Buses refuse old £1 coins 12 hours early

John Gallagher's old pound coins were refused by the driver - despite being hours away from the deadline. Picture: Ian Georgeson
John Gallagher's old pound coins were refused by the driver - despite being hours away from the deadline. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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BUS bosses have been forced into a speedy reverse manoeuvre after refusing a passenger’s round £1 coins 12 hours before the deadline to spend them.

John Gallagher hopped on the number 29 in Gilmerton for a day out in town with his wife to spend £55 in the currency he had found in an old money jar. But despite their lunchtime trip on Sunday being well ahead of the midnight deadline to spend the old pound coins, the driver was adamant that they were no longer legal tender.

John ended up paying an extra £3 with new coins – only for Lothian Buses to pledge to reimburse him after the Evening News got involved.

“I’d been listening to the radio in the morning and it was on about the deadline that night for old pound coins that night,” said John, 36. “So I suggested to my wife going for a day out into town and do a bit of shopping.

“We got the bus at Gilmerton crossroads, paid with three old pound coins, but the driver said three times it wasn’t legal tender. He was quite frosty and we actually gathered he was just finishing his shift. Obviously he’d been on for seven or eight hours and maybe had others doing the same. He wasn’t that helpful and was pretty rude.”

Luckily, John’s wife had three new pound coins and the couple were able to continue their journey to Princes Street. The driver scrawled “£3 old” on their ticket and suggested John contact Lothian Buses to claim his money back.

“Apparently, they’d advertised that they’d stopped accepting old pound coins but I’m not a frequent bus user. I wouldn’t have put the coins in if I’d known they didn’t take them.”

The couple went on to enjoy lunch at the Balmoral Hotel, shopping in Jenners and drinks at the Guildford Arms – all of them accepting old £1 coins.

John later messaged Lothian Buses online, only to be told: “I am afraid we are unable to return them to you.”

“It’s not about the £3,” said John. “It’s just quite annoying to be told it’s not legal tender when you know it is.”

After the Evening News contacted Lothian Buses, they agreed to pay back John’s £3 and threw in a couple of free day tickets. John pledged to donate the £3 to charity.

A spokesperson from Lothian Buses said: “We have been actively encouraging our customers to prepare for the arrival of the new pound coin in recent weeks. Although the old coins are no longer legal tender, we will continue to accept them on our services until further notice.”