Tyne and Wear residents whose concessionary travel card (free bus pass) expires in the next few months are being warned they need to fill out an application form to get a new one.
New smart cards are issued free by Nexus, except where a change of name or photo is required, but holders must apply to get a replacement.
Application forms for the ‘English National Concessionary Travel Scheme’ are available from Nexus Travelshops across Tyne and Wear and can be downloaded from the website nexus.org.uk.
Huw Lewis, Head of Communications at Nexus, said: “Concessionary travel cards must be renewed at least every five years and we are now asking people whose cards expire between April and June this year to fill in a short application form.
“This is the normal method for renewal, but there may be some confusion because we were able to renew the very large number of cards expiring in March 2013 automatically.
“We cannot do this all the time, so the clear message to people whose cards are now due to expire is to get an application form and follow the simple instructions on it.”
Nexus replaces cards free of charge except where an applicants name has changed or a new photo is required, when a £5 administration fee applies.
The smart cards allow holders – people aged over 61 and eligible disabled – to travel free on local buses throughout England at concessionary travel times, and to purchase a Metro Gold Card.
Nexus pays private bus companies more than £38 million a year in Tyne and Wear to reimburse them for this travel, with funding coming from local councils.
It usually renews several thousand smart cards a month for local residents. In March it successfully delivered a ‘bulk’ renewal of more than 210,000 cards first issued when the English national scheme began in March 2008.
This was done automatically to reduce beaurocracy but at other times card holders are asked to fill in an application form because people may have moved or changed other personal circumstances in that time.