Bus pass glitch leads to complaints from fed-up Portsmouth pensioners

Pensioner Stephen Justice from North End with his faulty bus pass which is causing problems because of a software glitch.  Picture: Steve Reid (123174-895)

Pensioner Stephen Justice from North End with his faulty bus pass which is causing problems because of a software glitch. Picture: Steve Reid (123174-895)

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PENSIONERS across the city have been left confused after their bus passes stopped working.

One bus user said he felt like a criminal when his pass card came up as invalid on the driver’s ticket machine.

Stephen Justice, 69, of North End Grove, North End, said the driver told him to go to the pass office in Portsmouth Guildhall and order a new one.

However, the new pass came up with the same error message on First and Stagecoach busses.

Portsmouth City Council has since told The News that the problem is not the cards, it is in fact an issue with the bus company’s software and that all firms in the country are currently in the process of updating their systems.

Mr Justice said: ‘I wish I had been told what was going on.

‘The drivers kept telling me one thing, and the pass office said another thing.

‘They all kept saying it wasn’t their problem, and I’ve been passed back and forth between them.

‘It was infuriating. I don’t want to annoy the drivers – I just want to get on the bus without a fuss.

‘I felt like I’d done something wrong when it stopped working, it made me feel like a criminal.’

The council has assured The News that all systems will be updated by the end of next month and passes will work as usual from that point onwards.

Rose-Marie Thomas, 63, of Jupiter Court, Gunwharf Quays, said: ‘My pass was working fine one day, then the next it wasn’t.

‘It just stopped being accepted on the bus driver’s machine without any warning.

‘I didn’t know what was going on and was totally shocked.

‘It’s stopped me going out because I’m worried that I won’t get on the bus, and even if I do get on, I might not get back home.’

Danny Johnson, passenger transport officer for the council, said: ‘Every bus company across the country is having to update their electronic ticket machines to accept recently-issued concessionary fare passes.

‘This should be completed by November at the latest.

‘Because of the update some cards aren’t working properly, so ourselves and the department of transport have told bus operators they must accept cards which are just shown to them.

‘If anyone has any problems using their card just let us know and we’ll issue a notice which can be shown to the bus driver.’

For more information contact the council’s concessionary fares department on (023) 9268 8599.

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