Coronavirus (COVID-19) Advice and FAQs for our customers

Page last updated: 29/04/20

The safety of our colleagues and customers remains our main priority.

Following the UK Government’s announcement on 23 March, we are currently reviewing our network provision to ensure we are providing the required level of service to meet the needs of key workers and those that require to make essential journeys for food/medicine. We would encourage everyone to follow the government’s advice and only travel when essential to do so.

Lothian will continue to provide a service to assist those that require to travel and we would encourage all customers to plan their journeys in advance using our mobile app or the journey planner on our website.

We are continuing to work with the government, industry bodies, local authorities, public health authorities and union representatives to seek advice and guidance.

Our TravelHubs, Park and Ride sites and Airlink Kiosk are now closed. Our Customer Services team are currently operating a reduced service and it is likely there will be a delay in responding to some customer enquiries. To help us best help you, we would ask that you take a minute to read the information below prior to contacting us. If the matter cannot be answered using the information below, our Customer Services team can be contacted via email to mail@lothianbuses.co.uk

Our lost property department is also now closed. All non-perishable lost items will be kept safe until the department reopens. When the department reopens to the public, we will announce this on our website and social media platform.

Thank you to all of our Frontline teams and the hundreds of colleagues working behind the scenes to deliver a fantastic service, ensuring that Lothian can continue to meet the travel needs of our customers.

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all our customers for their cooperation and understanding during this uncertain time.

Below we have provided answers to some of the most common questions we are receiving from our customers.

For more information on Coronavirus, visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Bus services

Can I continue to travel on Lothian’s critical services?

Advice from UK Government is people should only make essential journeys for work or for food/medicine.

Our services are currently operating a reduced service and customers are advised to plan their journeys in advance using our mobile app www.tfpapp.com or through our journey planner on our website at https://www.lothianbuses.com/live-travel-info/journey-planner/.

I’m a keyworker and Lothian’s critical service network means I’m finding it difficult to travel to work?

I’m sorry that our Critical Service Network is currently not meeting your needs. You will appreciate in the very challenging operational climate which we are operating, we’ve had to make some very difficult decisions in planning this revised service. We have taken into account key workers from a wide range of sectors located across Edinburgh and the Lothians.

I’m a keyworker and the critical services network means I do not have a direct service anymore.

We would ask you to consider whether you could possibly make use of two or more services to help you connect to your destination. Our Journey Planner on the website can help you plan your route if you think it could be a solution: https://www.lothianbuses.com/live-travel-info/journey-planner/

Are there any extra measures I should take whilst travelling?

As advised by the NHS, everyone should follow simple steps to help stop viruses spreading:

  • Wash your hands (for 20 seconds) with hot water and soap or hand sanitiser when you arrive home/at work.
  • Use a tissue for coughs/sneezes and bin tissues after use. Catch it, bin it, kill it.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell

 

Hygiene practices and social distancing

Are you carrying out additional cleaning on your services?

All of our vehicles are cleaned externally and internally on a daily basis, and we have introduced heightened cleaning measures in response to this situation including more enhanced cleaning of the main customer touch-points such as hand poles and grab rails and our driver cab areas.

Cleaning across all of our sites has also increased. We have issued detailed reminders to colleagues and provided additional cleaning materials where possible.

Will you be providing hand sanitisers on your services?

We have introduced additional cleaning across our fleet including main customer touch points and are sharing hygiene reminders from Scottish Government and health authorities across all of our social platforms. We are not currently looking to roll out hand sanitisers on our services.

The government is advising that we need to keep a distance of two-metres or more from one another. How can we do that on your services?

We would urge all customers to follow the advice given by the Scottish Government and NHS. Our reduced service is in place to enable key workers to get to frontline services, and we are calling on customers to play their part in ensuring the safety of those who are reliant on reduced services during this crisis. If travel isn’t essential, we would ask customers to do the responsible thing. If travel is essential, please try to keep a reasonable distance from fellow passengers where this is possible.

How are you protecting your staff, such as drivers?

The safety of our colleagues and customers remains our number one priority. We have implemented robust protocols to help stop the spread of the virus. We continue to remind all of our colleagues of the importance of good hygiene practices and social distancing and, working with key suppliers, we have introduced antibacterial cleaning materials across all of our sites. In addition, as with the main customer touchpoint areas, we are also increasing the frequency of cleaning within driver cabs and other areas our staff come into greater contact with.

Over the past few weeks we have also introduced a series of measures to further enhance driver and customer protection including:

  • Enhanced cleaning regimes on all vehicles
  • The creation of hand sanitiser dispensing areas for our driving team so that colleagues can top up small containers for use at work
  • Removal of all vehicles from service that do not have driver cab screens fitted
  • Installation of clear vinyl to cover gaps on the screens in the drivers cabs
  • Application of tape to the floor 2m from the drivers cab area
  • Cordoning off the front two seats on vehicles where these seats are located close to the driver’s cab
  • The launch of a social distancing campaign on-bus and on our social media platforms to reinforce the critical messages to customers.

 

Ticketing

Our finance team are working extremely hard and we would ask you for your patience and support at this difficult time.

As you might expect we are receiving a higher volume of requests than normal and with fewer team members refunds are taking us longer than we would expect to process. We are also reliant on external parties for direct debit accounts and in some cases it is taking us up to 60 days to process these requests.

Please bear with us and be assured we are doing everything we can to handle your enquiry as quickly as possible.

I have a Direct Debit Ridacard – can I pause this if I need to stay at home (self-isolate) or work remotely?

We are facing testing times as a business and are doing everything we can to keep connectivity of critical services running through the vast majority of our network for key workers and essential travel.

We do not have the capability to pause or suspend our Direct Debit Ridacard product but you may cancel your card and subscription.

If you wish to cancel your direct debit Ridacard, please email directdebit@lothianbuses.co.uk with a note of your Unique Reference Number (6-digit number on the front of your Ridacard, to the left of your photograph), your Ridacard number (the 8-digit number beneath the word “Ridacard”), your name, address and contact telephone number.

Emails to this inbox will be processed as soon as we can, but you will not receive a response. Any personal details you supply will only be used to identify your account, process your request and contact you if necessary regarding this.

If you have requested cancellation of your direct debit Ridacard, then your card and subscription will be cancelled as soon as is possible – understandably, our volumes for Ridacard cancellations are much higher than usual. For this reason, we also recommend that you cancel the Direct Debit instruction with your bank.

For refunds of any associated credit balances, this is likely to take us longer than usual to process. We initially anticipate that this may take up to 60 days. Refunds once processed will be credited directly to the originating bank account where available, or otherwise will be made by cheque and posted.

I have emailed to cancel by Direct Debit, however a payment has been taken since then?

Please accept our apologies for this. The direct debit team have received a very high volume of cancellation requests and it’s likely that they’ve been unable to process your request before the next payment was taken. Cancelling the Direct Debit instruction with your bank will prevent further payments being taken.

Our Direct Debit team will be able to see if any further payments has been taken and any money owed will be refunded to you accordingly. We ask that you please bear with us, our team are working as quickly as they can during this difficult time.

I have an annual Ridacard – can I pause this if I need to stay at home (self-isolate) or work remotely?

We are facing testing times as a business and are doing everything we can to keep connectivity of critical services running through the vast majority of our network for key workers and essential travel.

For holders of Annual Ridacards, or Student 9-month Ridacards which customers have not used for travel owing to the national restrictions, Lothian will extend the validity of these tickets once restrictions have been lifted and normal service levels have resumed. This extension will be equal to the difference in time between either the 24th of March or the last usage of the ticket thereafter; and either the recommencement of normal Lothian service levels, or the original expiry of the product on the card – whichever is shortest. To claim the extension, customers must take their Ridacard to a Lothian Travel Hub once these have reopened. 

Should you instead require a refund of your Annual Ridacard, then please note that, as a heavily discounted product, Annual Ridacards will be refunded in line with our terms and conditions outlined here

If you instead wish to cancel your annual Ridacard and request a refund, please email mail@lothianbuses.co.uk with your details and send your Ridacard to Lothian Buses, 55 Annandale Street, Edinburgh, EH7 4AZ. All refunds will be made via cheque and, owing to the current circumstances, may take up to one month to process.

I have a weekly or 4-weekly Advance Purchase Ridacard – what happens to the travel I’ve paid for but cannot use?

We will make sure that you can use the travel that you’ve paid for. For Ridacards with valid products which customers have not used, Lothian will extend the validity of these tickets once restrictions have been lifted and our TravelHubs have reopened.

This extension will be equal to the difference in days between the either the 24th of March or the last usage of the ticket thereafter; and either the recommencement of normal service levels, or the expiry of the product on the card – whichever is earlier.

To claim the extension, customers should take their Ridacard to a Lothian TravelHub once we have reopened, where our team can help you.    

Should you instead require a refund, these are only available on Annual & 9-month Ridacards in line with our terms and conditions outlined here. To request a refund, please email mail@lothianbuses.co.uk with your details and send your Ridacard to Lothian Buses, 55 Annandale Street, Edinburgh, EH7 4AZ. All refunds will be made via cheque and, owing to the current circumstances, may take up to one month to process.

I’ve lost my Ridacard – can I get a replacement?

In line with the latest government advice, our TravelHubs are now closed and we will not be able to issue replacements at this time. If your Ridacard is paid for by direct debit, you may be able to cancel it by emailing directdebit@lothianbuses.co.uk with your name, address and contact telephone number. Ordinarily, we would require the unique reference number displayed on your Ridacard in order to do this, but the team may be able to make an exception in this case.

Why aren’t you offering discounted rates while you’re running a reduced service?

We’re currently operating in completely unprecedented circumstances. In order to continue to operate a service – albeit a reduced one – to continue to provide vital links to frontline services, we are unable to offer any reduced rates. Our Ridacard is already a discounted product. We appreciate this may be frustrating but please be assured we are doing all we can to continue to provide a service for key workers and those who rely on our services during this crisis.

I have m-tickets which have expired – can I get a refund?

M-tickets are digital products which we are able to manage remotely. If you have any m-tickets which have expired on or after 23rd March 2020 owing to the 180-day validity, please drop us an email with the details and we can reinstate these tickets.

The easiest way to do this is within the app which will allow us to more easily locate your account. From the sidebar menu, go to “Contact”, followed by “Contact us by email”.

I have a question about my contactless payments?

If you want to query any travel or payments made within the last 7 days,  please check our customer portal at https://abt.cloudfare.co.uk/.

At the earliest, payment for journeys will appear on your bank statement the day after you’ve travelled – this will be later if you’ve travelled over the weekend, or if the bus you travelled on has been offline. Viewing your journey and payment history using our customer portal and checking this against your bank statement is the quickest and best way to see how you’ve been charged for any journeys you’ve made.

Still have questions?  Please take a look at our comprehensive FAQs, which cover almost every aspect of our contactless payment scheme – https://www.lothianbuses.com/contactless-capping-faqs/

Please note that we can’t respond to individual enquiries at the moment.

I need to renew my national entitlement card?

National Entitlement card production has been suspended at this time. More information and advice can be found here: https://www.transport.gov.scot/concessionary-travel/national-entitlement-card-bus-pass-production-suspended/

 

Lost property

I have left an item on the bus, how do I get this back?

In light of the government advice, our Lost Property department is now closed to the public. All non-perishable items will be kept safe until the department reopens. When the department reopens to the public, we will announce this on our website and social media platforms.

Essential Items Only: If you have left an essential item (medication, keys, purse, wallet or mobile phone) on one of our services, please email mail@lothianbuses.co.uk and we may be able to assist you. Our team are dealing with a high volume of emails so please only contact us for these essential items.

 

Contingency planning

What contingency measures do you have in place if this continues?

Our team are closely monitoring the current situation and taking advice from Scottish Government and industry bodies including the Confederation of Public Transport. Our priority is to protect the safety of our customers and our colleagues. In addition, we will continue to liaise closely with Scottish Government and public health authorities on any further steps we are required to take. Please keep checking our website homepage at www.lothianbuses.co.uk, our app which you can download at www.tfeapp.com and our social media platforms for further information as soon as it becomes available.

 

Edinburgh Bus Tours

Why are there no tours available?

We are following government guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid-19, and have taken the decision to cease to protect our customers and staff. You can find out more on our website here: https://edinburghtour.com/

When will tours restart?

We don’t know yet, but please keep an eye on our website and social media for further information when it is made available: https://edinburghtour.com/

I have bought a voucher from edinburghtour.com – what should I do?

Please contact sales@edinburghtour.com and a member of the team will be able to assist you.

I have bought a voucher from a third party website – GetYourGuide, TripAdvisor, Expedia, Visit Britain, Hotelbeds, Booking.com, Klook, Tiqets etc. – what should I do?

Please check your confirmation and go back to the agent you bought the voucher from, as they’ll be able to help you. If you are unsure please get in touch with us at sales@edinburghtour.com and someone from the team will be able to help you.

Can I buy a ticket for later in the year?

A. We have closed our online kiosk for sales for the moment and will make tickets available once we have a restart date. Please keep checking back on our website and social media for further information when it becomes available: https://edinburghtour.com/