Half of counties allow online bus pass purchasing

Pensioners can now buy bus passes online on half of England’s county council websites, according to new research.

The latest report by Socitm, the representative body for public service ICT workers examined how easy it is to buy an older person’s bus pass.

When the same question about online applications was asked by Socitm two years ago, only eight counties (30% of those surveyed) offered a complete online application, compared with 52% today.

A statement from Socitm said: “The likelihood of customers applying for free bus passes having mobility issues is a good reason for making online applications available, saving trips to council facilities to present documents and all the associated inconvenience.

“However, when implementing such a facility, care needs to be taken to make it easy to use, given there are eligibility criteria and that submission of photographs is involved.”

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The top rated councils for the bus pass task were Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire and Surrey, the survey found.

Sites that performed badly tended to fail on details of presentation and navigation, the report said.

Socitm said: “For example, reviewers noted that the term ‘concessionary travel’ was often used to describe the service when ‘bus pass’ is what most people will be looking for.

“The naming of the free bus pass also varied, and included terms such as ‘senior citizen’s bus pass’, ‘Older person’s bus pass’ and ‘Age-related pass’.”

Socitm reviewers test council websites from a user perspective, checking the speed and ease of carrying out the most popular tasks on council websites.

Apply for older person’s bus pass’ is one of twelve tasks to be tested by the team in 2015/16.

Colin Marrs

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