Free replacements for faulty bus passes for Bognor Regis pensioners

Some elderly bus-users around Bognor Regis have been wrongly told they had to pay to replace their faulty bus passes.

New equipment on Stagecoach buses has begun to be used to scan the some 6,500 concessionary fare passes issued across the town instead of passengers showing their pass to the driver.

But some passes are not being recognised by the scanner on the bus.

This has led to their holders facing demands for a £5 fee for a new pass. One contacted the Observer.

Helen Martin, for Stagecoach South, said: “We have just become aware of this issue of people being asked to pay for new passes.

“This is causing some distress for them.

“We have made the county council aware of this. It is up to them to tell Arun what they want the district council to do.

“But the pass is still valid even if it is not accepted by the scanner and its holder should still be able to travel.”

West Sussex County Council is responsible for the scheme and Arun District Council runs it around Bognor. Both councils said paying for the passes was wrong.

The district council spokeswoman said it only ran the scheme for the county council.

“We have been made aware that some people are experiencing problems with the scanners on some buses.

“However, the passes can be used as ‘flash cards’ and should still be accepted by the bus companies.

“Where the passes are damaged or lost a £5 fee replacement is charged by Arun on behalf of, and at the instruction of, the county council,” she said.

For the county council, its spokeswoman said faulty cards should be replaced for free.

“The county council’s policy is that people should only be charged a £5 replacement fee if their cards are lost or damaged.

“The fee is not applied if the card is stolen and a crime reference number is provided.

“If the cards are faulty, they should be replaced free of charge.”

The scanning equipment has been launched in West Sussex after being successfully used in Kent and East Sussex.

Stagecoach receives an average fare each time a pass is used.

The value is the same for each trip and based on a complicated formula set by the government.