Thousands of bus passengers, including students and pensioners, have been forced to pay higher fares after a computer glitch caused travel pass chaos.
Problems with Travel South Yorkshire’s online application process has meant student passes for 16 to 18-year-olds have not arrived – and some teenagers have not even been able to apply.
The issue meant some youngsters were forced to pay full fares to travel to school and college.
It caused issues with other passes and tickets, including the 11-16 MegaTravel pass and Senior Citizens pass.
Passengers have been encouraged to use the system following the closure of information centres at interchanges across the region.
The centres at Sheffield, Meadowhall, Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster interchanges closed in May as the result of cuts by South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive to save £7.6 million.
But families today criticised the system after many spent more than a week trying to apply for a pass in time for the new academic year.
Neville Hart, from Sheffield, said: “The site has been on and off for many days. As parents we need to know that our children will pay only student fare rate as passes have not been sent or people are still trying to order one.
“Travel South Yorkshire has failed to give us any answers on this matter.”
Another angry father, who did not wish to be named, said: “My daughter starts sixth form this week. I don’t want to be forking out adult fares for a 16-year-old.
“The bus companies are going to make an absolute fortune out of this.
“It took me 40 minutes to get through on the phone and the young woman who I spoke too said they have had to draft in extra staff.”
An SYPTE spokesman apologised to customers and said it has relaxed its policy, allowing youngsters to travel for 70p while the problem is fixed.
A spokesman said: “Intermittent technical problems with the MyTSY online pass application system has meant it has been temporarily unavailable for some customers to use. In response to this, the policy of bus drivers and tram conductors requesting to view 11 – 16 Mega Passes and 16 – 18 Student Travel Passes will be relaxed to ensure that all students will be able to travel around South Yorkshire for the concessionary price of 70p.
“This will take a couple of days to implement, while all operators inform their drivers or tram conductors, but it will be in place until September 30.”