don't fine a bus company for running late services, use it as an opportunity for promotion instead

A number of years ago First Bus in Manchester got fined nearly £300k by the Traffic Commissioner (TC) for late running services.

On the one hand, this was fair enough. The company puts out a timetable and doesn't stick to it, so a regulatory body steps in and slaps them on the monetary wrist.

On the other, what did the people who are affected by the late-running services (ie their customers) get out of it? It would seem the answer was nothing.

So here's my idea...

Instead of fining a company a massive wedge of cash, the TC should do something that benefits the customer yet punishes the operator at the same time.

Something like making an offending operator run their services free for a set period of time, with every person who hops on one of their buses doing so for absolutely nowt. And obviously, zero spend by the customer equals zero revenue for the operator.

Clever marketing could turn the punishment into a promotional event (paid for by the operator) encouraging new passengers to try the bus. Existing passengers get some free travel as an apology for sub-standard service.

The existing customer saves money, the potential new customer gets the opportunity to try the bus for free and the operator is forced to buck their ideas up.

As Paddy would say on Take Me Out - 'Let the customer, see the benefit'.