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On your bus - for free!                                           February 2010  

 

 Bus passes

On your bus – for free!

busAs soon as we reach 60, most of us are entitled to a free “bus pass”. It is a word that is bandied about a lot as people reach the big six zero number, but what does it actually mean?

Basically, since April 2008 anyone who lives in England and is over 60 is entitled to a free annual bus pass. Generally, the pass is valid for off peak times between 9.30am and 11pm on Monday and Friday plus all day at weekends and on public holidays.

However, there are some general restrictions. For instance, you can’t use a service on perhaps a coach where most seats can be reserved prior to travel; and the bus passes don’t work on various tourist or special services on vehicles of special interest, ie an open-top tour bus. They can’t be used on rail replacement services, when a bus is being used because the train service is not operating at that time; and they can’t be used on services where any extras such as refreshments or car parking are included in the fare.

But generally the world of local busses is yours for the taking once you are 60. Local authorities have slightly different rules, and you may well find there are a few additional benefits for your local travel area.

Obtaining a bus pass is very easy indeed. If you live outside Greater London, you need to have proof that you are eligible (ie proof of your age); you need proof that you are a permanent resident of your area and you will need to supply a passport-sized photo. Call your local council to find out where to apply, but the process is quick and very straightforward.

If you live in Greater London, then instead you can obtain a Freedom Pass. This is slightly different and details are available on their special website.. www.freedompass.org

If you live in Scotland, don’t think you have been left out; it is just a slightly different system. The scheme is run by Transport Scotland and people over 60 need to apply for an Entitlement Card. This will allow them to travel on any bus throughout Scotland free of charge. More information is available on 0141 249 6650 or email: freebus@transportscotland.gsi.go

In Wales, residents aged 60 or more can travel free on all local buses. The concession also applies to some long-distance services and free travel can be taken at any time of the day (or night) without restriction.

In Northern Ireland, free travel is available to everyone who is aged 65 years or older and who is a permanent resident and has lived in Northern Ireland for a minimum of three months. The pass is called a Senior SmartPass and means you can travel anywhere in Northern Ireland on any Translink bus – and also on any rail service – completely free.

At the moment there is no guaranteed extension of passes into the different regions such as England to Scotland; but nevertheless the free bus pass gives a wide range of great travel options. For instance, you can take a bus 569 miles from Land’s End to Berwick upon Tweed without having to pay anything at all. You would need to do your homework on bus timetables, though!

Your local council will be able to give you full information for the area where you live.

 


 

Nutricentre Discount for laterlife visitors If in any doubt about any of the information covered in health and nutrition related articles and it's relevance for you, consult your GP.

 

 



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