Free bus pass: Over 60s in certain areas could get their entitlement six years earlier

Coffey says state pension age 'will not be reviewed' in September

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The six year entitlement gap in different parts of the UK has sparked outrage, but Britons are urged to claim their dues as soon as they become eligible. In England, residents can claim a free bus pass once they reach the state pension age, but those living in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and parts of the UK including London could claim at age 60.

The current state pension age is 66 but could increase further.

This could see England residents waiting six or more years to get the same travel concessions as their counterparts in other areas of the UK. 

To receive the free bus pass, residents can contact their local council in England that is responsible for administering the benefit. 

Londoners who are aged over 60 can apply online through the Transport for London website to receive their London Oyster photocard. 

This photocard provides free travel on bus, tube, tram, DLR, London Overground TfL Rail and most National Rail services in London as well as discounted fares on the Emirates Air Line and River Services. 

Applicants can use the photocard until they are eligible for a Freedom Pass.

For applicants in other parts of England, they can go to the website where they will be asked to enter their postcode. 

The site will then redirect them to their corresponding council website where they can download the application form. 

Scotland residents can apply for a National Entitlement Card  which provides free travel on local and long-distance bus services throughout Scotland. 

Residents are advised that they will need the following when applying for their entitlement card:

  • A completed application form – this may not be required by every local authority
  • A recent passport type photograph
  • Proof of their age or disability
  • Proof of their current address in Scotland.

Residents are eligible for this scheme at the age of 60 or if they are disabled. 

To apply for the entitlement card, residents can contact their local authority of Strathclyde Partnership for Transport to find out the application process in their area.

In Northern Ireland, residents can apply for two different bus passes depending on their age. 

Those aged between 60 and 64 can apply for a 60+ SmartPass up to six weeks before they turn 60. 

The 65+ or Senior SmartPass is available to those over the age of 65 but they can apply up to four weeks before they turn 65. 

In order to be eligible for either SmartPass, applicants must be permanently resident in Northern Ireland for a minimum of three months.

To apply for the SmartPasses, residents can use one of three methods:

  • Going in-person to any manned Translink bus or rail station
  • Calling 028 9066 6630 and asking for an application form to be posted to them
  • Emailing [email protected] with their name and full address with postcode and asking for a form to be posted to them.

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