Thursday, January 06, 2011

Put the right money in the slot, you muppet!

Laughing out loud at the South Wales Echo yesterday...

CARDIFF Bus pocketed almost £28,000 in excess payments in just one year from passengers without the correct change to pay their fare, we can reveal today. Frustrated travellers criticised the policy which means drivers are unable to give change to passengers who do not have the right amount of cash. Bus users overspent by £27,756.91 in the financial year 2009-10 – an excess of more than £500 a week.

Passenger Craig Pearce, of Llandaff North, said he could not understand why drivers were unable to give change to customers, and said he thought the £76-a-day surplus should go to charity. He said: “If you use the Stagecoach buses, they give you change – if one company does it, why can’t another?”

...Well then, Craig Pearce - you are a stupid muppet! Just look at the fares charged on Cardiff Bus. You have only 2 choices - a single journey within Cardiff for £1.50 or an all day unlimited travel ticket within Cardiff, Penarth, Llandough, Dinas Powys, Sully & Wenvoe for £3.00 - and you cannot be bothered to tender the exact fare! Any overpayment by lazy passengers like yourself goes into the company account. This very small extra revenue is used to support the business of running a frequent and reliable bus service for everyone. The Fast Fare, exact fare only system has been in Cardiff long before I moved here in 1991.

Exact fare bus services are also employed in other large cities around the UK. The reason for Exact Fare bus services is simple - it takes time for passengers to board a bus and tender their fare. If this involves the issuing of change to the lazy and inconsiderate passenger, the boarding time is increased. When you have a high frequency city bus service, you need so many buses to do the route to that frequency. To maintain that same frequency and give change to the lazy and inconsiderate passengers, you will have to operate an additional bus into the workings. This additional bus would incur the full operating costs of an extra bus but the revenue gained into the company would be the same. Therefore the revenue per vehicle would be lower on change giving routes and would affect the company profit and loss over the year. When revenues are tight, this shortfall in revenue per vehicle could enforce a fare increase for all passengers across the city. Then you would have a fare increase for everyone because of a few lazy and inconsiderate passengers who cannot be bothered to tender the exact fare and demand change. Over time the other passengers would discover that the driver can issue change and human nature being what it is, more and more passengers would not have the exact fare. Slowly boarding times would increase and extra buses would have to be operated to maintain the frequency of the services with an inevitable fare increase for all.

I have driven buses in Bristol where change is given. When I moved to Cardiff in 1991 I got a job driving buses for Cardiff Bus. I have 6 years experience of driving buses in Cardiff and the Fast Fare exact fare only system really works. It is really efficient and boarding times are fast, making the whole bus service very efficient. So Craig Pearce, of Llandaff North, if you want to waste everyone's time and money then catch the Stagecoach and leave the Cardiff Bus to considerate passengers who can be bothered to get their act together with their £1.50 or £3.00 as they walk to their local bus stop.
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