free bus travel with a bus pass

Focusing on Bus Passes, -Concessionary Fares - in England, Scotland, Wales & N. Ireland and on wider issues affecting pensioners and disabled people

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Bus Passes for pensioners, Freedom Passes, Metro Passes, "English National Concession Ticket Scheme" (ENCTS), NOWcard, NCTP - Our aim in this website is to provide information about bus passes whatever they are called in your neck of the woods, issued for older people and disabled people. Since 2008 a national scheme has been in existence sponsored by the UK government to provide free bus travel to older people and the disabled. People who hold a bus pass issued in England can use their pass to travel on local buses anywhere in England. So someone living in Birmingham for instance who goes on holiday in Bognor Regis can also use his/her bus pass on local buses in the Bognor Regis area.

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The same applies to people in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. But here's the rub: Someone owning a bus pass in Scotland can only use it on local buses in Scotland, and the same applies to Wales and Northern Ireland. There are small exceptions to these rules, e.g. a Welsh bus pass holder can use his/her pass for journeys into England which commence or finish in Wales. We give information on the exceptions in our 'Local Variations' page. The basic times when bus passes can be used are weekdays between 9.30 am and 11pm, and at all times at the weekend- but some local authorities extend that to allow wider travel times during the week, and to local trains, tube services, and ferries. Where this applies the enhanced benefit is only available to local residents. e.g bus pass holders living in Merseyside can travel free on buses, trains and Mersey Ferries, but a bus pass visitor to Merseyside from say Manchester would only be able to travel free on buses. The other major variation is that in England the qualifying age was 60, but is being phased back to age 65. To find out when you will qualify please go to our WHEN can I get a bus pass? page. (if you were born after February 1959 or later you will be able to get an older persons bus pass at age 65). In Wales, Scotland, & N.Ireland the qualifying age is age 60. Also in Merseyside and London there are passes available from age 60 which enable holders to travel free on local services only.

A bit confusing isn't it - please don't blame us though, we didn't invent the rules, this is a voluntary website trying to offer help, and are happy to try to answer queries.

Bus Passes for the disabled - there is a set of criteria to qualify for a disabled bus pass, and we would recommend looking at your local authority webpage for help on this, our 'Where to apply' page should help you to find information on criteria and how to apply. To the best of our knowledge the same rules on when and where a disabled bus pass can be used apply as for Older People.

Worried about the renewal of your bus pass ?

Thousands of people's bus passes are expiring around now, and as the date approaches people are wondering whether they have to re-apply or not. In most cases the local authority are writing out to existing bus pass holders with information on the renewal of bus passes. But not all - if you wish to check what your local authority require, we suggest going to our 'Where to apply' page, find the link to your local authority, where you may find information on renewals, and if not an email adress that you can use to enquire.

Do you know of a rural bus service that's been cut, a planned new pedestrian crossing that's been cancelled, or any other cut to transport in your area?
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Our resident pundits Fred n Ted give their views in video format on issues of concern to older & disabled people.