Milton Keynes City Council is receiving record numbers of applications for its bus passes enabling free off-peak travel, with an increasing number of people applying online.
Last year more than 9,000 applications for bus passes were made by eligible residents with disabilities or who were at pension age.
In comparison, in 2019/20 the City Council received around 5,000 applications, dropping to just over 3,000 in 2020/21 due to the pandemic.
Although MK City Council accepts paper-based applications and also offers a customer helpline for people who need extra support, as many as 90% of people now apply online each month.
That’s partly due to a new and more flexible approach introduced during the pandemic, when the City Council started accepting photographs of evidence proving eligibility (such as a passport or driving license) rather than asking for the original document, making the process far simpler and faster to complete.
It calculates that those residents applying online, instead of waiting at Civic to present paper evidence as they used to, are collectively saving themselves around 90 days a year.
“There’s clearly lots of local demand for bus passes and making some sensible changes to our process means it’s easier than ever before to apply. Councils are often criticised for adding rather than reducing red tape but in reality, we want applications like this to be as straightforward as possible. “It’s also important that we have a welcoming helpline team who are ready to offer a bit of extra support to anyone who needs it.” - Cabinet Member for Customer Services, Cllr Paul Trendall