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What Is the Older Person’s Travel Pass?

By IntFormalities
Updated on September 16, 2023
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

When people near retirement age, a whole raft of benefits becomes available. That is the case with the older person’s travel pass. As a general rule of thumb, the older person’s travel pass allows qualifying people to travel freely on the local bus network.

However, in some areas, other modes of transport are also accessible. For instance, the older person’s travel pass (also called the Freedom pass) can be used in London to access trains, trams, and the Underground system.

This article looks at the older person’s travel pass in detail. 

What Is the Older Person's Travel Pass?
An older persons travel pass provides free bus transport for senior people throughout the country

Who Can Apply?

To obtain a free bus pass, you must have reached retirement age or the qualifying age, which would depend on your place of residence. Currently, the age of retirement is 66. However, in London, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, the qualification age is less than the retirement age. In these areas, the older person’s travel pass becomes available at 60.

How To Apply

To begin the application process, visit the UK government website. You will be asked to enter your postcode and will be directed to your local council, where you can apply online. To apply, you will normally need the following documentation:

Proof of address and proof of age needs to be provided by different documents. Therefore a driving licence cannot be used for both purposes. With some local authorities, no documentation is required other than a passport-size photo when making an online application. Relevant checks are made on the national database to confirm eligibility. 

For people who prefer to apply offline through a paper application, it is best to contact their local council. The council will send you an application form to complete by post.

When To Apply

It is best to apply a few months before retirement age (or 60 if in London, Northern Ireland, Scotland, or Wales). That way, your free bus pass will be ready as soon as you qualify for the scheme. 

With most councils, the older person’s travel pass is valid for 5 years. Usually, the council will send another travel pass a few weeks before the current one expires. There is no need to renew bus passes online or through other means.  

When Is the Older Person’s Travel Pass Valid?

The older person’s travel pass is valid at off-peak times. That means anytime after the morning rush hour, which ends at 9.30 am, and all day at weekends and on bank holidays. In most regions, you can get concessionary fares before 9.30 am. 

For instance, a person can travel for £1 before 9.30 am with the West Midlands travel bus pass.  

What Happens If Your Older Person’s Travel Pass Is Lost or Stolen?

Contact your local council straight away to cancel the pass. That way, it ensures your pass cannot be used fraudulently. Getting a replacement is usually free, but some councils charge for providing a new pass. For instance, Kent County Council charges £10 for a replacement bus pass.

Other Forms of Transport

An older person’s travel pass is only valid on the bus network except for London. In other regions, you can obtain discounts on other forms of transport such as trains. The Senior Railcard enables a person to receive one-third of the cost of train fares. There is an annual cost of £30 to buy the senior railcard, but it is handy for those who wish to use the train network extensively.

For coach travel, it is possible to obtain a Coachcard. There is an annual cost of £12.50, but it enables the holder to receive a one-third discount on coach travel with the National Express throughout the UK. 

For people with limited mobility, there is the dial-a-ride scheme. A minibus will pick up people from their doorstep and take them anywhere within the local vicinity. 

Getting the Most out of Life

An older person’s travel pass provides free bus transport for senior people throughout the country. The scheme is viewed as a welcome help by many recipients. It enables people to save money when they are no longer in work and reliant on pension payments. 

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