FREEPHONE 0330 058 1579
7 Days a Week 08:00 - 20:00
featured image

Free Bus Pass & Senior Railcard Concessions Guide

For many people, one of the many perks of reaching 60 years olds is getting access to free or discounted travel, including your free bus pass and senior rail card.

Using public transport as you get older is a lifeline for many people who might not be able to drive, or who no longer have access to a car.

Similarly, public transport, particularly rail travel, is getting increasingly more expensive.

For those living off their state pension, it is incredibly hard to afford these costs, which is where the free bus pass and senior railcard comes in to help.

Free Bus Pass For Over 60s

If you are aged 60 or over and are living in the UK, then you could be eligible for a free bus pass. This bus pass will allow you to travel on buses for free.

There are two types of bus passes, including an over 60s bus pass or a disabled person’s bus pass.

With both of these types of bus passes, you get to travel for free on local buses. For any travel across the country, you are able to contact individual transport operators to see if they offer any travel discounts.

For example, National Express offers a Coachcard for anyone aged 60 or over, or if you are disabled. These do however cost you £12.50 a year, which allows you to save a lot of money on any cross country travel [1].

You will gain access to your free bus pass once you are 60 years old. When it comes to the disabled person’s bus pass, you will have to apply to your local council to gain access to this.

The London Freedom Pass

The London Freedom bus pass is available to all residents who have reached state pension age, living in London. This will allow you to live around the City of London for free, including on the tube, the trams, any National Rail services and bus and river services.

For those over a certain age living in London, the London Freedom Pass comes as a blessing. You will gain access to the London Freedom Pass once you hit state pension age, or if you have a disability [2].

Applying for a free bus pass

If you want to apply for a free bus pass and are over the age of 60 years old, then you will need to check your state pension age on the GOV.UK website.

In order to apply for your free bus pass, you will have to provide a passport-style photograph, which has been taken within the last 30 days. You will also have to provide some proof of address, to prove that you live in the local area.

This could be your driving licence, or a pension letter. Unfortunately, they will not accept a utility bill, bank statement or tenancy agreement.

You will also have to provide proof of identity, including a driving licence, a passport, a birth certificate or a marriage certificate.

You will need to take a photo of these or scan them on your computer or laptop, so that you can upload them onto the system. If you are unable to do this, then you will be able to send a copy of them in the post.

Once the council has received your application and any supporting information, they will then process your application and post your pass to your home address.

You should typically expect to wait approximately 21 days for your pass to arrive in the post.

Different ways to apply for your free bus pass

Some people aged 60 or over might not be comfortable applying for their bus pass online.

There are actually several ways that you can apply for your free bus pass, which are listed below:

  • As discussed above, you can apply online for your free bus pass, which will then arrive in the post approximately 21 days after applying online.
  • Likewise, you can visit your local bus station for help. At most bus stations across the UK, you will be given an application form which you will be able to fill out. They will still need proof of identity as well as proof of address and a recent passport style photograph, taken within the last 30 days.
  • Alternatively, you can apply for your free bus pass on the phone by calling your local council. You will need to post your ID and proof of address to the council within a few days of applying over the phone.

Renew or update your free bus pass

If your free bus pass is about to expire, then do not panic. You will receive a letter from the council approximately six weeks before your free bus pass is about to expire.

This letter will contain a unique renewal code which you will need to use alongside your free bus pass number, which you will be able to input online to renew your free bus pass.

Lost or stolen free bus pass

If you lose your free bus pass, damage it or if it gets stolen, then you can easily apply for a new one. This will cost you approximately £10, which you will pay when you re-apply either in person or online.

So, when re-applying, make sure that you have your debit or credit card to hand. It is important to understand that once you have paid for a new free bus pass, we cannot give you a refund, even if you find your old bus pass.

How to use your pass on the bus?

Once you have received your free bus pass, you are free and able to use it immediately.

You do not need to activate it in any way. When you get on the bus, simply hold your free bus pass against the reader on the ticket machine, located next to the driver.

This is exactly the same as you would if you were paying for the bus fare with a bank card. You need to hold the free bus pass against the reader until a green light appears, or until it beeps.

You will then be able to remove your free bus pass from the card reader, take your receipt and then take a seat.

If you are ever confused or worried about how to use your bus pass, then simply ask the driver or speak to someone at the station desk, who will be more than happy to help you and explain how the bus pass works.

Discounts on Rail Travel

If you are aged 60 or over, then you might be able to apply for a senior railcard. This will cost you approximately £30 and will save you a significant amount of money on train fares.

You can apply for the senior railcard through the Senior Railcard website. For this, you will need a valid passport or UK driver’s licence. You can also apply for a senior railcard in person, at your local train station.

If you are classified as disabled, then you might be able to apply for a disabled person’s railcard.

In order to do this, you will need to already be claiming a disability-related benefit, including PIP (Personal Independence Payment) or a Severe Disablement Allowance [3].

You can also apply for this type of railcard if you are registered a deaf, or you use a hearing aid, or if you are blind or suffer from a visual impairment.

It is also important to note that you can apply for this type of railcard if you have epilepsy. If you want to get more information on how to get a disabled person’s railcard, then take a look on this website,

Senior Railcard For Couples

It is important to note that there is no specific railcard for older couples. However, there is a railcard called the Two Together Railcard, which allows both you and your partner to use the same railcard, giving you approximately one third off all travel via trains.

The Two Together Railcard costs you around £30, and on average, people are able to save around £153 a year by buying this type of railcard.

If you are a couple and are able to split the initial £30 cost of a Two Together Railcard, then this is well worth the money.

Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card

If you are currently unemployed and are seeking Jobseekers Allowance or Universal Credit, then you might be entitled to what is called the Jobcentre Travel Discount Card.

This discount card allows you to get 50% of all rail travel whilst you are still looking for work.

You have to be claiming Jobseekers Allowance or Universal Credit for at least 3 – 9 months before anyone aged 18 – 24 can gain access to this card, and 3 – 12 months for anyone aged 25 or over [4].

What are the benefits of having a bus pass or rail card?

If you are approaching the qualifying age for a bus pass or rail card, but are unsure as to whether or not you need or want one, then it is important to remember that there are many benefits to getting one.

Some of these benefits are listed and explained below:

  • Free or discounted unlimited travel
  • Accessible mode of transport
  • Increased confidence
  • Access to a wide range of locations
  • A sense of independence
  • Better mobility
  • The opportunity to get outside more
  • The opportunity to socialise more
  • Improved connectivity with your local community and environment

As you get older, it’s incredibly easy to stay in your home for days, or sometimes even weeks at home.

This not only has an impact on your physical health but on your mental health, too. In fact, research conducted by Imperial College London [5] found that those who had access to a free bus pass were physically more active than those who did not.

Using your free bus pass or railcard to get out of the house more will also have a huge impact on your mental health, your sense of independence, your confidence and your overall general mood.

Age UK also points out that getting outdoors on a regular basis and using things like public transport will also have a huge impact on your immunity and Vitamin D levels.

By getting outdoors, you will increase your exposure to Vitamin D and as a result, will be more immune to colds and flus [6].

Whilst the idea of going out on your own or with your partner and getting on a bus or a train might seem daunting at first, getting a bus pass or railcard will no doubt improve your quality of life. For more health tips, take a look on our website.

Other discounts for over 60s

If you are approaching 60 years old and are hoping to gain access to discounts on your rail and bus travel, then you might be interested in hearing about what other type of discount you could qualify for.

1. Discounted flights

If you are aged 60 or over, then you might qualify for discounted flights. Whilst there is not a ‘flight card’ which gives you discounts across all flights and airlines, each airline might offer you their own discounts, which is something you should look out for when you go to book your next trip.

For example, British Airways has offered over 60’s up to 25% off all their flights in the past.

Other airlines such as Air France, American Airlines and Delta have also offered over 60s discounts on their flights before in the past as well.

2. Discounted hotels

In addition to discounted bus, rail and air travel, you might even be able to get discounts on hotels. For example, Travelodge often offers up to 25% off bookings made by anyone aged 60 or over.

In addition to this, Princess Hotels offers a 20% extra discount on certain hotels up and down the country.

Marriott Hotels and Resorts have also been known to offer discounts for those over 60 years old across the UK, and often offer between 5% and 30% off to those aged 62 or over, depending on which hotel and where it is in the UK.

Additionally, Radisson Hotels and Hilton Hotels have both been known to offer a 10% discount to anyone aged over 60 who qualifies.

If you’re ever unsure as to whether or not a hotel offers a discount to those aged 60 or over, then you are able to ring up and simply ask.

3. Cinema ticket discounts

Many people over the age of 60 love to go to the cinema regularly, especially once they’re retired. Sometimes, there’s nothing better than relaxing at the cinema with your friends, even when you’re over 60 years old.

However, with a lot of pensioners struggling financially, treats like going to the cinema can be unrealistic.

The cost of an average cinema ticket has increased significantly over the past few years, meaning that without some form of discount, attending the cinema is simply unaffordable, especially for those on a pension.

For example, Odeon offers their Silver Cinema screenings, which cost just £3.50 and allow you to view lots of films.

With this, you will also be given free tea, coffee and biscuits either on arrival or when you get out. Vue Cinema also offers Senior Screenings, which allows anyone over the age of 60 a discount on their cinema tickets, as well as free tea and biscuits.

Everyman Cinema also offers anyone over the age of 55 a discount on their cinema tickets, along with a hot drink of their choice and a free slice of cake.

4. Winter Fuel Payment

If you were born on or after the 25th September 1957 [7] then you might be able to receive between £250 and £600 from the Government to help with your bills. You can check to see if you would qualify for this type of benefit by looking on the Gov.UK website.

5. Warm Home Discount

Likewise, if you receive Pension Credit, then you are also eligible for a Warm Home Discount. This allows you to get a discount on your winter electricity bill, usually up to £150 off your bill between October and March each year [8].

The money that you receive will be added to your electricity account as credit. If you operate on a pay-as-you-go scheme then the Government will simply send you a voucher, allowing you to top up your metre [8].










Related posts