A NEW way to renew the free concessionary bus pass scheme is due to start from next month.
To improve the system and reduce the delay in renewals, Cambridgeshire County Council will be writing to bus pass holders to ensure renewals are staggered.for this and future years
From September 2011 Cambridgeshire County Council will start contacting people whose passes expire in 2012, either by post or email, inviting them to re-apply. This will result in bus pass renewals being automatically staggered, making it far quicker and simpler for people to renew their passes.
The renewal process has been made even easier for pass holders. Most of those eligible for bus passes will be able to renew on line, simply following a link sent in the email or by signing and completing the confirmation slip at the bottom of the renewal letter.
Pass holders will be contacted any time from September 2011 to one month before the pass expires. If people are having difficulties they will be able to call the Council to ask for advice.
National changes to the scheme has meant County Councils, including Cambridgeshire, have taken over the running of the scheme, seeing for the first time the data of thousands of pass holders co-ordinated in one place. Passes, which provide free bus travel at certain times for people aged 60 or with specific disabilities, are generally renewed every five years.
In the past District Councils looked after the scheme and renewals would be handled by them at the same time, duplicating work and resources.
Cambridgeshire County Councillor Steve Criswell, Cabinet Member for Community Infrastructure, said: “For the first time concessionary bus passes are being co-ordinated by one Council instead of five. We want to make renewing them as easy as possible. By staggering renewal dates rather than them coming in at the same time, as they do now, we will make sure the whole process is handled efficiently and pass holders will get a better service. We want to reassure people there is no need to do anything until they are contacted and then they can either fill in the form online or just complete the slip on the letter we send. Cambridgeshire County Council is committed to making things easier for residents, especially those who are the most vulnerable and where we can streamline processes we will.”