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Conditions of Carriage

 

Introduction

 
Thamesdown Transport is the principal bus operator in Swindon, carrying around 160,000 passengers every week on over 70 buses throughout the town and surrounding areas.
 
With so many people using our buses, we have to set out guidelines and rules to ensure the safety and comfort of all passengers. These Conditions of Carriage have been fully updated to inform and advise you about the rules on our buses and the expectations we have of you as a passenger, when travelling with us.
 
1. When you buy a ticket or use a pass or a smartcard to travel on one of the buses operated by Thamesdown Transport, you enter into an agreement with the Company.
 
2. These Conditions of Carriage apply to all services operated by the Company and set out your rights and duties as a passenger with us.
 

Statement of Purpose

 
3. Our Statement of Purpose is:
 
- To provide a safe, high quality and reliable bus service for Swindon
 
- To be profitable
 
- To exceed our customers’ expectations
 
- To minimise the environmental impact of our operations where possible
 
- To engage with our stakeholders and adopt a partnership approach with the local authorities
 

Passenger Charter

 
4. As Swindon’s major transport provider, our aim is to continually improve the standard of our service. This includes every aspect of our network, from punctuality and reliability to staff politeness, vehicle cleanliness, route branding and vehicle allocation.
 
5. Thamesdown Transport’s vision is to provide the best possible public transport service for the people of Swindon. We aim to:
 
- Deliver the most reliable service possible;
 
- Keep you informed about changes to your services;
 
- Supply accessible and understandable information about our services;
 
- Provide safe and comfortable vehicles;
 
- Operate our services with friendly and helpful staff.
 
6. The Company has identified performance indicators and has set a challenging target for each one. Our performance indicators and our delivery aims are:
 
- Service reliability – to operate at least 99.8% of all journeys;
 
- Service punctuality – at least 95% of scheduled journeys to leave the advertised timing points no more than five minutes late or one minute early (this is the definition of “on time” used by our regulator, the Traffic Commissioner);
 
- Service fleet – to have an average vehicle age of less than 8 years.
 
We display regular reports about the reliability and punctuality of our services on our website and at our Travel Shop.
 

Getting in Touch

 
7. The Company values all passenger feedback, comment and praise on all aspects of our service.
 
8. To contact us, you can:
 
- Email – customerservices@thamesdown-transport.co.uk
 
- Phone – 01793 428428 (Customer Helpline)
 
- Twitter – @thamesdown
 
- Visit us – at our Travel Shop in Fleming Way
 
- Write to – Thamesdown Transport Limited, Barnfield Road, Swindon, SN2 2DJ
 
9. The Travel Shop is open:
 
Mondays to Fridays 0900 to 1730
 
Saturdays 0900 to 1700
 
10. Our Customer Helpline is open:
 
Mondays to Fridays  0830 to 2000
 
 
 
11. Opening hours of the Travel Shop and Customer Helpline may vary at holiday periods. See website for details.
 
12. Timetable information is also available independently from Traveline on 0871 200 22 33 or http://www.travelinesw.com/. The Company cannot accept any responsibility for information on its services supplied by third parties.
 

Complaints and Comments

 
13. Safety, comfort, reliability and customer care are our top priorities and, in order to help us to achieve high standards in these areas, we welcome your feedback and suggestions regarding all aspects of our services.
 
14. Occasionally things may go wrong, sometimes because of matters outside our control. We want to hear about it to allow us to take appropriate action. If you let us know when something is wrong, then we have the opportunity to put it right.
 
15. All complaints must be directed to the Company (details in “Getting in Touch”) where your details will be taken, logged and referred for investigation. Complaints should be received within 48 hours of the incident to allow us to investigate promptly and thoroughly.
 
16. You should expect all straightforward comments and complaints to be answered within ten working days.
 
17. When making a complaint, please try to provide sufficient details to assist with our investigation,
 
- Your name and address
 
- The bus service number and destination
 
- The bus stop where you got on
 
- The time and date of occurrence
 
- Bus fleet number or registration number
 
- Your smartcard number (if you used one) or your ticket, if you paid by cash, are very useful to us.
 
18. We will investigate all your complaints thoroughly, and take corrective action where necessary or practicable. Where your complaint is about a driver’s conduct, Company Policy is that the exact outcome of any investigation will not be disclosed, since this information is of a sensitive nature.
 
19. If you are not satisfied with our response, you can contact Bus Users UK, P O Box 119, Shepperton, TW17 8UX.
 

Timetables and Service Performance

 
20. Timetables for all our services are available from the Travel Shop in Fleming Way, on this website and by post. You can ring us on 01793 428428 and we will post them to you.
 
21. Journey Planning advice and support is available from the Travel Shop or on our website (provided by Traveline).
 
22. Notification of changes to services will be available at least seven days in advance and information will be sent to customers by post on request to our Customer Helpline, 01793 428428. Notice will also be given on our website and buses.
 
23. The timetable for any service is a guide to the times which we plan to operate the bus and our timetables are designed to reflect different traffic conditions across the day.
 
24. Passengers are advised to arrive at the bus stop 5 minutes before the scheduled departure time.
 
25. On occasions buses cannot be run at the times and frequencies advertised due to reasons beyond our control, and we may have to cancel journeys or divert services where we are unable to operate the advertised route or timetable. This can be due to severe traffic conditions, adverse weather, roadworks, other disruptions or other reasons beyond our control. We reserve the right, therefore, to alter, suspend or withdraw any service and to alter the route, bus stops or times of any service without notice or liability to you. We will endeavour to keep cistomers updated via Twitter of any delays or cancellations.
 
26. Where we have to change the service because of road works or other factors, we will advertise the fact on the bus stops affected, and on our website, provided sufficient advance notice is received. In the event of significant disruption to services, details will be passed to the local radio stations.
 

Getting on the Bus

 
27. For safety reasons, buses will only stop at recognised bus stops to allow passengers to board or alight.
 
28. The service number for each service is clearly shown on all bus stops maintained by the Company.
 
29. As the bus approaches, check the service number and destination on the bus to make sure it is the service you want. If in doubt, ask the driver.
 
30. All of our bus stops are “request stops” and you should signal clearly to the driver as the bus approaches to let him/her know you wish to board.
 
31. When the bus has stopped, allow passengers to get off the bus first.
 
32. Once buses have closed their doors and the driver has signalled to pull away, you will not be able to board the bus because the driver is committed to rejoining the main traffic flow.
 
33. Responsibility for bus shelters and the bus station rests with the local authority. We are responsible for maintaining up-to-date information at bus stops and employ a dedicated team to provide information at stops.
 

Paying your Fare

 
34. To speed up journey times and to get you to your destination as quickly as possible, we operate an exact fare policy and change is not available on the bus (subject to the provisions of clause 35).
 
35. Drivers on rural services (currently service numbers 19, 20, X20, 21, 22, X22, 33, 42, 43, 46, 46A, 48, 48A, 70A, 72A, 95, 217) are usually able to supply change to enable you to pay the exact fare, although your assistance in having the correct fare ready is appreciated. 
 
36. When boarding the bus with a ticket you have purchased previously, or a pass, please show it to the driver so he can check that it is valid for travel. If you have a smartcard place it on the bullseye on top of the ticket machine.
 
37. If buying a new ticket please state your destination and the ticket type you require to the driver and place the exact fare in the coin vault.
 
38. Please take your ticket as proof of payment and check that you have the correct ticket for your journey. Please inform the driver at the time of issue in the event that you have not received the ticket you have paid for because errors cannot be rectified at a later date.
 
39. Please retain your ticket, pass or smartcard, in good condition, and make it available for inspection upon request.
 
40. We cannot replace or reissue damaged, lost or mutilated tickets or passes. See the Terms and Conditions on the reverse of the Smartcard Application Form for details about smartcard replacements.
 

Fares

 
41. When you make a journey, you have to pay for a ticket on the bus or use a previously purchased ticket, pass or smartcard. Tickets, passes and smartcards must be retained at all times during your journey for inspection by a Company employee, or any authorised agent or subcontractor.
 
42. A full list of available tickets and prices are contained in our Fares Guide or on this website. A fare table for all services is available for inspection from the driver.
 
43. Tickets are not transferable between passengers when making journeys, and can only be used by the person buying the ticket and must not be resold or given away for further use. This provision does not apply to SmartFare (stored value smartcard) which can be used to pay the fare(s) of non-card holder(s) provided the registered card holder is travelling with him/her.
 
44. Single fares are valid for one journey between two points on the same bus at the time of purchase. A break in the journey is not permitted.
 
45. Return tickets (where available) are only valid on the day of issue. Return tickets are valid for one journey in each direction between the two points stated on the ticket. When boarding for the return journey, please hand the ticket to the driver for validation, which will be done by punching a hole in the ticket.
 
46. Where fares are arranged in zones a single journey within one fare zone will be charged at the one zone rate. A single journey crossing a fare zone boundary one or more times will be charged at the two zone rate. Changing buses or services will require the payment of a second fare unless the service is advertised as a connecting through journey.
 
47. Where fares are arranged in stages, when a passenger boards between fare stages the journey is charged from the previous stage. Where a passenger alights between fare stages, the journey is charged to the next stage.
 
48. Where a passenger knowingly pays a lower fare than applies for their journey, and is caught doing so by Company staff, the passenger must pay for a new ticket. The price of this ticket will be from the point where the original ticket ended to the final destination.
 
49. Up to 4 children under the age of 5 may travel free with a fare-paying adult passenger.
 
50. Child cash fares are available for passengers aged 5 to 15 inclusive . From the 28th August 2016 Young Person Fares are available to anyone under the age of 20 using Swindon urban Services. Please see the Fares Guide for details.
 
51. The Company accepts valid Concessionary Travel Passes in accordance with the national scheme requirements (and additional local enhancements where available). Please contact your Council for details of available concessions.
 
52. The Company does not undertake to refund any ticket, pass or smartcard which has been lost, stolen, unused (including partially unused) or forfeited, but may do so at its sole discretion. Refunds will not be made in respect of any ticket, pass or card which has 7 days or less of validity remaining.
 
53. Any authorised refund in respect of a ticket, pass or card with a validity up to and including three months will be calculated on a pro rata basis and the Company will deduct an administration fee of 10% of the pro rata value from the refund issued and subject to a minimum fee of £3.
 
54. Any authorised refund in respect of a ticket, pass or card with a validity of more than three months will be calculated by applying a cancellation charge of 20% to the pro rata value of travel already used (part months to count as complete months).
 
55. Terms and conditions of use of smartcards are shown on the Smartcard Application Form.
 

Wheelchairs

 
56. Since 1998 we have only purchased fully accessible buses which are designed to accommodate wheelchairs.
 
57. Since 1st May 2013 100% of our single-deck buses were of the low floor type, certified as fully accessible.
 
58. Since 1st September 2013 100% of our double-deck buses were of the the low floor type. All bar one "reserve" bus were certified as fully accessible.
 
59. Fully accessible buses display a blue wheelchair logo on the exterior of the bus near the doors. Wheelchairs can only be accommodated on a bus displaying this logo. All vehicles show the maximum number of wheelchairs to be carried on any vehicle at any one time. This number cannot be exceeded.
 
60. The wheelchair area is suitable for a “standard reference wheelchair” which has a maximum width of 700mm, a length of 1200mm, sitting height 1350mm, footrest 150mm from the floor. Electric wheelchairs are treated the same as other wheelchairs. Class 2 mobility scooters must be no more than 1000mm in length and 600mm in width. Larger Class 2 or any Class 3 type we are not permitted on buses.
 
61. Fully accessible buses are fitted with ramps and backrests for the safety of the wheelchair user.
 
62. One wheelchair can be accommodated per bus and the wheelchair must have full access to the bay when on board. Pushchairs cannot be accommodated when there is a wheelchair already in the bay.
 
63. The driver will lower the ramp for a wheelchair user to allow them access on and off the bus on request.
 
64. A wheelchair user must apply the brake when travelling. The back of the wheelchair must be positioned against the backrest. Wheelchairs are not permitted to travel facing sideways.
 
65. A wheelchair user does not have any priority over any other passenger on the bus and the space designed to accommodate a wheelchair is available on a first come, first served basis.
 
66. If the space is already occupied and when there is room, the driver will ask people if they are prepared to relocate to another area of the bus, although legally the driver has no power to compel anyone to move.
 
67. If the space is occupied and there is no room anywhere else for passengers to relocate to or they are not prepared to relocate, the wheelchair user must wait for the next available bus.
 
68. Thamesdown Transport endeavours to operate wheelchair accessible buses on all advertised fully-accessible routes, though may in extreme cases have to allocate a standard bus when a fully-accessible vehicle is unavailable, e.g. due to maintenance requirements, breakdown or vandalism.
 

Pushchairs

 
69. Unfolded pushchairs can usually be accommodated on low floor buses. As at 1st September 2012 all of our single-deck buses are of the low floor type, but our double-deckers are not.
 
70. A person with a pushchair does not have any priority over any other passenger on the bus and the space designed to accommodate a pushchair is available on a first come, first served basis.
 
71. The pushchair’s brakes must be applied at all times when it is parked within the bus.
 
72. Pushchairs must not be left unattended. The parent/guardian must either sit or stand with the pushchair. The child must be left in the pushchair and the pushchair must not be overloaded with bags.
 
73. Parents/guardians have a responsibility to ensure that the gangway is not obstructed by any part of the pushchair.
 
74. When no wheelchair user is using the designated wheelchair space it may be occupied by pushchair users. However, pushchair users are asked to give up this space if a wheelchair user wishes to board.
 
75. Once the designated space for pushchairs has been occupied any further passengers wishing to board must remove their child from the pushchair and stow the pushchair in the luggage rack.
 

Behaviour on the Bus – Your Responsibilities as a Passenger

 
76. In order to ensure that your bus journey and that of other passengers is safe and comfortable, we ask you to note the following.
 
77. All passengers are carried on our services subject to the Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981 and the Public Service Vehicles (Conduct of Drivers, Conductors and Passengers) Regulations 1990, as amended in 1995 and 2002.
 
78. When on the bus, you must not:
 
a) Smoke
  (includes E-cigarettes)
b) Consume alcohol or hot or smelly food
 
c) Damage or deface any part of the bus
 
d) Use a music system set at a volume that will annoy other passengers
 
e) Spit
 
f) Offend the driver or fellow passengers
 
g) Put at risk or cause discomfort to other passengers, the driver or an inspector
 
h) Act in a violent or abusive manner
 
i) Obstruct the gangway
 
j) Throw items from the bus
 
k) Lean out of the windows
 
l) Leave litter on the bus
 
m) Speak to or distract the driver when the bus is in motion except in emergency situations
 
n) Intentionally interfere with any equipment fitted to the bus
 
o) Alter or deface your ticket
 
p) Engage in any criminal activity.
 
79. In the interests of health and safety, you must always follow instructions given either by signage on the bus or by any member of our staff, agents and or subcontractors.
 
80. Emergency doors and windows must only be used in the event of an emergency or when directed by the driver or other authorised person.
 
81. Passengers or members of the public must not, without written permission from the Company, distribute or leave any materials or sell any articles on the bus.
 
82. Any passenger who is reasonably suspected by the driver or other Company official of contravening the above Regulations shall give their name and address to the driver or official on demand. They may also be asked to leave or be removed from the vehicle by the driver or any member of our staff, agents and/or subcontractors, or the Police.
 
83. Our staff have the right to work without fear of intimidation, verbal abuse or physical assault and we will support prosecutions against any passengers who do not adhere to this.
 

Standing Passengers

 
84. Limited standing is available on all our buses as determined by the standing limit displayed in the lower saloon of all vehicles.
 
85. Where passengers choose to stand when there are still seats available, other intending passengers may be deprived of the chance to board, so your co-operation in moving down the vehicle is appreciated.
 
86. Standing is not permitted on the platform of any bus, nor on the stairs or upper deck of double deck buses.
 
87. When standing, please make use of the handrails, seat backs and stanchions fitted.
 

Getting off the Bus

 
88. When you wish to get off the bus, please ring the bell once in good time to let the driver know you want to alight. Drivers may only stop to set down passengers at authorised bus stops.
 
89. For your comfort and safety, please give the driver sufficient time to be able to slow down properly for your stop. If you are mobility impaired, please wait for the bus to stop before leaving your seat.
 
90. Do not stand too close to the doors when waiting to alight.
 
91. You must not alight when the vehicle is still in motion.
 

CCTV and Data Protection

 
92. CCTV is in use on our buses. CCTV can record images for your safety, crime prevention, for insurance purposes and to ensure that our Company policies and procedures are complied with. CCTV data may be passed to the police to aid investigation of crime in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.
 
93. We will take all reasonable precautions to keep your personal details secure, but, unless we are negligent, we will not be liable for unauthorised access to information supplied by you to us.
 

Animals

 
94. A dog on a lead can travel for a flat fare (as advertised). Guide, hearing and assistance dogs accompanying disabled people travel free of charge. Other small animals, caged or boxed, may travel free.
 
95. No animal may be placed on a seat.
 
96. You must comply with applicable legislation in relation to any pets travelling with you. The responsibility for keeping an animal under control rests entirely with the owner and any passenger must immediately comply with any request from any Company employee, agent or subcontractor to leave the vehicle if the animal they are responsible for is causing upset or distress to other passengers.
 

Luggage and Lost Property

 
97. The driver has the right to refuse, at his sole discretion, any item of property being brought on to the bus which they consider is unsuitable for carriage. Such items include:
 
a) Explosive, hazardous or combustible materials
 
b) Tins of paint or other similar liquids if not in sealed containers
 
c) Sheets of glass
 
d) Non-folding bicycles
 
e) An item which would cause offence or injury to passengers or staff
 
f) An item likely to cause damage to the bus
 
g) Any item of an excessive size.
 
98. Luggage must be safely stowed away so as not to cause any obstruction to gangways or emergency exits.
 
99. The responsibility for any item of property on the bus rests with the owner.
 
100. Regulations regarding lost property on buses are contained in the PSV (Lost Property) Regulations 1978, as amended in 1995.
 
101. In the event of you losing an item of property on one of our buses, please contact us on 01793 428429 where we will be happy to check if an item has been handed in. Property can be reclaimed from our Travel Shop from 1030 on the next working day after being found. Property found on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays can be reclaimed from 1030 on the following Monday.
 
102. For important items, such as purses, handbags or mobile phones, if we are notified immediately we will try to arrange for a radio call to be made to drivers to look for an item. Please ensure you have as much information about the route, time, direction of travel, where you were sitting and bus stop you boarded or alighted at when you contact us.
 
103. Where the name and address of the owner of the item is readily ascertainable we will endeavour to contact him/her. Licences, passports, visas, credit and debit cards, etc. will be returned to the issuing authority.
 
104. Any passenger who finds an item of lost property on the bus has a legal obligation to hand it to the bus driver. Our drivers will, where practicable, check the bus for lost property at each terminal stop.
 
105. All items of lost property are stored for one month and then disposed of. Perishable and objectionable items may be disposed of immediately. Any disposal of lost property in accordance with this clause shall be without any liability whatsoever to you.
 
106. We reserve the right, at our sole discretion, to open, examine and/or destroy any items of lost property.
 
107. When collecting any item of lost property, contact details must be provided and proof of identity will be required.
 

Compensation

 
108. Any claim for compensation for any additional travel costs incurred by you as a result of our service is considered on a case by case basis and the final decision will be made at our sole discretion. Where additional costs have been incurred, receipts and supporting evidence must be provided to us.
 
109. If, because of events within the Company’s control, your journey is delayed by more than 20 minutes, we will refund your fare with a travel voucher of equal value.
 
110. If, because of events within the Company’s control, you are not provided with transport within 60 minutes of the scheduled departure time, we will refund the cost of a taxi on production of a written claim and receipt.
 
111. The Company will not be responsible for any consequential losses arising from the failure of a service or journey to operate as advertised or at all.
 

The Legal Bits

 
112. We are liable to you for:
 
a) Any death or personal injury due to our failure to use reasonable skill and care;
 
b) Any reasonable losses you incur as a direct result of us breaching these Conditions of Carriage.
 
113. We will not be liable to you for any failure to perform, or a delay in the performance of, any of our obligations under these Conditions of Carriage that is caused by events outside our reasonable control.
 
114. We are liable to you without limit for our fraud or death or personal injury caused by our negligence. Our liability for all other liability relating to these Conditions of Carriage is limited to £200 in aggregate. Our liability is limited to carriage upon and boarding and alighting from this Company’s vehicles only.
 
115. The terms of these Conditions of Carriage do not affect your statutory rights.
 
116. Thamesdown Transport Limited is not the conveyor of commercial goods.
 
117. These Conditions of Carriage, which may be amended from time to time by us without notice, commenced on 27th May 2014 and replace all previous versions published by us.
 
118. These Conditions of Carriage are made for the benefit of the parties to them and are not intended to benefit, or be enforceable by, anyone else.
 
119. No waiver by us of any breach of these Conditions of Carriage shall be considered a waiver of any subsequent breach of the same or any other provision.
 
120. These Conditions of Carriage will be subject to English law, and the English courts will have jurisdiction in respect of any dispute arising from them.
 
Updated 14th August 2016