TRAVEL chiefs have launched a crackdown on pensioner bus pass fraud that is costing the council tax payer thousands.

Now civic chiefs are warning that expired passes will be confiscated if used for travel after it was revealed that invalid permit journeys cost the council £30,000 last year.

They say that invalid permits, such as an older person’s or a disabled person’s pass, can now be identified by bus ticket machines when scanned, which will alert the driver who will then take action.

Currently, a replacement bus pass is sent out to owners two weeks before the expiry date of their pass, with drivers allowing them to complete their discounted journey – with the difference paid to bus companies by the county council – while they wait for a new one to arrive.

But, if they haven’t used it in the past six months, this automatic renewal is cancelled, in a bid to save council money on permits that are not used. However, residents who are eligible can still request one if needed.

Councillor Rob Humby, transport boss at Hampshire County Council, said: “Bus drivers have been able to withdraw expired passes for some time, but technology in the ticket machines is now able to pick up passes which are linked to replacement passes – essentially making sure there are not two passes registered to one person in circulation.

“Last year, around 27,000 journeys were made with invalid passes, costing Hampshire council taxpayers an extra £30,000 towards the cost of the concessionary fare scheme.”

However, this new rule won’t come into effect until January 1, meaning passengers presenting passes which have expired will still be able to use them.

The older person’s bus permit – gained by residents when they reach pensionable age – entitles people to free travel on bus services throughout England from 9.30am to 11pm Monday to Friday and all day at weekends and on public holidays.

A disabled person’s pass entitles people to free all day travel on bus service journeys starting in Hampshire (not Portsmouth and Southampton) regardless of where they are travelling to.

Cllr Humby added: “We are asking holders of concessionary passes to make sure they are using the correct pass before they travel by checking the date to make sure it is still valid. If they have reported a pass lost or stolen, we would ask that they use the replacement pass they’ve been sent.

“The concessionary pass scheme is a valuable aid to independence. It works by paying bus operators for the numbers of passengers, and costs around £13 million each year to implement in Hampshire so it’s important that passes that are no longer valid are withdrawn from circulation. I would urge people whose passes have been lost, stolen or expired to contact Hampshire County Council so they can get a new, valid bus pass as soon as possible.”

To order a replacement pass, go to or email the Concessionary Travel Team:, or phone 0300 555 1376.