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Cash bonus offer for bus drivers to catch ticket cheats

posted 23 Nov 2008, 08:17 by myEdinburgh Admin   [ updated 23 Nov 2008, 08:21 ]
Bus drivers in the Capital are being offered cash incentives to inform on passengers who use fake tickets.
Lothian Buses admits it operates a "league table" of rewards for drivers who seize forged passes from those trying to use them.

The company said the scheme helped to highlight the importance of drivers remaining vigilant about fraudulent tickets.  Rewards include £50 for drivers who spot a forged Day Ticket and £25 for those who find passengers attempting to use an altered concession pass issued by the Scottish Government.

Bosses say that keeping a cap on the number of fraudulent tickets helps keep fares down.

One passenger, who asked not to be named, said: "I was on the number 29 and I noticed the driver had a yellow sticker on his dashboard. There seemed to be a sliding scale to reward drivers who managed to spot fake tickets.

"The idea seems to be that drivers file a report and then pick up their reward."

George McKendrick, Lothian Buses' operations manager, said: "It is designed to raise the awareness of fraudulent tickets to both drivers and passengers, which in turn allows us to keep fares at the lowest level as possible."

Earlier this week, the full details of fresh cuts to Lothian Buses services were revealed, with bus bosses blaming "city-wide roadworks" and the economic downturn for the move.

Five routes are set to be withdrawn or cut back, while nine others will run less frequently.

The council is proposing to spend £26,400 to save one of the under-threat routes, the X48 to Ratho, for the next few months. It says withdrawing it could "isolate" the community.

The news follows Lothian Buses' decision to cut 11 routes last month. The company says passenger numbers have been badly hit by tram works and other roadworks, and are down seven per cent on last year.

In September, councillors approved a £124,000 rescue plan to give a temporary reprieve to five of the 16 routes which Lothian Buses planned to axe or cut, but 11 routes were completely cut or reduced on October 5.

This included withdrawing the 20, the 60, and the N11 and N27 night bus services. The Saturday 17 was scaled back, and the 24 and 26 were reduced in the evenings.

Bosses have said future fare increases would be across all of the ticket types, as opposed to April's 10p increase just on adult single tickets.

Is this a good idea?

Arran Brown, 26, CAD technician, Tollcross: "I don't like it and I don't see the point. Drivers should be checking them as part of their job."

Yvonne Weighand Lyle, 35, artist, Balgreen: "They would be better served just being more courteous to the passengers who are buying their tickets."

Margaret Bruce, 60, catering assistant, Leith: "Lothian Buses obviously need every penny they can get at the moment."

By CHRIS MARSHALL


Source: Edinburgh Evening News
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