New bus passes: Website still down after 10 days

A Huw's Coaches bus Image copyright Efan Thomas
Image caption The change is part of Transport for Wales' plans to modernise travel around the nation

A website for 730,000 people in Wales to renew bus passes is still out of action, 10 days after crashing because of the weight of demand.

Concessionary pass holders, mainly over-60s, have until 31 December to apply online for new electronic passes.

But after the renewal scheme was launched on 11 September, the volume of applicants crashed the website.

Transport for Wales (TfW) is working with Age Cymru to redesign the site and hope to make it live next week.

It wants everyone to switch to new electronic passes that can be used on buses around Wales, but urged people not to panic as the new system will not kick in until 1 January 2020.

The online renewal process has been beset by problems, with Age Cymru and the older people's commissioner also warning that many bus users do not have a computer.

As a result, at the end of last week, thousands of paper applications were sent out to councils to place in libraries, community and sport centres.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Pass-holders account for 47% of all bus journeys in Wales, according to recent figures

Older People's Commissioner for Wales Helena Herklots said online forms "will cause concern for older people who do not use the internet" and urged local authorities to help people fill out paper forms.

A version of the form can also be downloaded and printed off by people wanting to help friends or relatives.

"Taking on the concerns that we've heard from older people this week, we're making sure that copies are available from local councils, such as libraries and community hubs and people can download a copy from our website," said TfW's chief executive James Price.

Age Cymru's Victoria Lloyd said: "At this stage we would urge older people not to panic about renewing their passes.

"The deadline is not until 31 December so there is plenty of time to make the application."

TfW said community organisations were providing support for anyone anxious and thanked people for their patience while the website was taken down to increase capacity.

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