How to apply for your free bus pass at state pension age – can you travel free earlier?

State pension: People 'rely on the DWP' to get sums right

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People living in England are able to get this travel concession once they reach the state pension age, which is currently 66. In comparison, those living in Scotland and Wales are able to get a free bus pass after they turn 60. To receive this discount pass, pensioners can apply through their local council which is responsible for administering the “freebie” benefit.

If someone applies through the gov.uk website, they will be asked to enter their postcode into the system.

Once this has been done, the website will redirect them to the postcode’s corresponding council where they can download a form to apply.

As part of the application process, potential free bus pass holders will be asked to share their personal details.

This information includes their name, age, proof of their residential address and an in-colour photograph of themselves.

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For those who still have to wait to receive their free bus pass, other discounts and concessions are available for alternative travel methods.

Many people under the age threshold opt for the Senior Railcard, which is an annual savings card for train fares.

This rail pass can be purchased once a year and can be used on most train operators across the country.

Travellers can save a third on their train fare – averaging savings of around £98 per year, according to the Senior Railcard website.

This particular concession is available for anyone aged 60 or over and costs either £30 for a year or £70 for three years

Alternatively, those of a similar age can apply for the London Freedom Pass which gives pass holders free or concession travel for residents in the capital.

This discount applies to all London transport networks, including national rail, the Underground and buses.

Depending on the travel operations, different concessions are available to people who have a disability.

For older Britons, Age UK shares special guidance on accessing the best deals when it comes to travel, especially if they cannot access the free bus pass.

On its website, the organisation stated: “It’s also worth contacting the individual coach and train operators to see if they offer discounts for older people.

“For example, National Express offers a Senior Coachcard for people who are 60 and over. It costs £12.50 and offers a third off your travel throughout the year.

“Some local authorities offer concessions that apply to local public transport. Contact your local council for more information about what they offer.”

Stephen Lowe, the group communications director at Just Group, explained why state pensioners should take advantage of the benefits that are available to them.

Mr Lowe explained: “The social and cultural reference to ‘freebie’ benefits means nearly all over 65s know about them but their financial value is dwarfed by other benefits which are less well known. 

“The state pension alone will not provide a comfortable standard of living so checking your entitlement for other state benefits should be as much a part of planning for retirement as understanding what your private pension and other savings will provide.”

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