Conditions of Carriage

1) Introduction

Thames Valley Buses values our customers and will always endeavour to ensure you travel safely and in comfort on a clean, reliable bus service. This document contains the conditions under which we carry you and applies to anyone who travels with us. Our conditions are consistent with the relevant statutory regulations, including those relating to the conduct of passengers and lost property and do not affect your statutory rights.

2) General Conditions of carriage

We aim to provide a safe, reliable and punctual service but there are occasions when buses or services are subject to delays, which can be outside of our direct control, the factors that can affect the reliability of the services could be: roadworks, diversions, accidents, exceptional traffic congestion, major events, extreme weather conditions and other unforeseen operating circumstances.

We will always take reasonable steps to advise you of any disruption to services, including notification on the Go2Gate app where appropriate. However, in the event of any cancellation, delay, diversion or termination, we shall not be liable for losses, damages, cost or inconvenience either direct or consequential that you suffer as a result. We do not in any way exclude or limit our liability for death or personal injury resulting from our negligence nor are your statutory rights as a consumer affected.

3) Conduct of Passengers

We reserve the right to refuse travel to any passenger and may require passenger(s) to leave our buses or premises at any time, should we have reason to believe that their behaviour or personal hygiene jeopardises the safety, security and comfort of others.

When travelling on our services, passengers must not:

  • Talk to the driver whilst the bus is moving, obstruct the driver’s vision or otherwise distract him, except in an emergency
  • Smoke, vape or use matches, lighters or have naked flames
  • Behave in an abusive or threatening manner which causes offence to other customers or our staff
  • Eat or drink anything which generates litter and/or makes the environment unpleasant for other customers or otherwise cause offence
  • Consume alcoholic substances
  • Be under the influence of illegal drugs, or alcohol
  • Play loud music or operate a personal device at a volume which may reasonably be annoying to other passengers
  • Distribute leaflets, papers or other articles or offer anything for sale or collect for charity without our prior written consent
  • Interfere with equipment fitted on the vehicle
  • Deliberately damage or deface any part of the vehicle
  • Discard rubbish, or other items on the bus
  • Board with any bulky items that would cause the gangway to be blocked or could harm other passengers.
  • Carry dangerous or hazardous substances such as liquid cell batteries, chemicals, open cans of paint, petrol or flammable liquids in any form, explosives, ammunition, weapons or combustible or otherwise hazardous materials. The driver retains the right to deny carriages to any passenger if it is suspected hazardous goods are being carried
  • Wear motor helmets, ski masks or any other clothing designed to obscure the face, other than for religious reasons.

Intending customers who, in the opinion of the driver or other company official, appear likely to behave in an antisocial manner, will not be allowed to travel on our services.

Passengers must:

  • Follow the instructions of our employees and act in a manner which shows due regard for the safety and comfort of other customers and company employees, including not standing adjacent to the vehicle entrance, next to the driver or sitting in gangways, on staircases or standing upstairs on a double deck vehicle
  • Notify the driver if they sustain an injury whilst boarding, travelling on or getting off a bus
  • Follow the directions of our employees concerning the maximum number of passengers that a bus is permitted to carry. All of our vehicles contain clear signage setting out their seating and standing capacity
  • Have due regard at all times for the needs of elderly, young and disabled customers and in particular, vacate seats and spaces designed for the elderly and disabled when requested;
  • Present tickets and passes to a driver or revenue protection official when requested to do so.  If a journey has been pre-booked using a discount code, for example for a Team Heathrow member, group discount or concessionary pass, the evidence must be provided to the driver at the point of boarding otherwise a new booking at the appropriate full fare must be made.

If you are in breach of these and other statutory regulations you will be obliged to give your name and address to a company official or may be restrained or removed from the bus or our premises by a company officer, a police officer or a community support officer and refused further travel without refund. We also reserve the right to take any other measures we consider necessary to protect the safety and comfort of our customers and staff including temporarily or permanently banning you from travelling with us following an incident of misconduct.


Buses and premises are fitted with CCTV cameras, which records both audio and visual data to provide added security for our customers and staff. Appropriate signage will be in place where CCTV is in use. The video and sound recordings are used solely for the monitoring of safety, security, service quality and in support of relevant criminal and civil legal proceedings and complaint investigation. Images of you may be provided to the police, VOSA, the Traffic Commissioner or any other enforcement agency at their reasonable request. Whilst we will do everything we reasonably can to control conduct of other customers, we will not be held responsible for their conduct.

5) Getting on and off the bus

On most routes, buses will pick up and set down passengers at marked bus stops or at the nearest safe point if a bus stop is obstructed. Some routes have designated hail & ride sections, in which case the bus will only stop at a safe place. In certain places, separate stops are allocated to specific services.

Sometimes roadworks take place in the vicinity of a bus stop.  Usually we are notified of such situations in advance, and the bus stop will be suspended.  Where time permits, we will place a notice at the bus stop marking it as “suspended”, and requesting customers to use either a temporary bus stop, or the next closest one available.  We will also put a notice on our website and app.  Sometimes, we are not notified in advance that works are taking place.  For the avoidance of doubt, if roadworks are taking place at a bus stop which makes the stop inaccessible or unsafe for the bus to stop, or if the bus stop is within a section where traffic is being controlled by temporary traffic lights, the bus stop will be suspended whether a sign is in place or not and customers will not be permitted to board or alight for safety reasons.  Anyone wishing to board should make their way to the nearest alternative unaffected bus stop.

On a flexible service, pick up and drop off points will be identified at the time of booking and will have been assessed as safe places for the bus to stop.  If the exact location is blocked by other vehicles or an obstruction, please move to a safe place where you can still be seen. We request customers to be at the location identified at least 5 minutes before the pick up time.  On our Dedworth Go2Gate flexible service, local journeys wholly within the Dedworth Zone are not permitted.

  • At all bus stops, you must give a clear signal to the driver that you wish to board, giving them sufficient time to stop safely at the marked stop
  • You must not attempt to board or alight from a moving bus or from a bus which is stationary at a point which is not a designated bus stop such as traffic lights or roadworks etc.
  • You must not attempt to board a bus once it has left its designated stand in any bus station, including at Heathrow
  • You must not use the emergency exits on any vehicle except in a genuine emergency
  • On certain routes, there are no designated bus stops and, in those areas, buses will stop on request where it is safe to do so. You should always pick a point away from parked cars, road junctions etc and give a clear signal in good time to the driver of the approaching vehicle
  • When you come to alight, you should ring the bell once in good time to alert the driver.

6) Carriage of wheelchairs, small prams and buggies

Subject to space being available and the discretion of the driver, we will carry small prams and unfolded buggies on low floor buses within the designated area. Prams and buggies must not block the aisle of the vehicle at any time. Using the space is on a first come, first serve basis and no priority will be given. The designated space reserved for wheelchair users may be occupied by an unfolded buggy or pram if not required by a wheelchair user, but will be required to be vacated upon request.  On our Dedworth Go2Gate Service, a wheelchair space must be reserved at the time of booking.

7) Carriage of bicycles & mobility scooters

We will not carry bicycles unless they can be folded and there is sufficient space for them and must not block the gangway or cause a hazard to other passengers. Mobility Scooters cannot be carried, with the exception of route 703 (as it forms part of a combined Windsor Express service) where users wishing to travel with a mobility scooter must show the driver a valid permit, issued by a recognised industry training body, to show that they have been instructed in the use of taking a mobility scooter on board the bus (details can be found at CPT Guide to Mobility Scooters).

8) Luggage

In the interests of the safety and comfort of all of our customers, we restrict the size, type and quantity of luggage or other belongings, which you can bring onto our buses and reserve the right to refuse permission for you to bring any item onto our buses.

On our Dedworth Go2Gate service, there is a dedicated space for luggage. Passengers may board with one large piece of luggage maximum size 90cm x 75cm x 43cm or two medium pieces of luggage maximum size 70cm x 45cm x 30cm.  A passenger wishing to travel on this service with two large items of luggage will need to book a journey for two passengers.

You remain responsible for any items you bring. You may not be allowed to travel if, for example, the available space for carriage of luggage is already full or, if, in the opinion of the driver, your luggage or belongings will block gangways and access to emergency exits on the bus. We will not be held responsible for any loss or inconvenience to you if you are refused travel under these circumstances.

We reserve the right to request that you open any article of luggage for inspection by the driver or other company official in your presence if, for reasons of security, it is considered necessary to do so. Fragile items such as electronic goods, portable televisions, computers, radios etc. will only be carried if they are of reasonable size and securely packed. We will not be responsible for damage to such items however caused.

9) Animals

Subject to the discretion of the driver, on most routes we can carry pets for which we charge a ‘Rover’ ticket (currently £1 for the whole day). The driver has discretion to refuse an animal if there are some on board already, or for a pet which, in the driver’s opinion, could endanger or cause anxiety to other passengers. 

Animals (except registered assistance dogs) are not allowed on our Dedworth Go2Gate service.

Pets must be kept under close control, and must not be allowed on the seats of the vehicle. 

Registered guide and hearing dogs or aid dogs will always be carried and without charge.

10) Lost Property

We do not take responsibility for customers' property onboard our bus services, so we expect customers to take care of their items when travelling.

We will do all that we reasonably can to locate and return any property left on one of our buses to its owner. If lost property is not claimed within one month, we will become the owner of the property and will dispose of it appropriately.

If you find lost property on a bus, you must hand it to the driver. Providing the item is not perishable or objectionable, we will keep it for a month. If you claim any item of lost property, you will be required to satisfy us that the item belongs to you, give us your name and address and you may be charged an administration fee.

The discretionary administration fees are set at the following rates:

  • Laptop or desktop computer, DSLR camera, mobile phone, iPad/tablet are charged at £20.
  • Bicycle, small prams and buggies, camera lenses, musical instruments, personal electronics, power tools are charged at £10.
  • All other items are charged at £5.
  • Please note that if we find any passport on our vehicle and cannot reunite with the owner immediately, we are obliged to cancel the passport and send to HM Passport Office.

All proceeds from our administration fees are donated to our Charity of the Year.

If the lost property is perishable and is not claimed within 24 hours of being found, we will dispose of it as we think fit. If perishable property is, or becomes, objectionable or a health risk before the end of the 24-hour period, we reserve the right to destroy or dispose of it at any time. If the lost property is contained in a package, bag or other container, we may open it and examine it in order to trace the owner or identify the nature and value of the lost property. To check for lost property, you should contact us by email, or telephone our offices between the hours of 09.00 and 16.30 Monday to Friday detailing on which service or route number the item was lost. Contact numbers can be found on our website. Under normal circumstances, you will need to collect the lost property from the Thames Valley Buses depot in Bracknell or if we agree to post the property back, you will need to pay the cost of postage and packaging in advance. Our arrangements comply with the relevant legislation. Posting any item is at your own risk and we do not take responsibility for any item once it has left our premises. 

11) Fares and Ticketing

All Thames Valley services issue change to customers, although we do ask if possible to have the correct change to make your boarding time quicker. All our fares are shown on our website. If the driver has had many customers paying with notes and their change is low, they may only be able to give you a change voucher which you can exchange for cash or payment of a fare with any other driver on any other Thames Valley bus service.

Whenever you board a bus, you must either

  • Pay the appropriate fare in cash
  • Pay the appropriate fare using a contactless bank card, ApplePay or GooglePay
  • Show the driver, or present to the QR scanner, a valid prepaid ticket, pass or other form of authority to travel for the journey you are making
  • If using a Thames Valley Buses or Reading Buses smartcard, place it on the reader equipment so that its validity may be checked and your journey recorded
  • If using a service with a Tap On-Tap Off reader, you must tap your contactless bank card or mobile payment method to the card reader when you board, and tap the same card or payment method to the exit card reader as you alight
  • If using the Dedworth Go2Gate flexible service, you must show the driver your pre-paid booking at the point of boarding.  On this service, all passengers must be pre-booked at least 10 minutes before departure and it is not permitted to pay the driver

Where you make payment to the driver, you should ensure that you are given a new ticket issued from the ticket machine, which corresponds with the amount you have paid and is valid for your entire journey. You should report to Thames Valley Buses as soon as possible if you tender a fare and do not receive a ticket from the driver.

If our ticket equipment is not functioning properly and as a consequence is not able to produce tickets, you will not be required to pay for your journey. If the contactless aspect of the ticket machine is not working, you will be asked to pay using cash.

If you are issued with a change voucher this can be given to another bus driver for redemption or by visiting our head office to claim the change.

You must retain your ticket, pass or other relevant documentation for inspection by a Company Official on demand throughout your journey. If you are unable to show a valid ticket or pass or you have overridden the fare stage, you will be liable to pay a fare for the journey, which may be a Standard Fare depending on the circumstances. We will not refund you this fare if you later find the missing ticket or other document.

When you complete the journey for which you have paid or the validity of your pass or other relevant documentation expires, you must leave the bus or pay a new fare to your intended destination. It is your responsibility to have a valid ticket for the whole journey.

You are liable to prosecution if you do not hold a valid ticket, pass or other relevant documentation. If a Standard Fare ticket is issued, it will be to the value of £20.00 if paid at the time. This will rise to £40.00 if not paid within seven days.

Single or return fares purchased on the bus are normally calculated with reference to fare stages. If you board a bus at a location, which is not a fare stage, you will be charged from the previous fare stage. Similarly, if you alight at a location, which is not a fare stage, you will be charged to the subsequent fare stage. In certain areas, a number of stops may be grouped together as one fare stage.

If you are travelling in areas where zonal fares apply, the number of zones travelled in or through will determine your fare. You may not break your journey when travelling on a single or return fare unless local publicity specifically advises that this is possible. For some journeys, you may buy a return ticket, which is usually cheaper than two single tickets. Return tickets are usually valid only on the day of purchase, unless clearly advertised otherwise and sometimes have time restrictions as to their validity. It is your responsibility to check the validity conditions of a return ticket. Return tickets should be purchased from the driver of the bus on the outward journey and presented to the driver of the bus on the return journey for validation. They are valid for one single journey in each direction between the same two points (which can be by using a different route number if available).

Period tickets purchased for a period of one day, seven days or longer will expire at the end of the operational day (ie 0200 the following morning) counting from the day on which the ticket was bought (or, in the case of a mobile ticket at 0200 on the morning following the day the ticket was activated). For example, a 7-day ticket purchased (or activated) at any time on Monday will expire at 0200 on the following Monday morning. For technical reasons, mobile tickets expire at 0400 rather than 0200.

In circumstances where we are unable to provide the service advertised due to reasons reasonably within our control, our liability is limited to the value of any single ticket paid, or a proportion of the value of the ticket relative to the valid duration of the ticket purchased.  If there is no alternative provision within 60 minutes, we may at our discretion offer additional compensation.  Where we are unable to provide the service advertised due to reasons outside our control, we will try and assist customers, but we are not responsible for any consequential loss.

Children aged under 16 and those people who, in the opinion of the driver, are vulnerable, at risk or in distress and unable to pay their fare will be carried at all times providing their name and address can be given in order that the fare due may be collected at a later date together with any reasonable administrative costs.

There is no charge for up to three children under 5 years of age when travelling with another responsible fare paying passenger providing they do not occupy a seat to the exclusion of a fare-paying passenger or are seated in a buggy in an appropriate space on the vehicle. Additional children will be charged as if they were aged five or over. We have a wide range of multi journey tickets. Full details of availability, price, validity and terms and conditions can be found in the ‘Guide to Fares and Tickets’ on our website.

12) Refunds

When purchasing a ticket from the driver, please check your ticket to ensure it is as you have requested.  Drivers have only a few minutes to cancel a ticket and make a refund or rectify an incorrectly issued ticket. 

If you have purchased a ticket online (smartcard) or through our Thames Valley Buses app (mobile ticket), then we can make a full refund if you subsequently change your mind, so long as the ticket has not been activated or used at all.  To request a refund for an unused ticket, please contact customer services.

If you wish to have a refund on a partially used season ticket, the following circumstances will need to apply at the time the refund is requested:

(i) There must be no further use of the card or ticket;

(ii) There must be at least 3 days of a weekly ticket and 7 days of a monthly or longer period ticket remaining;

The amount of refund will be calculated as the difference between what you paid for your ticket and the cost of daily tickets from the date of application until the expiry of the ticket. There is also a £10 administration fee, so a ticket with a lower value than the administration fee won’t be refundable.  If you wish to claim a refund on a partially used ticket within this guidance, please contact our customer services.

Go2Gate bookings may be cancelled or amended up to 20 minutes before departure time, after which any payment is not refundable  

13) Concessionary Travel Schemes

Thames Valley Buses accept all concessionary passes such as elderly and disabled which are issued by local authorities in England (but not Scotland, Wales or Channel Islands). The terms, conditions and rules applying to these schemes are the responsibility of the pass issuing authority and times of use are determined by the rules of the local authority where the pass holder boards the bus. 

Concession passes are valid for free travel on our Dedworth Go2Gate service only at 0930-2300 on weekdays, and all day weekends and bank holidays.

14) Complaints

Thames Valley welcomes suggestions and complaints because they help us to improve our services and put things right if they have gone wrong. We want people to contact us rather than just stop using our services. We will handle complaints with tact and consideration and never take them personally. All complaints are investigated and corrective action is taken to avoid repetition. We will provide a response as quickly as possible and always within 14 days of receipt, even if this is initially to explain what investigation needs to take place and how long this will take. The Bus Appeals Body in England and Wales is a non-statutory committee offering an independent review of complaints arising from the operation of local bus and scheduled coach services. If you are not satisfied with our response, we will always pass on contact details for BAB. If you feel you need to submit a complaint, to enable us to deal with it effectively, please detail, the route number, the time and place boarded or where the incident was and as much detail as possible.

15) Amendments

These conditions apply from 1st June 2024 and replace all previous Terms and Conditions. These Conditions may be amended at any time and any revision will be advertised on this website.

16) Legal Notice

The governing law for these Conditions shall be the Laws of England and Wales and the Courts of England and Wales shall have exclusive jurisdiction. Should any provision of these Conditions be invalid or unenforceable this shall not affect the validity and enforceability of the remaining provisions.

These Conditions constitute the entire agreement between Thames Valley Buses and its customers. None of our employees is entitled to alter or vary any of the provisions of these Conditions. Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981 Public Service Vehicle (Conduct of Drivers, Inspectors, Conductors and Passengers) Regulations 1990 and Amendment Regulations 1995 and 2002 Public Service Vehicle Accessibility Regulations 2000 PSV (Lost Property) Regulations 1978 and Amendment Regulations 1995 Public Service Vehicle (Carrying Capacity) Regulations 1984 and Amendment Regulations 1996.