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What recession? Bus passengers leave €2m in change

DUBLIN bus passengers failed to reclaim almost €2m in change in 2009.

"On average, 25pc of customers claim their change -- the money will always be available to them if they wish to do so," a spokesperson for Dublin Bus said.

She confirmed that there had been "a minor increase in passengers claiming their change this year".

The money is held in the "unclaimed passengers change fund" in order to be available at any time.

"The figures are reflected in the company's annual accounts and the money is held in the Dublin Bus account," the spokesperson added. "Any interest made is re-invested in the company and used to improve services."

Under the current system, no change is given to passengers by bus drivers.

If passengers have to deposit more than the exact fare into machines, the driver issues the passenger with a change ticket for the overpayment.

The change ticket, together with the travel ticket, must be presented at Dublin Bus in order to claim a refund -- but the figures suggest that many people simply don't bother.

Six years ago, Dublin Bus took the initiative to put the unclaimed change to good use by returning it to communities around the capital.

Each year, Dublin Bus awards grants to charities and voluntary groups.

"To date over 1,000 voluntary groups across the Greater Dublin Area have benefited from the programme," the spokesperson said.



AWARDS

Dublin Bus awards grants to groups in the amounts of €5,000, €2,000 and €1,000 from the long-term unclaimed change receipts.

Groups within the Dublin Bus service network, including Greystones, Kilcock and Clonee can apply for funding. Applications for the programme are adjudicated by an independent panel and the programme culminates in an awards ceremony in September of each year where the groups are informed of the grants they are being awarded.

Ten community groups were given grants of €5,000 in the awards ceremony last September.

"The value of the unclaimed receipts is €1.9m for 2009," the spokesperson confirmed. However she said: "Dublin Bus is the only European bus service to provide a change reclaim facility and encourages customers to reclaim their change or to purchase pre-paid tickets."

She pointed out: "A wide range of pre-paid tickets are available and can be purchased from 400 outlets across Dublin city."

fdillon@herald.ie


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