Free bus pass: Are you eligible and how can you claim one?

State Pension: Expert outlines criteria to qualify

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In England, people can apply for a free bus pass once they reach the state pension age which is 66. Comparatively, those who live in Wales and Scotland can claim this benefit once they turn 60 years of age. Applicants for the bus pass can enter their postcode into the checker to get the contact details of their local council, which is responsible for administering the bus pass.

People who live in England and Wales can carry out this task on the same webpage.

Those who are applying in Scotland and Northern Ireland will be directed to different sites to get this information.

It should be noted that local council procedures for delivering the free bus pass will be different depending on your authority.

Stephen Lowe, a group communications director at Just Group, noted how important the travel discount is to the livelihood of older Britons.

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Mr Lowe said: “The social and cultural reference to ‘freebie’ benefits means nearly all over 65s know about them but their financial value is dwarfed by other benefits which are less well known.

“The state pension alone will not provide a comfortable standard of living so checking your entitlement for other state benefits should be as much a part of planning for retirement as understanding what your private pension and other savings will provide.”

Those who have a disability are encouraged to contact their local council to learn who hands out disabled bus passes in their area.

People are considered eligible for a disabled person’s pass if they live in England and are “eligible disabled”.

Recently, the Scottish Government rolled out a new bus scheme targeted at young people living in the country.

Young people are only able to qualify if they have a new National Entitlement Card (NEC) or Young Scot NEC, with free bus passes now being extended to 2.3 million people in Scotland.

Jenny Gilruth, the devolved Government’s minister for Transport, said: “Young people have also rightly challenged us to invest in a sustainable future for them – free bus travel for all under 22s will help to deliver that.

“The Transport Scot Pass Collect app speeds up the process for existing card holders between 16 and 21, and will enable our partners to process new applications as a priority.”

For those who will have to wait longer for the free bus pass, charities such as Age UK provide insight on alternative cheap travel for pensioners.

On its website, the charity stated: “It’s also worth contacting the individual coach and train operators to see if they offer discounts for older people.

“For example, National Express offers a Senior Coachcard for people who are 60 and over. It costs £12.50 and offers a third off your travel throughout the year.

“Some local authorities offer concessions that apply to local public transport. Contact your local council for more information about what they offer.”

Outside of the free bus pass, over 60s can claim the Senior Railcard which offers discounts on train travel.

According to the railcard website, the concession could save a pensioner £98 a year on average.

Additionally, those who live in London who are on the state pension will be eligible for the Freedom Pass.

This pass offers free or discounted travel across London’s travel network, including trains, buses and trams.

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