Bus users in Northamptonshire are being advised to check whether they are using their most recent valid concessionary bus pass in the coming weeks.
In England, any person of female pensionable age or with an eligible disability can apply for a bus pass which entitles them to free bus travel after 9.30am on weekdays and at any time on weekends and bank holidays on any local bus service in England.
However, there are many passengers in the county who travel on old passes or on passes that they have reported lost or stolen and may have found again.
These passes are known as hot-listed passes, and Stagecoach ticket machines will soon recognise these passes as such and show a message to the driver.
When will the checks start?
For the first three weeks after the introduction of this policy (Monday, March 2 until Sunday, March 22) and then in many instances after this, the driver will allow the passenger to travel even if the pass is expired or hot-listed as long as the photograph resembles the person presenting the card.
However, after this period, the driver may confiscate the card if the photograph does not match the passenger. In all instances of an expired or hot-listed card showing up, the passenger will be advised to contact a library or go online to apply for a reissued card.
Cllr Michael Clarke, Northamptonshire County council cabinet member for transport, highways and environment, said: “Of course the vast majority of people using these passes are entitled to do so but we have had reports that old passes have been used by people who are not entitled to travel.
“People who are entitled to use a concessionary pass have nothing to worry about and, indeed, we would encourage them to use their passes as much as they can.”
There are over 100,000 cards in circulation in the county and some 20,000 cards are reissued every year.
Older persons passes can be ordered online while both passes can be applied for at libraries.