Problems using your NX Direct Debit Regional Travelcard on other services?

Since last year when changes were made to bus tickets that saw the removal of operator-only tickets/passes, I’ve been using my NX Direct Debit monthly pass on other operators’ services with no issues, mainly on Stagecoach, Diamond and Landflight buses.

Last Saturday though, I attempted to board a Stagecoach service, the 169 Solihull to Kings Heath, and the pass wouldn’t validate, just beeped and flashed red. The driver took a look at my Swift card and promptly told me that it was invalid as it was only for use on NX bus services. Which I found very odd, due to having been able to use it previously.

I distinctly remember receiving an email from NX regarding my direct debit pass, and having found it out now, it definitely did say:

Thank you for continuing to pay for your bus pass through the Direct Debit scheme. We’re emailing to let you know that from 3rd July 2023 our tickets and fares will be changing.

Our goal is to deliver a comprehensive bus service that provides great value.

We have worked hard for years to keep fares low, with most fares frozen since 2017. The reality is that price increases are now needed to protect the bus network in the face of rising costs.

The price increase will take effect automatically on or after 3rd July, in line with your renewal date. At this point, you will have much more flexibility to travel on any bus, regardless of bus operator.

I read that, as many others probably did, as ‘not needing to do anything’, and there was no suggestion that I needed to take any action.

After my experience on Saturday, I decided to contact both NX Bus and Stagecoach to seek some clarification.

Stagecoach did reply back quite promptly, on the bank holiday Monday, but with a bit of an unhelpful reply:

I am sorry to hear of these issues you have been having with this ticket. As Stagecoach are not the operator of this ticket we would not be able to look into any issues you have with this ticket.

Please get in touch with the operator who should be able to sort this for you. 

I did finally get a reply back from NX Bus this afternoon, which I was a bit surprised by.

This is just to confirm that your Replacement pass has now been processed and should be posted out on the next working day. 

You should expect to receive your pass within 3-5 working days. However, please be advised that during busy periods there may a slightly longer wait, but we will do all we can to get this out to you ASAP.

Please note that your Swift card will remain active and we have issued a new card as the new up-to-date travelcards are purple. Please call us on 0121 254 7272, we are open Monday to Friday once the card is received, this is because the product on your current card is an Nx product only.

Oh so that’s all a bit strange then! So how come nearly a year later I am finding out that my monthly pass is actually only valid on NX Buses? (And how come it worked all this time on other buses? Or did it?)

What shows on my card when I scan it on the TfWM app on my phone

I asked the question on my Facebook page as to whether other travellers had been having the same issue, and it seems I wasn’t alone!

Susan: “Mine does not work on stagecoach no 41 route, I emailed them, they said my card was faulty”

Aaron: “I’ve had constant issues on Stagecoach, haven’t been on it recently but the amount of times it hasn’t scanned and I’ve either had to explain to the driver that it is valid or the drivers just waved me on.”

Neil: “Arriva on route 110 Tamworth to Birmingham within the county area. The pass don’t scan on their ticket machines and drivers claim it isn’t valid.”

So if you, like me, have a monthly NX Regional Travelcard – paid for by direct debit – issued on an old Swift card, the early ‘blue’ version as shown on the right in the image illustrating this article, it would seem the ‘solution’ to this problem is to contact NX Bus so they can arrange to replace your Swift card with a newer version loaded with the correct product.

But it beats me why this just didn’t happen ‘automatically’ or why the product on the card couldn’t be updated ‘remotely’ in the system.

To contact NX Bus with queries about Direct Debit subscriptions, click here. (Choose the ‘Other’ option on the form and then explain the issue you are having with using your pass on other operators’ services)

Has anyone else had this same issue, and did a replacement card work for you? Would love to hear some comments and feedback, please feel free to leave a comment below!

UPDATE 5th June 2024

OK so I received my replacement Swift card in the post yesterday, and after calling up NX Bus customer services today as requested, what they have now done is to ‘add’ the nBus product to my Swift card, alongside the NX product.

Which means now that I can use this pass on all other operators’ services, within the nBus area of course, as was helpfully pointed out by the call handler.

I just needed to use the Swift Collector in the TfWM app to load this onto my card, which took seconds, and now I’m good to go!

I was at work when I called NX Bus so didn’t want to prolong the telephone conversation any longer than needed, so at this point I’m not sure whether a replacement card was actually needed or not – maybe the older cards don’t allow multiple products to be loaded or something like that? – or whether it was just simply the case of adding the nBus product, in which case this surely could have been done automatically for all direct debit subscribers.


About WMBU

Stu is the founder of this West Midlands Bus Users website.
He is not a bus enthusiast, but as a regular passenger takes an interest in public transport related matters, having relied on buses to get around for over twenty-five years now.

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