Bus firm explains role in pass row

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The bus company whose driver refused to let a 92-year-old woman on board in a row over an “obsolete” pass has explained its position.

A driver for Boston-based Brylaine Travel told Thelma Branch, of Bourne Road, to pay £1.45 for a one-mile journey into Spalding after her bus pass was thought to be invalid, despite it having an expiry date of October 2015.

In a statement, a Brylaine spokesman said Mrs Branch had tried to use a pass issued by South Holland District Council before responsibility for issuing identity cards to the elderly passed to county councils in 2010.

The spokesman said: “The pass shown by Mrs Branch was one of the old passes issued by the district council but in the 2010-11 financial year, responsibility for the management of the National Concessionary Fares Scheme passed from district authorities to county councils.

“The bus pass held by Mrs Branch has been superseded by a new pass issued by Lincolnshire County Council and it is important that these passes are quite clearly issued by the county authority and carry a logo easily identifiable to drivers.”

The spokesman said Brylaine was still investigatng Mrs Branch’s complaint which her son, Ian Branch, of Biggin Hill, Kent, has taken up with John Hayes, MP for South Holland and The Deepings.

“Obviously it was impossible to issue replacement passes overnight and bus operators agreed to allow a period for this to be applied,” the spokesman said.

“We are investigating the incident with Mrs Branch.”