How to complaint about public transport the RIGHT way?


Martin, a commuter who has been using public transport for over twenty years to travel to and from his job in corporate law, relies on public transport being on time. After two decades, he found he was facing delays on an increasingly regular basis, causing him problems at work with both colleagues and clients alike.

Alongside the common problems that commuters contend with such as a lack of seating, broken air conditioning units, nuisance from fellow travelers and a lack of personal space, trains were also regularly failing to depart on schedule. Confusing information displays added to Martin’s frustration; after much discussion with his peers and fellow commuters, it became clear this was a common complaint. However, this raised the question, when should you file a public transport complaint?

public transport complaint

When should you complain about public transport?

Whether you have a complaint about the train, metro or bus … you have to ask yourself if your complaint is serious enough to invest time and effort in it. We advise you to at least submit a complaint if the following situations occur:

  1. If you have arrived at a destination over half an hour late due to a delay, in most cases you will qualify for compensation.
  2. If your health or wellbeing was impacted on your journey. Examples of this could include overcrowding, crushing or extreme temperatures.
  3. When misinformation caused you to miss your connection and resulted in costs of both time and money.

How to write a public transport complaint?

Are you writing a complaint about a train, bus or metro? Make sure you take the following points into account in order to be able to write an effective complaint that actually produces results.

  1. Make sure to retain proof of purchase of your tickets in order to receive a refund
  2. Along with submitting the complaint on we advise you to also report your complaint directly. Check the website of your transport provider for any guidelines already in place for proceeding with a complaint. There is often a standard compensation scheme in place.
  3. If the scheme in place is not sufficient or doesn’t address your issue, you can escalate the matter further by writing a complaint letter
  4. Be sure to write with a polite but firm tone; making certain to avoid expletives and to convey a concise story of what you experienced
  5. The intent is not just to complain, but also to reach your desired outcome. Therefore, suggest potential solutions within your complaint letter that could resolve the conflict.

Why complain about public transport?

Why file a complaint? Well that’s simple. A lot still goes wrong in the public transport sector, through your feedback they can implement concrete improvements. They should therefore be very grateful that you have taken the time and effort to submit a complaint. A good company should thank you with a (partial) refund.

Possible result of a public transport complaint

Full compensation or partial refund for the inconvenience you’ve experienced. Typically, companies determine the amount to compensate based on the length of the passenger’s delay.  For example, 25% compensation would be awarded if there was a delay of over 15 minutes, increasing to 50% for a delay of over half an hour. Other issues may require more customized solutions based on the individual’s complaint.

Where complain about public transport?

Besides complaining through the public transport company its own channels, we advise you to file your complaint here as well. We will make sure your complaint gets the attention it deserves.

Do you have a complaint about a public transport provider that hasn’t been listed below? Report it here.

Current complaint sentiment: Positive

Our sentiment meter has detected a -39% decline in Public Transport complaints over the past 28 days compared to the average rate.

Updated on December 4, 2023

Public Transport complaints chart

In the graph below you will find a monthly breakdown of the complaints we have received in the category Public Transport over the last 12 months.