A guide to the over-60 bus pass and transport
Last updated 18th August 2023
5 min read
If you’re over the age of 66, or are over 60 and live in London, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, you may be eligible to apply for a bus pass for free and discounted travel. This helps to make getting around easier and more affordable for older people who may be reliant on their pension or no longer able to drive.
This guide will detail the eligible bus pass age within the UK, who is entitled to a free bus pass, and whether you need to renew your bus pass once it expires.
We'll take a look at the following topics:
- Who is entitled to a free bus pass?
- How do I get a free bus pass in the UK?
- Is there a free bus pass in London?
- Do I need to renew my bus pass?
- I'm moving out of my area. Do I need to change my bus pass?
- What are the new rules for the over-60 bus pass?
Who is entitled to a free bus pass?
The different nations and local authorities within the UK have different bus pass age requirements. You can apply regardless of whether you have retired or are still working.
To be eligible for a free older person’s bus pass in England, you must have reached the State Pension age, which is currently 66 for both men and women. In Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, you are eligible to apply for a bus pass from the age of 60. Check your government’s website to confirm your eligibility for an over-60 bus pass (links below).
There are also London-specific bus passes for those living in a London borough, which we'll look at in more detail below.
How do I get a free bus pass in the UK?
Depending on where you live, you can usually apply for a bus pass up to a month in advance of the date you become eligible. You can apply either online or by post, depending on which is most convenient for you.
To apply for a bus pass or check your eligibility for an over-60 bus pass, visit your nation’s government website. This will provide you with all the information you need about how to apply, how long it will take to receive your bus pass, and what identification documents you will need for your application.
You can find the relevant pages below:
- England(www.gov.uk opens in a new tab)
- Wales(www.gov.uk opens in a new tab)
- Scotland(www.transport.gov.scot opens in a new tab)
- Northern Ireland(www.nidirect.gov.uk opens in a new tab)
Is there a free bus pass in London?
For older people who live in London, there are two over-60 bus pass options, depending on your eligibility. These are only valid for travel within London.
60+ London Oyster photocard
If you live in a London borough, you can apply for a 60+ London Oyster photocard(tfl.gov.uk opens in a new tab), which costs £20 and offers free travel within London.
The 60+ London Oyster photocard offers:
- Free travel on bus, Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground, Elizabeth line (excluding between West Drayton and Reading), and most National Rail services in London
- Free travel on TfL services from 09:00 weekdays and anytime at weekends and on bank holidays
- Discounted fares on River Services
Once you reach the eligible age, you can apply for a free Older Person’s Freedom Pass(www.londoncouncils.gov.uk opens in a new tab). This is in line with the State Pension age, which is currently 66.
The Freedom Pass offers:
- Free travel on bus, Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground, and Elizabeth line services
- Free travel on TfL services from 09:00 weekdays, and anytime on weekends and bank holidays
- Free travel on National Rail services in London after 09:30 weekdays, and anytime on weekends and bank holidays
- Free travel on local buses all over England between 09:30 and 23:00 on weekdays, and anytime on weekends and bank holidays
You can also apply for a Disabled Person’s Freedom Pass(www.londoncouncils.gov.uk opens in a new tab) at any age if your sole or principal residence is in London, and you have any of the statutory disabilities listed in the Transport Act 2000(www.legislation.gov.uk opens in a new tab). If you have a Disabled Person’s Freedom Pass, you can travel at any time on the above services.
Do I need to renew my bus pass?
Whether or not you need to renew your bus pass depends on your local constituency.
Some local authorities will automatically renew your bus pass for you, so you don’t have to do anything to continue enjoying free travel. Others will send you a reminder that your over-60 bus pass is about to expire, and you will need to apply for a new one.
If you need to renew your bus pass, if you’ve changed address, or if your bus pass has been lost, stolen or damaged, you can contact your local council online or by phone to replace it.
I'm moving out of my area. Do I need to change my bus pass?
Bus passes are tied to your local authority. If you're moving outside of your local area, you won’t be able to use your current bus pass once you move.
Instead, you will need to apply for a new over-60 bus pass in the local authority you’re going to live in. You should return your old bus pass to the previous local authority and explain why you’re returning it. Your nation’s government website will be able to direct you to the right local authority for you to apply for a bus pass when you move.
What are the new rules for the over-60 bus pass?
You might have heard about some new rules affecting the over-60 bus pass, stating that it will no longer be available. This is not true, at least for the time being.
The confusion comes from the announcement that the UK government is planning to increase the State Pension age from 66 to 67 by 2028. This means that a large number of would-be retirees will have to wait an extra year to reach the eligible bus pass age. However, the over-60 bus pass is not being taken away from anyone.
People living in England can still apply for a bus pass when they reach 66, and this is not expected to change until 2028. Those who live in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can still travel for free on their local bus services from the age of 60.
 https://www.gov.uk/apply-for-elderly-person-bus-pass(opens in a new tab)
 https://www.transport.gov.scot/concessionary-travel/60plus-or-disabled/(opens in a new tab)
 https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/60-smartpass-and-senior-65-smartpass(opens in a new tab)
 https://tfl.gov.uk/fares/free-and-discounted-travel/60-plus-oyster-photocard?intcmp=54724(opens in a new tab)
 https://www.londoncouncils.gov.uk/services/freedom-pass/older-persons-freedom-pass(opens in a new tab)
 https://www.londoncouncils.gov.uk/services/freedom-pass/disabled-persons-freedom-pass(opens in a new tab)
 https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/38/section/146/enacted(opens in a new tab)