Over 60s can apply for their new bus pass with a postal application form, after accusations that Welsh Government body Transport for Wales (TfW) were leaving some behind with its use of an online system.
All bus passes need to be renewed before December 31, but there has been confusion on how to do it.
An information sheet distributed by TfW encourages people to apply for a new pass online. However, this has led to accusations the organisation has not taken into account people who have difficulty accessing the internet.
Aber Valley councillor John Roberts, of Plaid Cymru, said he’s concerned by the changes and is looking to organise sessions to help people in his ward renew their bus passes, alongside fellow Aber Valley ward councillors Lyndon Binding and John Taylor.
Cllr Roberts said: “With changes like this, people are being left behind and we have to cater for them. In my opinion, I understand why everything’s online – things are moving on – but they need to take a step back and work out how to support people not online.”
Plaid Cymru’s South Wales East AM, Delyth Jewell, said she would like to see more help being offered.
She said: “Not everybody has access to the internet, and this shouldn’t be down to the luck of the draw as to whether people happen to have friends or family living nearby who can help.”
Ms Jewell AM added: “I also intend to ask the council what extra help could be made available in libraries and other information hubs throughout the borough so we can be sure that everybody who needs a pass is able to get one on time.”
A TfW spokeswoman did not respond to the accusation it was excluding people without online access, but did admit that people can call them for a postal application form.
She said: “The new-style cards offer the same free travel rights and benefits as the current card. The new-style cards are required as the current cards will not be recognised on electronic readers on buses after December 31.
“The new cards are also designed to work as part of an integrated travel network in the future.”
She added: “Although we are encouraging applications to be made via the website, as this is easier and faster, we are working with local service providers such as community hubs and libraries to provide additional support to anyone who needs it.
“Paper applications are also available on request to anyone who really needs them by calling TfW’s dedicated support team on 03003 034 240.”
TfW’s bus pass renewal website went live on Wednesday, September 11, but crashed.
Labour’s Islwyn AM Rhianon Passmore said she had been reassured by Welsh Government that the website would be live again soon.
She said: “In the meantime, residents can still request a paper application and complete this if they so wish.
“I shall be seeking further clarity from TfW as to how applications are progressing as I know how vital and popular the Welsh Labour Government’s bus passes scheme is.
“Nobody should be concerned, however frustrating the present situation currently is.”