RESIDENTS are being advised to check the expiry date of their concessionary bus passes, after invalid permit journeys cost the council £30,000 last year.

Now civic chiefs are warning expired passes will be confiscated if used for travel.

They say invalid permits, such as an older person’s or a disabled person’s pass, can now be identified by bus ticket machines when scanned, which will alert the driver who will then take action.

Currently, a replacement bus pass is sent out to owners two weeks before the expiry date of their pass, with drivers allowing them to complete their discounted journey – with the difference paid to bus companies by the county council – while they wait for a new one to arrive.

But, if they haven’t used it in the past six months, this automatic renewal is cancelled, in a bid to save council money on permits that are not used. However, residents who are eligible can still request one if needed.

Councillor Rob Humby, transport boss at Hampshire County Council, said: “Bus drivers have been able to withdraw expired passes for some time, but technology in the ticket machines is now able to pick up passes which are linked to replacement passes – essentially making sure there are not two passes registered to one person in circulation.

“Last year, around 27,000 journeys were made with invalid passes, costing Hampshire council taxpayers an extra £30,000 towards the cost of the concessionary fare scheme.”

This new rule comes into effect on January 1.

Cllr Humby added: “The concessionary pass scheme is a valuable aid to independence.

“It works by paying bus operators for the numbers of passengers, and costs around £13 million each year to implement in Hampshire so it’s important that passes that are no longer valid are withdrawn from circulation.

“I would urge people whose passes have been lost, stolen or expired to contact Hampshire County Council so they can get a new, valid bus pass as soon as possible.”

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