This is something that has been annoying me for a while; however my recent return from LA where I used the buses quite a bit has brought it to the fore again.

In my local area there's a flat fare for a bus ride. It's rather high - 1 pound 50 pence1 - but fair enough. In addition, they also use driver-operated buses. This means that it is impossible to get on the bus without either paying your fare or having a valid pass. Again, fair enough! The corollary of this situation - namely the combination of the driver operated buses and the flat fare - is that it is completely impossible to fare dodge by riding too far on your fare.

Why, then, do they employ ticket inspectors? And they do - I've been on more buses troubled by a ticket inspection in the few years I've been here than I have in decades living in London. Don't they trust their drivers to do the job properly? If I was a driver for this company I'd be insulted by the implication of employing ticket inspectors. Surely the money spent on inspector wages would be better spent on, say, reducing the fares (or perhaps compensating someone whose arm they've broken rather than lying about it).

In LA you pay the driver and get on - and that's it. No ticket (which is greener in the long run) and no inspectors. And far cheaper too - $1.25 which is currently equivalent to 68p.


even this cartoon ticket in their own poster is confused by the ticket inspector policy