PEOPLE are reminded that Arriva buses in the North-East are card-only – accepting cash in exceptional circumstances but not giving out change.

It comes after a woman told the Northern Echo her day was ruined after a bus driver took her £20 note for a £13 fare after saying the buses no longer accept cash. The 56-year-old, who asked not to be named, could not use card as hers is not contactless and says she was not aware, or informed by the driver, that she could use an app to purchase tickets online.

"It just seemed wrong. He also told me the extra money would go to the NHS. The busses don't come very often so I felt like I had no choice but to get on and pay it," the single mum said.

But Arriva says it has been promoting the use of contactless and M Ticket app-based payments on board, as a preferred alternative to cash payments, since mid-April.

A spokesperson said: "This policy has been introduced in response to Covid-19 and to minimise the risk of infection – it has been implemented to protect both our staff and our customers, as has been the case across many other public transport providers.

"We are not cashless, however we are accepting cash in exceptional circumstances. Drivers can accept cash if the passenger has the exact fare.

"The policy has been very clearly communicated on our buses, on our social channels and our website. Similarly we have been continually promoting our contactless payment option on board and our M Ticket app. Arriva agreed to donate any shorts and overs from cash fares to the NHS and this is an ongoing commitment."