Aberdeen to as far south as Cornwall, your local First Bus company is connecting your community; helping people get to work, to education, attend appointments, go shopping or just go out for fun. And we want to be a service you can depend on.
However, we know we don’t always manage to get it right for our customers and there are occasions when things go wrong and when this happens we have a dedicated team of customer service agents available to provide you with support. We want to be the best and are always looking for a better way to do things, so all customer feedback is important to us and we value you contacting us.
This charter sets out our commitment to you if you need to complain, what you can do to help us help you, and what you can expect from us.
We promise to:
- Provide a customer focused service which will aim to resolve your complaint when you first contact us; we try hard to make sure you only contact us once for a full and satisfactory resolution
- Always give you a case reference number if we have to go away and investigate so that if you contact us again about the issue, you can quote that and the agent you speak to can quickly find the information they need to update you
- Respond to all customer enquiries within 7-14 working days, depending on the complexity of the contact
- Be helpful, polite and treat you with respect
- Carry out surveys to get your feedback which we’ll use to improve our processes and service standards
- Protect your personal information
You can help us by:
- Giving us the information we need to help you
- Keeping any tickets or associated receipts for your journey
- Keep your customer case reference in case you need to contact us for an update
- Being polite to our agents
- Understanding we can’t always share the details of our internal investigations
How to contact us
Our customer services agents are on hand to answer your questions, provide information which is important to your journey and help resolve any problems.
You can contact us in the following ways:
Our web form can be found at https://www.firstbus.co.uk/help-and-support/#form-scrollto.
We will acknowledge your complaint so that you know we’ve got it – usually within 3 days and we’ll aim to respond fully within about 7-14 days depending on the complexity of the investigation
Our customer services team can be contacted on 0345 646 0707 and this is the best option for a quick resolution. In most cases we can sort things out in a single phone call but if we do need to investigate further, we’ll give you a reference number and will work hard to get back to you with a full reply in 7 days.
Customers can contact us by phone between 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.
Please look at our frequently asked questions below, you should be able to find what you need here.
Alternatively you can use our get in touch section below for more contact options; we are happy to help. We'd also love to hear from if you have any suggestions, or if you have any praise for our staff.
If you haven’t got the latest version download it here:
You can plan your journey » easily on our web site; our Journey Planner helps you plan your journey door-to-door using First buses and a selection of other transport options, including any connecting services.
You can also find out when a bus is due at a stop by visiting our Next Bus page » and finding your bus stop easily on the map.
If the times are shown in minutes that’s live time so you know exactly when the bus will come. Otherwise it’s showing the timetable time – so you’ll know when the bus is due.
We want it to be easy for you to plan a bus journey, and if you would like some guidance on how to catch a bus we have put together a guide for you here:
Within the guide we explain how to:
Select a region below and then the ticket type you are interested in.
For specific stop-to-stop Singles or Return tickets, please contact us below with the area you are travelling in, service number you are using and the stops you are travelling between so we can help.
03300 947 577 - Monday – Friday 08:00 - 18:00.
Up to two children under five years of age may travel free-of-charge provided that they do not occupy a seat required by an adult passenger and are accompanied by a responsible fare-paying customer. Additional children, or children under five occupying a seat required by an adult, may be charged as if they were aged five or over. Children 16 and above will need to pay a fare; in some cases this will be the adult fare, but in some areas we are able to offer reduced fares for young people. Please select the ticket section of your area for more details.
Where a child may appear older than 15 (the maximum age for a child fare), the driver may ask them to verify their age. We would always seek to avoid any embarrassment, so in such cases it may be helpful for the young person to carry additional photo identification.
mTickets: One of the best ways to buy tickets is to use mTickets on the First Bus App, it’s quick, easy and cash free. Download the app and follow the instructions, it’s that simple.
We encourage customers to switch from cash to mobile payments, following our research which showed that boarding time and average journey times would improve if even just half of customers used mobile ticketing.
Online: You can also buy your tickets here on this website. Select your local area from the drop down menu below to get started.
On-board: You can still buy tickets on the bus, and you can use contactless payments on our buses to make this easier.
To find out more about a specific journey, please select your region below;
We've launched Tap & Cap in select areas - capped contactless payments, however many journeys you make. With Tap & Cap you'll never pay more than our Day or Week fare.
Find out more:
There are a number of reasons why your card payment may have been declined:
- Some of the card/personal/authorisation details entered do not match the information held by your card issuer. Please make sure that the card-holder address and post code you entered exactly match card-holder address and post code registered with your card issuer. Do not add commas or other punctuation in the address.
- Your payment request may have been declined by your card issuer.
- If your bank thinks this purchase is unusual behaviour for your account they might block the transaction.
- If your bank account is not based in the UK: Some banks automatically put a stop to paying for things internationally.
- Your card may be or is due to expire and has been replaced by your card issuer.
- Your card may have recently been replaced by your card issuer but not yet activated.
- Your card may have been reported as lost or stolen and been cancelled by your card issuer.
- If you are sure your card details are correct please either contact your bank or try again later.
- Card payments can sometimes be declined because of an issue with your bank's systems; the fault could be with your card issuer.
If the problem persists you should contact your card issuer for further information.
Yes, our First Bus App has a ticket gifting function, allowing you to purchase a bus ticket and transfer it directly to your child’s phone.
The First Bus App, is quick, easy to use and cash free. Download the app and follow the instructions, it’s that simple.
For more information please visit our ticket gifting page.
* Available on many of our routes.
In some areas the local council has installed displays at Bus stops, some will show scheduled timetable information and real time information.
We also provide service disruption updates via Twitter and on our Service Updates pages on the regional sections of this website (please use the drop down menu below to go to one of our regional sections) and on the First Bus App. So if you use Twitter, follow your local First Twitter page to stay informed.
Yes, our day tickets, week tickets, month tickets and longer term tickets provide savings compared to multiple single cash fares.
One of the best ways to buy these tickets is to use mTickets on the First Bus App, it’s quick, easy and cash free. Download the app and follow the instructions, it’s that simple.
For a full range of our ticket options, please select your region below:
You can purchase tickets in advance via mTickets on the First Bus App and on this website, but at the present-time we do not provide the option to reserve a seat. We review demand regularly and our timetables take this into account. Where you are travelling to the airport with us, we recommend that you allow plenty of time for your journey.
Our Airport services have additional space for luggage, please ask the driver for help to load and unload your bags if you require assistance.
We have put procedures in place to make our buses accessible.
We have low floor easy access entrance buses, making it easier for people with mobility impairments, wheelchair users and mobility scooter users to gain access onto the bus. For more information, visit our Bus Accessibility Page.
If you use a mobility scooter, we will need to approve your scooter (because mobility scooters vary in size) and be happy to issue you with a permit for travel before you will be allowed to bring it on board our buses, so please follow the approval steps provided on our Bus Accessibility Page
Our buses are suitable for bringing a buggy on board, but the areas suitable for buggies are shared with wheelchairs, so on occasion you may be asked to fold your buggy. Please check the buggies section on our bus accessibility page for more information.
If you require more assistance when using our buses, you may find our Extra Help to Travel Cards useful as they show the driver what extra help you may require - you can download your own copy to print.
There are several different messages for you to select from, choose the one that best suits your particular needs and then cut out or fold the card so that the message you want is visible.
There are ticket options on some routes that are valid with certain other bus operators. We are also part of PLUSBUS which means you can combine bus and train travel. Select your region below to find out more about combining travel, or feel free to ask your driver when getting on the bus.
Get in touch
We have dedicated pages for our First Bus App so please click here » where you can read our App FAQs, instructions and contact details for our dedicated app support customer service team.
If you want to make a formal complaint and get a personal response, we aim to make that as easy as possible for you too. We’ll listen to you and do everything we can to put things right. Please call us on 0345 646 0707. Our lines are open from 8am to 6pm Mon-Fri. Our quieter times are usually between 11am and 3pm so you may prefer to call then as there will be less of a wait to speak to one of our Customer Support Agents who will be happy to listen to you.
We will always try to make sure that you only need to contact us once to resolve your issue but if we need to investigate, we will work hard to get a response to you within 7 days. If it’s a more complex investigation, this could take us up to 14 days. If we need to investigate, we will always give you a case reference number to quote if you contact us again so that the agent you speak to can quickly find the information they need to update you. You can feel confident that our agents will always be polite and do as much as they can to help you.
If you have experienced an incident with one of our buses, then please make a note of the bus number which is a 5 digit number and can be found on the front and back of our buses and near the driver inside the bus. This will help us to access any CCTV on the bus more quickly which may help with any investigation.
If you prefer, you can fill out the contact form here instead. We will get back to you as soon as we can but please be aware that it could take up to 14 days to look into your complaint and respond to you.
If you’re not happy with our response to your complaint, then our escalations team and our Customer Services Manager will take a look at your complaint and the response we’ve given you to make sure that we’ve done everything we can to resolve it. We always aim to resolve our customer complaints directly but if you’re not happy with our final response under the ‘Alternative Dispute Resolution under the Consumer Rights Act, you can contact Bus Users UK who will try to help you get a satisfactory outcome. Bus Users UK represents bus passengers. They aim to help communication between bus users and the people that provide your bus service. You can contact them by going to www.bususers.org. Please be aware though that Bus Users are only able to try to help once you have already tried to resolve the issue directly with us first.
If you can’t find the information you need within these FAQs, then you can contact us directly and we’ll try to help.
You can call us on 0345 646 0707. Our lines are open from 8am to 6pm Mon-Fri. Our quieter times are usually between 11am and 3pm so you may prefer to call then as there will be less of a wait to speak to one of our Customer Support Agents.
If you prefer, you can fill out the contact form here instead. We will get back to you as soon as we can but please be aware that for lost property enquiries our response time is usually within 3 working days for all other enquiries this could take up to 14 days.
If you've got a minute or two, we'd really appreciate it if you can tell us how we’re doing. We're working hard to give you the best bus service possible, so let us know what we're doing well or if there's something not quite right:
Although we won’t be able to send you a personal response, rest assured we’ll read all your comments. Your views really matter, so please complete the form and share the good, and the not so good stuff - we’re all ears.
Problem with your journey?
We provide extra buses at busy times so you may see buses heading to their starting point (or returning to the depot at the end of shift). If we are experiencing delays, we may send buses empty to the other end of a route to ensure that everyone along the route is still provided with a service. Our buses undergo regular maintenance so you may also spot one of our engineers running a test.
We encourage customers to switch from cash to mobile payments using mTickets on the First Bus App, as it makes boarding the bus quicker and easier. It’s perfect for buying your tickets in advance. Our research showed that boarding time and average journey times would improve if even just half of customers used mobile ticketing.
We accept contactless payments across all First bus operating companies. There's no need for cash, one tap of your contactless card, Apple Pay or Google Pay and you’re aboard and ready to go, no need to worry about having the right change.
You can make contactless payments for any ticket payment up to £45, using any contactless card displaying the Visa or Mastercard logo.
In Glasgow, West Lothian and Aberdeen we operate our services on an exact fare, no change given basis. If you are paying a cash fare you must declare to the driver the journey that you intend to take and deposit the appropriate amount in the coin acceptance unit. The driver will have no access to change in the event of overpayment.
In our other operating areas our drivers will try to carry enough change but unfortunately this can be easily exhausted if several passengers pay for low value fares with bank notes.
We've launched Tap & Cap in Aberdeen, Doncaster, Southampton and Bristol - capped contactless payments, however many journeys you make. With Tap & Cap you'll never pay more than our Day or Week fare. Find out more ⇒
Our network is designed to provide high quality services wherever there is demand for them. Your route or timetable may change because of a change in demand. We are constantly monitoring/reviewing our network to reflect changing travel patterns and demands from our customers and we never change a route or timetable unnecessarily. Similarly, if we do not currently serve a particular location, it is because there is not sufficient demand to sustain a bus service, or it is simply not possible to run a bus there.
We always publish our changes in advance if a bus route is changing.
We work hard to ensure that our services run as smoothly and efficiently as they can. Some things however are out of our control, and we can’t prepare for unexpected problems such as weather conditions or road accidents. If there are any major issues or planned disruptions, we’ll let you know about them on our website and Twitter.
On our website Next Bus section and our First Bus App, you can see how far away your bus is in real-time*. The Next Bus information will show you exactly how many minutes away your bus is too.
* Available on many of our routes.
We also encourage customers to switch from cash to mobile payments using mTickets on the First Bus App, following our research which showed that boarding time and average journey times would improve if even just half of customers used mobile ticketing.
We're sorry if we missed you or appeared to leave without you. It is possible that the bus you intended to catch was full or that our driver might not have seen you.
Problems with traffic or adverse weather conditions can lead to services being cancelled, meaning the next bus can be overcrowded. We monitor all of our services, and if we notice that one journey is often busy, we will try to provide extra buses.
If this is an ongoing problem then please do let us know by going to tellfirstbus.com » and give us feedback – it will only take 2 minutes.
We will do our best to make sure that you get your lost property back as quickly as possible.
Hundreds of items are left on our buses every week. Our drivers collect property left on our buses and take it back to the depot to be registered. Our depot teams will do their best to get every item registered on the system the next day, but it can take up to 2 working days for this to happen.
In most cases, we’ll keep any lost property for a month to give you time to claim it. We can’t do this though if the item is perishable (e.g. food) or if it’s a debit or credit card. For bank cards, In-line with guidance from the banks, to protect the owner from risk of fraud, we destroy cards securely when found, please contact your bank as soon as possible.
If you’ve left something on one of our buses, the best way to get it back is to complete the contact form at the bottom of this page and select "Lost Property" from the drop-down menu. Please give as much detail as you can about the bus trip and the item to help us track it down for you.
If we find a potential match on the system, we’ll email you to let you know where and when you can collect your item. This will usually be within 2 or 3 days depending on how quickly found items are registered on the system. If you want to check if your item has been found after a couple of days and you haven’t heard from us, then please contact our customer service team on the number listed in the contact us page below.
You’ll need to bring some photo ID with you when you collect your item.
Just to let you know, we may charge a small fee when you collect your item (up to £2 plus VAT) to help towards the cost of handling and storing lost property items from our buses.
If you find lost property on one of our buses:
Please hand anything accidentally left on a bus to your driver.
Help with mTickets and our App
We have a dedicated page for mTickets so please click here » where you can read our mTickets FAQs, instructions and contact details for our dedicated app support customer service team.
We aim to respond to all tweets within 20 minutes and will make sure we have the information we need to resolve your complaint. If we can’t sort things out straight away, we’ll investigate and will aim to come back to you within 7 days. Sometimes though, this can take us up to 14 days if the investigation is a bit more complex.
We are available on Twitter 7am until 7pm Monday to Friday, and 9am-5pm weekends and bank holidays.
If you’re not happy with our response
If you’re not happy with our response, then our escalations team and our Customer Services Manager will take a look at your complaint and the response we’ve given you to make sure that we’ve done everything we can to resolve it. We always aim to resolve our customer complaints directly but if you’re not happy with our final response you may be able to have this reviewed by Bus Users UK.
You can check if your case is eligible using this link: https://bususers.org/passengers/complaints/complaints-process/ Bus Users UK are an independent body who will review the evidence of your complaint and make a recommendation for us to review.
Bus Users Contact details are https://bususers.org/contact-us/ or phone: 0300 111 0001. Please be aware though that Bus Users are only able to try to help after you have tried to resolve the issue directly with us.
Protecting your data
mTickets are the most convenient way to buy tickets 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
We will do our best to make sure that you get your lost property back as quickly as possible.
Ukrainian Travel Scheme
Free travel scheme for Ukrainian arrivals.