Leanne Offers Help to Pensioners Following Online Bus Pass Renewal Controversy

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The Rhondda AM is offering to help pensioners with their mandatory applications for bus pass renewals due to the Welsh Government’s insistence that the process must be done on online.

Leanne Wood said she was opening up her office to online applications because she feared many would be “disenfranchised” if they don’t have access to an online computer and have no family or friends that can help.

After December 31 2019, the current green ‘bus passes’ will no longer be valid. Applications for the new concessionary travel cards have now opened but initially it can only be done online. Applicants need to quote the long digit card number on the front of the green bus pass, date of birth, postcode and national insurance number.

Leanne said she feared many pensioners will miss out on free bus travel from 2020 onwards. “I’m disappointed that the Labour Government initially insisted on an online-only application process. The Rhondda has been shown to have high levels of ‘digital exclusion’ and this would be higher among pensioners than any other age group.

“Pensioners who don’t have the support of friends and family  go through the online application face being disenfranchised. Thankfully, after some pressure and the website going down, I understand that paper forms are now being issued.

“The bus pass is a lifeline for many pensioners as it allows them to remain independent and have company. I am inviting anyone having trouble with the online application or unable to get a paper form to come into my office  between 3pm and 4.30pm on a Wednesday or a Friday. Our office address is 68 Pontypridd Road, Porth.

“Please phone my office on 01443 681420 first to make sure that the Transport for Wales website is working before you visit.

“Some libraries and council offices are offering sessions to help with people so I would also recommend people call in to see how they can help you as well.  I know that many communities in the Rhondda lost their library under the Labour local authority so that may be an option for everyone.”

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