Bus users across Falkirk district are being encouraged to use a new hotline number to help prevent National Concessionary Travel scheme fraud.

The roll-out of smart technology on Scotland’s buses has given Transport Scotland a far greater ability to prevent ‘over-staging’, the practice of bus companies charging taxpayers for longer journeys than are actually made by concessionary travel card holders.

However, the monitoring of the scheme still relies on members of the public remaining vigilant against inaccuracies in the journeys they make. The launch of a new hotline will give members of the public a clear point of contact, which they can easily report any concerns they have to the proper authorities by calling 0800 328 5690.

Urging passengers to check the destination on their tickets, Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson said:

“While a lot of work has already been done to prevent the free bus travel which older people are entitled to from being abused by bus companies, we all have an important role to play in preventing fraud.

“When concessionary passengers get given tickets, it’s important that they check their destination matches where they want to go. If anyone has any concerns that the journeys they make are not being accurately recorded, then they should contact this new hotline number.

“Giving Transport Scotland a warning that something may be amiss could be the tip-off that they need to ensure that the taxpayer is not taken for a ride.

“The free bus pass is a fantastic scheme which lets thousands of older and disabled people across Scotland remain active and involved in their communities. It is something that has been extended under the Scottish Government to now include injured veterans and dial-a-bus services.

“However for the success of the scheme to continue it is important that it is not abused, even inadvertently, by bus companies, which is why the launch of this new hotline is an important move.”