Free bus pass: Eligibility and how to make a claim – explained
Free bus passes are available in all four corners of the UK – England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. However, it is important to note there are different rules in each country, which are likely to affect different groups. On the whole, free bus passes are available to older people in the aim of helping them to get around with ease.
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When a person reaches the age of 60, they can apply for an Older Person’s bus pass, as long as they live in Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland.
These passes can be applied for from the local council, so approaching the relevant body is key to making a claim.
The government has helped people to find out the local council they should approach, and when they can receive the bus pass, through an online tool.
This tool requires people to enter their postcode to find out information specific to their circumstances.
It matches a postcode to the local borough and council, redirecting free bus pass applicants to the correct website.
England, however, has different rules on when a person becomes eligible for a free bus pass.
At present, people can receive a free bus pass in England when they reach the female State Pension age.
This is regardless of whether someone is a man or a woman.
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Due to incremental changes, the current female State Pension age sits between 65 and 66, so it is important to pay attention.
However, there are also different rules for those who are living in London.
Londoners can travel free on buses, tubes and other transport when they turn 60, however only within the capital.
To be eligible, people must have their sole or principal residence within London.
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But once eligibility has been confirmed, how do people apply for a free bus pass?
There are once again differences depending on where a person lives.
In Scotland, to apply for a free bus pass, people should contact their local authority or the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport for details of the application process.
The local authority will then tell people if they need to complete an application form to secure their pass.
In Northern Ireland, eligible people can pick up an application form in person at a bus or rail station, or by phoning or emailing the designated free bus pass contacts, available online.
The Welsh Government currently states the quickest way to apply for a bus pass is through their online portal.
This can be done by the applicant themselves, or by a friend or family member with permission.
The website will ask for a person’s National Insurance number, date of birth and postcode.
Those who live in England are best reaching out to their local council for further information.
However, they should always have key information at hand such as proof of age, proof of residency, proof of identity, and a National Insurance number.
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