West Midlands Bus Passenger's Charter
Our Bus Passenger's Charter
Our Passenger Charter is our commitment to you.
We work hard to make sure every journey you take with us is as easy as possible. Our charter tells you what you can expect from all of the bus operators and Transport for West Midlands (TfWM). Whether on our buses, at our bus stations or at our bus stops, our charter sets
out what you can expect from us.
You can get a physical copy of this charter from staff at our bus
stations, our Customer Support team and bus operators.
Who is part of this charter
- Transport for West Midlands - Responsible for maintaining bus shelters, stops, stations and funding operators to run a number of bus services
- Bus operating companies - Responsible for running bus services, including setting their fares, number, route and frequency
- Safer Travel Partnership - Responsible for maintaining a safe transport network
- Passenger bodies - Responsible for representing the interests of bus passengers
Who else we work with
- West Midlands Combined Authority - The combined authority for each of the 7 local authorities in the West Midlands
- Local authorities - Local government bodies responsible for the
governance of an area. We work with local authorities in Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton
- Police forces - We work with British Transport Police and West Midlands Police to identify areas of the network vulnerable to crime
- Department for Transport - The department in central government repsonsible for the transport network across the country
About our Passenger Charter
The Government’s National Bus Strategy sets out a commitment under Bus Service Improvement Plans (BSIPs) to drive improvements for passengers through a Bus Passenger Charter (BPC) that sets out what passengers can expect from local transport authorities and bus operators delivering local bus services across their area.
This West Midlands Bus Passenger Charter has been agreed by all the local bus operators and TfWM. It covers those bus services either funded by TfWM and local bus services across the bus network serving bus stops in Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton council areas.
This charter does not affect your legal rights and does not replace the bus operators’ own conditions of carriage, which are available from the individual operators.
What to expect from the bus network
We will provide a bus network that allows residents and visitors to plan their journey and travel the region on a clean, safe and reliable network of services that are convenient and affordable.
To achieve this, we will work together to ensure that buses operate on time. If they are delayed by a reason outside of our control, for example congestion, road works, an accident, or even adverse weather, we will commit to updating passengers as quickly and accurately as possible.
Over the next 3 years, we will be investing in measures to improve punctuality and journey times along many main roads.
Keeping you informed about bus service changes
We will make sure you are aware when your bus service is changing.
We will agree a limited number of fixed dates throughout the year when necessary service changes may take place. There may be occasions when it is necessary to make some changes outside of these
dates, but we will avoid this where at all possible to provide stability on the network.
We offer the option to receive journey updates direct to your inbox.
When there are significant service changes proposed (such as changes to the first or last bus, a significant alteration of the route or where the start and end points are changing), we will engage with passengers before making changes to the bus network.
We will give you the opportunity to provide feedback on proposed changes to the network. We will ensure information on these proposals is communicated on affected bus routes, on our social media channels and directly with passengers who have opted in for updates.
We will publish a full list of upcoming service changes, updated weekly, to remind you of upcoming bus service changes.
We will provide digital access to up-to-date bus timetables a minimum of 7 days before timetable changes where possible. In the event of short notice changes beyond our control, we will update the information as soon as possible.
We will provide printed timetables and maps on request which can be requested by contacting TfWM’s Customer Services Team.
We will update physical timetable posters at all bus stops in the area as close to the change date as possible. This will be no earlier than 14 days ahead of any planned changes, and the date the timetable is valid from will be prominently displayed.
Where we are aware of disruption to services resulting in stop closures or diversions, we will provide updates online, on buses and at affected stops as far in advance as possible.
We will post updates on our social media channels:
For operator channels, please visit the individual operator website for more details.
Planning your journey
We will make it as easy as possible to plan your bus journey.
To do this, you can access journey planning, timetables and information about travelling by bus in the West Midlands in a way that suits your needs:
Call Traveline on 0871 200 22 33. Calls cost 12 pence per minute from landlines and mobiles. Your phone company may add its own access charge but it will tell you about this.
Download the free TfWM app or your local bus operator’s app from your app store on iOS or Google Play. You can plan your journey, top up your smartcard, purchase tickets and check bus times and journey information. App features may vary depending on the App used.
How to buy tickets
We will make it simple to buy a ticket, and provide options for different circumstances and budgets.
You can buy a wide range of single or multi-journey tickets for use on a daily, weekly or longer period.
- From your driver as you board using contactless, card or cash.
Please note some operators do not give change so please have small change to hand if you are paying cash.
- Download the TfWM App
- Download your bus operator's app if available
- We have Swift vending machines at several key locations across the region. Find your closest machine.
- You can top up your Swift Go or Pay as You Go card at a PayZone agent. Find your closest agent.
Depending on ticket type some can be posted to you. We also offer smart tickets.
English National Concessionary Passes
If you have an older person's or disabled person's bus pass, you can use this to travel on all local buses.
Your pass can be used if it has been issued by any Local Authority in England.
You can use your pass on buses:
- between 9.30am and 11pm, Monday to Friday
- all day at weekends and on public holidays
If your pass was issued by Transport for West Midlands, you can also use your pass:
- on buses until the end of daytime service
- off-peak on local trains
- off-peak on West Midlands Metro
If you have a pass or Smart ticket, please hold it still on the reader as you enter the bus and show this to the driver if required.
If your pass does not work, please contact the issuer for assistance and you will be advised how to arrange a replacement as quickly as possible.
Helping disabled and elderly passengers
To achieve this, we will ensure all staff are appropriately trained to provide support to any passengers who need help or assistance.
We will provide timetable information in alternative formats on request.
We offer a range of products available to make travelling easier: assistance cards, ‘Baby on board’ and ‘Please offer me a seat’ badges, bus hailers and many more. These are available from TfWM on request
and are free of charge.
All buses in the West Midlands are wheelchair accessible. Most services are operated by low-floor buses designed for easy access for disabled people, and for parents with pushchairs and buggies. Some longer distance and On-Demand services, for example coaches and smaller
vehicles, have a lift fitted which provides access for wheelchair users.
If you use a mobility scooter, many operators will offer the opportunity to test boarding and alighting safely. Some operators may require a permit to confirm that scooters are approved.
Please contact us or the bus operator before making a journey for the first time to discuss any training and permit requirements. We would recommend consulting your local bus operator prior to ordering or upgrading your scooter if possible to make sure it can be carried on board.
At our bus stations
TfWM colleagues will be easily identifiable and on site from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Saturday.
At our busiest sites, staff will be available earlier and later. Slightly different arrangements apply on Sundays.
Staff availability will be clearly displayed on posters on site, and can also be viewed online.
Our bus stations will be cleaned daily. We will have a cleaner at our staffed bus stations every day to take care of any cleaning incidents.
We will look after our bus stations and act on your feedback. If you see something that requires attention, please raise this with a member of staff or you can report it online.
We will work in partnership with operators of other modes to ensure that improved multi-modal information is provided physically and digitally at all interchanges and managed bus stations.
If your journey is disrupted, for example if the bus you are waiting for does not arrive, please ask a member of bus station staff who will do their best to contact the operator and will keep you and other passengers informed.
Some of our bus stations have public toilets and all of them have a disabled toilet. If you require the use of a disabled toilet, these can be accessed using your own RADAR key or can be opened on request by a member of staff during staffed hours.
At our bus stops
We will provide bus stopping locations that are easily identifiable and contain information about services that call at each stop. Where bus shelters are provided, we will aim to keep these clean and well maintained.
To achieve this, where there is a dedicated bus stopping point, we will provide a bus stop or shelter with a flag indicating services that use the stop. We will provide bespoke timetable information for all services that use that stop, except dedicated school services.
We will provide details of bus fares and how to pay at your bus stop. We will aim to update fares information at bus stops as close to any change date as possible
Where real-time information screens are installed, we will maintain and monitor the performance to ensure the information is as reliable as possible.
Where we are aware of planned disruption to services resulting in stop closures or diversions, we will provide updates at affected stops as far in advance as possible.
We will look after our bus stops and shelters and clean them regularly, if you see something that requires attention then please report this online and we will arrange for the issues to be addressed as soon as possible.
Your bus journeys
We will aim to provide a punctual bus journey in a safe, clean vehicle.
To achieve this, we will ensure that your bus runs as planned and operates on time. We will publish targets and performance details. We will work collectively with other partners to resolve issues.
We will keep your bus clean. All buses will be cleaned and inspected prior to entering service each day.
We will ensure all new buses are fitted with technology that displays and announces the next stop. On buses that are fitted with next stop announcements their performance will be monitored and any faults found will be rectified as quickly as possible.
Last bus of the day promise
If the last bus of the day does not run or departs early causing
you to be stranded, you will be reimbursed reasonable costs for an equivalent journey
All claims should be made to the operator. Your claim must include evidence of additional expenses incurred and made within 28 days of the incident. This will be paid by the bus operator responsible for the service, and only if it was the result of circumstances within their control. Compensation is not paid where events are entirely outside the operator’s control, for example, congestion, dangerous weather, or emergency utility works.
What we expect from passengers
You need to travel with a valid ticket
When travelling on a local bus service in the area, you must be able to show a valid physical or digital ticket or pass. If you paid using contactless, you will be asked to present your payment card instead. If you do not appropriate action will be taken by the operator.
You need to act in the interests of all passengers.
It is against the law to smoke on any bus or enclosed indoor space, such as our bus stations and vaping is also not allowed. You may be prosecuted for doing so and may face a fine.
In accordance with the Equality Act 2010, should a wheelchair user need to make use of the wheelchair space then it is a legal requirement that space must be made available for them to use. If you
are asked to vacate the wheelchair space to allow a wheelchair user to board the bus you must follow instructions from the driver. This may require you to fold a buggy or move luggage.
Passengers are requested to take all litter with them.
Any passenger found causing damage, such as window etching or applying graffiti to a vehicle, a bus station, bus stop or shelter will be liable for prosecution.
We will do everything we can to ensure you feel confident using our network.
We are committed to maintaining a safer transport network in the West Midlands. West Midlands Police, British Transport Police and TfWM make up the Safer Travel Partnership. We work together to identify areas of the network vulnerable to crime, anti-social and nuisance behaviour.
Our team of Transport Safety Officers are committed to providing a visible reassuring presence across the bus network.
The Safer Travel team are working hard to make the bus network as safe as possible with:
- daily high visibility patrols and day-to-day policing responsibilities
- tackling antisocial behaviour and nuisance incidents on public transport
- ‘Project Empower’, our Safer Travel campaign encouraging victims of unwanted sexual behaviour on the transport network to report incidents to the police
- help for young first-time offenders aged 10 to 18, who have been involved in incidents of nuisance or anti-social behaviour
- 24/7 CCTV across 2,500 cameras so we can identify and respond immediately to any incidents on the network
- guidance and advice on how to ensure you don’t become a target of theft while travelling on the network.
How to report an incident
You can report anti-social behaviour to the Safer Travel Partnership. Anti-social behaviour includes:
- smoking or vaping
- dropping litter
- being abusive to staff or passengers throwing things
To report anti-social behaviour anywhere on the bus network, text SeeSay followed by the incident details to 81018.
Alternatively, you can report it online.
If you need to report a crime that has already happened, call 101 or use the West Midlands Police Live Chat.
Always call 999 if it's an emergency
Getting in touch with us
We will work hard to make sure your journey runs smoothly. We know sometimes things don’t go to plan and we are happy to hear from you with your comments and suggestions.
If things go wrong
Complaint procedures will be published on every vehicle, on TfWM and bus operators’ websites and available on request.
These will include information on how to make a comment, send in a compliment or raise a complaint.
The response time will form part of this information as well as what to do if you remain unhappy after receiving a response to a complaint. TfWM or your bus operator will provide you with a copy of a Complaints Procedure in an alternative format if you ask for one.
We will investigate all complaints and tell you what we are doing in response to your feedback. We aim to respond to all complaints within 10 working days. We will inform you if this takes longer and explain why.
The response to your complaint will also include details of the escalation process should you remain unhappy. This will be an internal escalation procedure initially, but if that doesn’t resolve the complaint, you will be able to take it up with Bus Users UK, a registered Alternative Dispute Resolution body, which will try to resolve the issue for you.
Glossary of terms
British Transport Police is a national special police force. In the West Midlands, they police the railway network and West Midlands Metro.
Our bus network is the framework of bus routes and services that link key locations across our region.
A bus operator is a company who owns and runs bus services.
Our Bus Service Improvement Plan set out how Transport for West Midlands will work closely with local bus operators and local communities to deliver the government’s National Bus Strategy.
Bus Users UK is a charity that works to make transport accessible and inclusive for everyone. They run events, handle complaints, and work with Transport for West Midlands and local bus operators to ensure the needs and concerns of communities are heard.
We offer lots of discounts and free travel passes which we call ‘concessionary passes’. These include:
- older person’s travel pass
- disabled person’s travel pass
- child photocard
- 16-18 photocard
Our Enhanced Partnership sets out exactly how Transport for West Midlands will work with local bus operators to deliver the specific actions which will enable the Bus Service Improvement Plan outcomes.
The Equality Act 2010 legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society.
Our FixIt service is a way to report problems on the bus network online. You can log issues with a:
- bus shelter
- bus stop
- park and ride site
- electronic display
- printed information
The government’s National Bus Strategy is a vision to dramatically improve bus services in England through greater local leadership to encourage passengers back to bus.
An interchange, or travel hub, is a point on the network where buses, trams or trains meet. They help you change easily from one mode of transport to another.
When referring to the bus network, offpeak’ refers to after 9:30am. ‘On-peak’ refers to before 9:30am. Please note that the definition of on and off-peak differs across transport modes.
Passenger bodies are external organisations that Transport for West Midlands work with that represent the interests of bus passengers. The two organisations mentioned in this charter are Bus Users UK and Transport Focus.
A Payzone shop is one of the places you can buy tickets and top up your Swift card in person.
Project Empower is a campaign run by the West Midlands Safer Travel Partnership calling on victims of unwanted sexual behaviour on our transport network to report their experiences to the police.
A RADAR key, also known as an NKS key, is a blue and silver-coloured key that opens locked disabled toilets.
Real-time information refers to the live passenger information we display across the network to give you more accurate and helpful travel advice. This information is gathered by tracking the location of buses and comparing this to the timetable to predict more accurate journey times.
An example of this is the digital screens across the region displaying when your bus will arrive, however we also display this information online and within participating apps.
The Safer Travel Partnership is a collaborative group of organisations working together to make public
transport safer in the West Midlands. The partnership involves West Midlands Police, British Transport Police and Transport for West Midlands.
Service changes are any changes made to a bus service. These could be changes to the:
This can also refer to the introduction of new or the withdrawal of existing bus services
A bus stop refers to anywhere that a bus service picks up or drops off passengers. A bus shelter is a roofed structure covering passengers at some bus stops. Bus stations are places where many bus routes start or end their route.
Smart tickets are any kind of digital ticket that you can load onto a Swift card or keep on your mobile.
Swift is the smart ticketing scheme to pay for public transport in the West Midlands instead of a paper ticket. There are different Swift products:
- Swift photocard: for adult, child and student season tickets
- Swift Go: automatically works out the best fare for your bus and tram travel so you do not need to buy a ticket
- Pay as you go Swift card: top up and use instead of cash to pay for tickets on buses and trams
Transport Focus is the independent watchdog for transport users.
Transport for West Midlands is the local transport authority for the West Midlands Metropolitan County.
Transport Safety Officers are specifically trained officers deployed to deal with low-level nuisance, disorder, and anti-social behaviour.
Traveline is a partnership of transport companies, local authorities, and passenger bodies that work together to provide route and times for travel.
When the West Midlands is mentioned in this document, we are referring to Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton.
West Midlands Police is the territorial police force responsible for policing the metropolitan county of the West