'Anti-family' Lothian Buses under fire for contactless payment restrictions

BUS bosses have been accused of "discriminating against families" after it emerged a long-delayed contactless payment method can only be used to buy adult tickets.

Wednesday, 24th July 2019, 5:56 pm
Parents cannot pay for child and family tickets with contactless, Picture: Ian Rutherford

Lothian Buses launched a new contactless payment service on Wednesday – but parents have been left fuming after it was confirmed that child and family tickets cannot be paid for with the contactless technology.

In other cities including Glasgow, contact payments can be used to purchase all tickets, including for families.

Mother of two, Jane Bushell, said the failure to allow child and family tickets was “very disappointing”.

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She added: “It’s completely useless to me if I cannot pay for myself and a child. They have missed a great opportunity to make life easier for parents.

“Sometimes if you are out with your child and they are tired, you just want to hop on a bus. We’ve ended up walking home instead because I haven’t had the right change.”

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Liberal Democrat transport spokesman, Cllr Kevin Lang, said: “Parents across Edinburgh will be asking whether Lothian Buses actually want children on their services.

“First we had issues over the limited buggy and pram space on the new, larger buses. Now we have a contactless payment which discriminates against parents who are not allowed to buy family or child tickets. Compare this to other cities like Glasgow and Cardiff where passengers can use their credit and debit cards to buy all ticket types, including family tickets.

“This would be bad enough for a private company but as a council owned operator, there are serious questions to be asked on why Lothian Buses is taking such an anti-family approach. It flies in the face of the council’s effort to encourage more people to leave their cars at home and switch to public transport.”

She said: “I’m really pleased to see this long-awaited contactless payment being implemented by Lothian Buses. I’m sure it will prove popular and will help with bus journey times as people can get onto the buses more quickly.

“I hope that we will be able to see it expand beyond the single ticket payments as it beds in.”

He added: “In London children up to 10 travel on buses for free if they are with a parent, but in Edinburgh parents can pay by contactless but must carry 80p in cash for kids over five.

“This is a further insult to parents after they were let down by Lothian Buses’ board with the lack of buggy space on new buses. Lothian Buses leads in so many ways, but it really needs to be more inclusive where families are concerned if we want people to give up their cars.”

The company confirmed it hoped to allow other tickets to be purchased by contactless payment in the future.

Nigel Serafini, Lothian’s commercial director, said: “We’re working with our suppliers to finalise future options to this exciting product adding the ability to purchase multiple tickets – including child and family fares – using one contactless transaction.

“This will become available in the coming months and will, as part of a staged process, ensure that all fares will be available to be purchased using contactless payments, alongside our existing ticketing products and payment methods.”