First Group to offer refunds for late buses (and put fares up)

Number 73 Bus in Bradley Stoke

Local bus operator First Group Bristol has announced that it is to start offering refunds to customers affected by late-running buses.

The company is to introduce a new ‘customer promise’ from Sunday 1st April that will allow bus users to claim against First if one of its buses:

“… leaves a defined timing point more than one minute early, more than 20 minutes late or if it fails to operate a journey at all, and the company is found to be at fault”.

Travellers wishing to make a claim will have to fill out a form, available from travel shops and bus stations or downloadable from the company’s website from 1st April.

The move is said to reflect the group’s “increasing confidence in its ability to operate buses more punctually and reliably than ever before”.

First’s Regional Commercial and Business Growth Director, Marc Reddy, said:

“This marks a natural progression for our business. In recent years we have seen increasing investment in transport in Bristol and the surrounding areas not least in projects such as the Greater Bristol Bus Network. We’re already starting to see the impact on travel patterns in Bristol with more people now willing to use the bus.”

Sadly, it’s not all good news for bus travellers as First has also announced that fare increases will be come into force on the same day that the customer promise is introduced.

Fares for adult return fares in Bristol and South Gloucestershire will increase by between 10 and 30 pence, while the cost of an adult monthly season ticket for zones 1 & 2 will increase from £64 to £68.

The company blames the fare increases on the rising cost of fuel and the Government’s decision to reduce the Bus Service Operators’ Grant (previously known as the ‘fuel duty rebate’) as part of its Comprehensive Spending Review.

A sweetener offered in parallel with the higher fares will allow holders of season tickets to travel further within the region at weekends.

Mr Reddy explained:

“This means that a customer in possession of a First Week, Month or Annual ticket will, for instance, be able to travel to Bath, Wells, Weston or beyond, at weekends entirely on us, even if their pass is only normally valid for travel within Bristol city itself.”

Read more: First Group Bristol press release, 8th March 2012

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  1. Why, rather than having to administer refunds, don’t First just waive the fare if the bus is late? Would cost less to implement.

  2. So……. how will you get a refund if the bus is more than twenty minutes late on a fifteen minute service. how will you know its not the next bus arrived early. Will it have a sign stating what time it should have got to the bus stop and didnt.

  3. Read the small print. it only applies to cash purchase tickets and you will get a free ride not money back. Another con by firstbus

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