AFTER losing £1 in a guided bus ticket machine (Letters, August 31) I had an exchange of correspondence with Bob Menzies, the county council’s head of delivery for Cambridgeshire Guided Busway.

I wasn’t surprised to read that his department had been “receiving a considerable volume of telephone calls and e-mails”. I have heard of many people’s experience of the guided busway and their praise for the speedy, smooth journey and frequency of buses.

However I’ve also heard much criticism of the ticket machines and the problems experienced by passengers.

The system of finding a destination on the screens in order to obtain a ticket confuses people, even those who know the area. I have helped some passengers when I have been waiting for a bus and they were all puzzled by the icon (“to Addenbrooke’s”) at the bottom left hand side of the screen.

Visitors from outside this area were baffled by the complicated system used to obtain a printed ticket.

I suggested that a helpline phone number is placed on the ticket machines for passengers to obtain assistance, but this idea did not appear to have been adopted. A printed notice displayed prominently at each stop along the guided busway would be very useful for passengers.

Mr Menzies wrote in his reply: “I suspect that however we had set up the ticket machines it would take people a little while to find their way around them at first.

“It’s been noticeable using the busway to and from work that in recent weeks people have been much more confident in getting their tickets from the machines.

“One of the things we are reviewing is having the more common destinations, eg Cambridge, St Ives, Huntingdon, appear first in the list rather than in route order, requiring people to scroll down.

He said the information about ticketing would be going up at the stops from yesterday (Tuesday). It would include a description of all the ticket types available from both operators from the machines, along with prices and which services they are valid on, plus information on how to obtain the multi-operator smartcard and, most importantly, a reminder that concessionary passes are valid on busway services, just as they are on other buses – “the latter being by far the most frequently asked question!”

And I also got back from the county council the £1 that was swallowed by the ticket machine.

Mrs DIANA RICHARDSON

Poplar Close

Huntingdon