A concessional bus pass for the disabled has turned into a nightmare for Auckland man Brett Edge.

The concession card, bearing the logo of the Auckland Regional Transport Authority (Arta), says the bearer is entitled to "discount travel" when paying by cash or buying a multi-ride ticket.

But 15 times NZ Bus drivers have refused to give Mr Edge a discount.

On two of those days he didn't have enough money for a full fare and was put off the bus in the central city, forcing him to call his mother to come and pick him up.

Mr Edge, 26, has an intellectual disability and has limited speech so he was not able to challenge the drivers.

His mother, Donna Marquardt, said she had taught her son how to catch the bus by himself so he could become more independent, but the repeated knockbacks from drivers were undermining his self-esteem.

"My son is left distraught and confused each time this occurs," she said.

"He is unemployed and his only enjoyment comes from sport and meeting his friends. He is a member of the only special needs rugby team in the country and on Saturday was again refused the child price, which led to him being upset and impacted upon his enjoyment of his game."

Mr Edge catches the bus from his home in Kohimarama to rugby games at Tamaki on Saturdays, and to the city and to Sylvia Park during the week.

"He goes to the library in the city and he'll go to Sylvia Park to meet his friend and go shopping," Mrs Marquardt said.

"He gets the bus to Glen Innes and the train from Glen Innes. He's had no problem with the trains."

He has caught buses each way about three times a week since he got the card 18 months ago, and most times the bus drivers accepted the card.

But he has been refused a discount roughly once a fortnight.

After nine complaints, NZ Bus sent him an apology last week with a complimentary "gold rider" card.

"But then it happened again on Saturday," Mrs Marquardt said.

Arta spokeswoman Sharon Hunter said the card provided a 40 per cent discount and was available for up to 789 intellectually impaired people who attend day programmes at IHC or approved agencies, which issue the cards. Cards can be used for any public transport, not only to attend programmes.

"We expect public transport operators to accept the card without question," she said.

NZ Bus spokeswoman Siobhan O'Donovan apologised again to Mr Edge and said she was extremely disappointed he had been refused the discount again on Saturday.

She said Auckland managers "will be re-highlighting with their drivers what the card looks like and the discount that it offers".

Pass outlets
Disabled bus pass available from: Abilities North Shore, Abilities West Auckland, IHC, CCS, Framework Trust, Mountain Industries, Pinnacle Packaging, AbPost and Pack, Spectrum Care, Auckland Protected Trust, Disabled Citizens Society, Mt Richmond Special School, Mt Tabor Trust, Christopher House, Kotuku Trust.