Category Archives: bus pass

SNP minister Humza Yousaf raises ‘concerns’ over free bus passes

Scotland’s transport minister has been accused of “freely admitting” a potential shake-up over free bus travel after he raised “concerns” over their long-term sustainability. Humza Yousaf made the comments just weeks before the results of a wide-ranging consultation on raising the age of eligibilty.

He said it was important to find a balance with the scheme and ensuring affordability, due to Scotland’s ageing population. Mr Yousaf said there was “concern around the longer-term sustainability” of the scheme, with Scottish ministers considering raising the age of eligibilty. He added: “We know that we have an ageing population, an ageing demographic – as most of western Europe does – and therefore we have to find a balance between making this scheme fair, realising the benefits of it, and making it sustainable in the long term.

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Don’t forget to renew your bus pass in good time or you may lose out

A bus pass user from Northumberland has had an unhappy experience travelling into Newcastle-upon-Tyne on 2nd June 2016 – she hadn’t realised that her bus pass had expired 2 days previously and found to her cost that there was no mercy shown – PAY THE FARE! she was told.

As we get older we don’t always remember when these dates are coming up. A few, but not many areas send out a reminder letter.

Many local authorities make if quite easy to renew bus passes online, but if you are not sure we recommend checking on your council website – often the County Council – which you can find from our ‘Where to Apply’ pages.

Here’s why London’s new mayor should scrap the £100m free travel bung for older workers | CityMetric

not a wise move if he wants to be re-elected, though with most of the country having to wait to age 66 and London 60+ passes covering tube also it sounds quite generous.

new dream home in Castle Donington could come with a free bus pass!

A DEVELOPER building 33 homes in Castle Donington will provide two free bus passes for each household.

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Pensioner publishes book on free bus pass used to travel 700 miles on 10-day UK trip

Dave Hadfield’s had Parkinson’s for five years, but he didn’t let that stop his epic public transport odyssey and his adventures are recounted in a new book, Route 63: Around England on a Free Bus Pass.

When Dave Hadfield was ­diagnosed with Parkinson’s ­disease, he feared his globe-trotting days were over.

England on a bus pass

But the 63-year-old journalist made the most of the free bus pass that his disability brought him – and set off on an epic journey around England – all without paying a penny.

Dave boarded the first bus he saw at the stop around the corner from his home in Bolton.

A month later he had travelled nearly 2,000 miles by local services.

The fact that bus passes issued by locals councils can be used in most areas of the country allowed him to complete more than 100 journeys.

Dave’s trip last year took him to the Welsh Borders, west to Land’s End, along the south coast to Dover, through London and up the eastern side of the country to Newcastle, then back through the Pennines and the Lake District.

His adventures are recounted in a new book, Route 63: Around England on a Free Bus Pass.

STUNNED pensioner had her bus pass confiscated and told: “our records show that you’re dead.”

A STUNNED pensioner had her bus pass confiscated and was then told: “I’m sorry, our records show that you’re dead.”

Maria Illingworth, who is 70 years old and a grandmother-of-four, said she “almost passed out” when a town hall worker said they thought she was deceased.

She said she had been “embarrassed and confused” when the bus driver insisted he had to take her pass from her and is calling on Bournemouth council to ensure the same mistake is not made with anyone else.

The problem arose when she tried to board a Yellow Bus to take her from her Hengistbury Head home to her doctor’s surgery. She had used her free bus pass two days before with no problem but this time it triggered an alert to the driver that it could be being used fraudulently.

He said he had no choice but to confiscate it and Mrs Illingworth had to pay to board the bus.

“It was so embarrassing,” she said. “The bus was full and everyone was looking at me and I just couldn’t understand what the problem could be. It was lucky I had my bag with me and enough money to get on the bus.”

She went straight to Bournemouth town hall and waited to see an advisor.

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many people whose old cards have expired in Scotland are suddenly discovering they don’t qualify for a new pass

Bus pass eligibility is too narrow

IN 2006, Jack McConnell’s Labour-LibDem coalition introduced the National Bus Travel Concession Scheme in place of a patchwork of regional concession schemes. That should have been a good thing.

It created a uniform arrangement across Scotland, ironing out inconsistencies and ending disparities. Some local authorities had issued free bus passes to those on the lower rate of Disability Living Allowance, while others had refused.

Unfortunately, the new national scheme failed to level everyone up. Instead, it excluded those on lower-rate DLA.

Now many people whose old cards have expired and are due for renewal are suddenly discovering they don’t qualify for a new pass. For those with significant learning disabilities, this is a devastating blow. They now have to deal with the complexities of making sure they have change for the bus and explaining their destination to the driver. Many people with learning disabilities will never drive a car, or work full-time, or earn much more than the national minimum wage. Yet they will forever be forced to pay full fare on our expensive public transport.

It also means that a 60-year-old man in full-time employment can get a bus pass but his 18-year-old autistic daughter can’t.

I’m all for universality. I’d be up for a publicly funded free transport system for all. But if we are to choose who gets a bus pass, surely people with learning disabilities should be at the front of the queue?

Enable’s Stop the Bus campaign is asking the Scottish
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The political parties have been pretty quiet on retaining bus passes – are you concerned? ?

The retention of bus passes was quite an issue in the 2010 general election but doesn’t seem to have had as much attention this time round – which causes us some concern. It wouldn’t be a good thing to find after the election that whoever forms a government has a free hand on these issues.

“Ed Miliband has said he would take benefits away from rich pensioners, pledging to protect “winter fuel payments to all but the wealthiest as well as bus passes and free TV licences to all those currently eligible“. We have italicised words here. The wording could be taken to mean that those who have bus passes would be OK, but woe betide those who are hoping to get one in the future.

The Daily Telegraph has reported a fairly useful review of Welfare & pension policies but no mention of bus passes- other than Ed Miliband’s pronouncement mentioned above.

Of course we realise that the state pension age is a much more significant issue for pensioners, the effects of which are felt in much more substantial terms by those having to wait longer to get their pension, as we previously reported

In case you had forgotten, the state pension age is currently 65 for men and gradually increasing for women from 60 to 65 – it’s 62 and a half from April 2015. From December 2018, it will start to increase for both men and women to reach 66 by October 2020. The government is planning further increases, which will raise the state pension age from 66 to 67 by 2026. They will then review it every five years in line with life expectancy.

Nevertheless we recommend pensioners raising questions about the bus pass with candidates and TV debates wherever they can.

Pensioner travels from Lanzarote to Liverpool on bus pass

A retired teacher travelled from Lanzarote to Liverpool without a passport by showing a photocopied bus pass as an I.D. document.

John Williams, from Toxteth, was packing to return home from a family holiday when he found his passport had been stolen from the hotel room safe.

He reported the crime to police and then took his family to the airport, thinking he would have to fly home another time.

The 65-year-old told the Ryanair check-in desk what had happened and was initially advised to contact the British Consulate for a temporary passport.

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Pensioner travels from Lanzarote to Liverpool on a photocopied bus pass

05:00, 11 February 2015
By Helen Davies

John Williams had his passport stolen while on holiday


Richard Williams John Williams and the bus pass that he used instead of his passport
John Williams and the bus pass that he used instead of his passport

A retired teacher travelled from Lanzarote to Liverpool without a passport by showing a photocopied bus pass as an I.D. document.

John Williams, from Toxteth, was packing to return home from a family holiday when he found his passport had been stolen from the hotel room safe.

He reported the crime to police and then took his family to the airport, thinking he would have to fly home another time.

The 65-year-old told the Ryanair check-in desk what had happened and was initially advised to contact the British Consulate for a temporary passport.

Mr Williams asked if the airline would consider alternative identification and was told it would be considered.

He spoke to his niece back in England and arranged for her to email a photocopy of his bus pass to the Ryanair desk.

He said: “I pointed out that the bottom of the bus pass says ‘given out by Her Majesty’s Service’. I was trying everything to get back.

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Our comment: we have always recommended taking your bus pass with you, it is a good means of identification and is sometimes accepted in unusual places. e.g. an English bus pass may not be accepted in Scotland, but is we are told in Sweden. We would like to hear from people who have been able to make use of their bus pass outside home waters. If you offer your bus pass you never know your luck, the driver might like your face !

Should Pensioners give their bus passes to students ?

The Association of Colleges is calling for new rules that give elderly people the right to hand their free bus passes to hard-up teenagers to enable them to get to college

Pensioners should give up their free bus passes to enable teenagers to receive cut-price travel to college, education leaders said today.

A new system should be introduced that allows the elderly to waive their right to free travel to enable 16- to 18-year-olds to gain qualifications, it was claimed.

The Association of Colleges said the reforms were needed because teenagers were currently being forced to pay up to £700 a year to access courses – pricing some out of further education altogether.

It was claimed that colleges themselves spend “huge amounts of money” subsidising transport for students but more drastic action was needed to make the system more sustainable.

Currently, all people are eligible for free off-peak travel on local buses when they reach pensionable age, irrespective of income.
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Our comment: somehow we don’t see this ever coming to fruition.

Using a bus pass in London

Bus Pass holders planning a visit to London ask us very frequently ‘Can I use my bus pass in London?’ to which our reply is always ‘Yes you can if your bus pass was issued in England’ and will have a English National Bus Pass Symbolred rose symbol on it.

It is important to mention though that bus passes issued outside London aren’t accepted on the Tube, rail or ferry services in London. Why should that be ? Well the theory is that when the National Bus Pass scheme was brought out in 2008, local authorities received, and still receive funding to cover the cost [local councils will say ‘Ah but not enough funding to cover the cost’ – but that is another issue.] The English National Concessionary Travel Scheme (ENCTS)provides for use of bus passes between 9.30 am and 11pm Monday to Friday, and anytime at weekends.

April 2016 Update on using a bus pass in London


There are other options for saving on Tube fares in London, e.g.

Holders of bus passes issued in Merseyside or Greater London from age 60 (i.e. earlier than the ENCTS) should note that these passes cannot be used outside their home area – these passes don’t have a ENglish National Bus Pass Symbolred rose symbol on them.

Further information about different conditions for using bus passes

In some districts councils have decided to improve on the ENCTS conditions by:

  • Extending the weekday hours – often by making the bus pass usable before 9.30 am e.g. Staffordshire allow any time during the week.
  • Making the bus pass acceptable on local metro/rail services/tube e.g. Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Greater London

Where this has happened the extra ‘benefits’ are only available for residents of the area concerned, e.g. travelling on the Merseyside Metro system with a bus pass is only available to holders of Merseyside Travel Pass.

Further information on variations in bus pass schemes in different local authority areas can be found on our Local Variations page.

We hope this explanation helps, we didn’t make these rules, we are just trying to make them understandable.

Hartlepool Man raises £1500 for 11 month old baby with aggressive epilepsy using bus pass

A FORMER chimney sweep is back home after making his way from the southern-most to the northern-most part of the country – using nothing but his bus pass.

Bob Waite got dropped off at Land’s End, in Cornwall, last Friday, and the next day began a mammoth 550-mile bus trip to Berwick, in Northumberland.

He was sponsored for the unusual trip, and estimates to have raised about £1,500 for 11-month-old Oliver Osborn, who suffers from aggressive epilepsy.

Dad-of-two Bob, who lives in Blackhall with wife Denise, said: “Getting home was the most phenomenal feeling.”

The 63-year-old made it to Berwick at 3pm on Thursday after a week that saw him catch about 42 buses and meet some generous characters along the way.

His route covered towns including Taunton, Tewkesbury, Stratford-upon-Avon, Leicester, Nottingham, Chesterfield, Wakefield and Leeds.

With just six minutes to spare, he caught a connecting bus to Scarborough, and then Middlesbrough, Stockton, Newcastle and Berwick.

Bob said he met some really helpful people who advised him of the best directions, and also thanked a group of drinkers he met in Tiverton, Devon, who pledged £25.
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