Personal Finance

Free bus pass: Pensioners will have to wait longer for travel card after rule change


Similarly, residents who live in parts of the country, such as London, are able to travel locally for free on the bus, tube and other means of transport after they reach 60 as well. However, this doesn’t apply when they’re travelling in other areas of the country.

For people who live in England, free bus passes are available to everyone who reaches the state pension age.

Comparatively, people in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are able to get a free bus pass once they turn 60 years old.

Similarly, residents who live in London are able to travel free on the bus, tube and other means of transport after they reach 60 as well.

Due to changes in the state pension age, pensioners in England will now have to wait a longer period than their counterparts in other regions of the UK for their free travel card.

While pensioners in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are not concerned about their accessibility to the free bus pass changing, those who live in England see their ability to receive being dependent on how the state pension age changes.

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Recently, the state pension age hit 66 and is set to be raised even further in the coming years.

For both men and women, the state pension age will reach 67 between 2026 and 2028 under the Government’s current schedule.

After this point, the state pension is due to increase to 68 by 2046 but this is subject to change, depending on factors such as life expectancy in the UK.

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An individual is able to get the state pension if they have at least 10 years of National Insurance contributions under their belt.

In order to receive the full amount, claimants of the state pension need to have paid National Insurance for at least 35 years. Some may get a different amount if they were contracted out.

Currently, the full new state pension for those who reach the age of 66 stands at £179.60 per week, outside of the “freebie” benefits of bus passes and TV licences.

The easiest way someone of state pension age can apply for a free bus pass is through the GOV.UK website.

Anyone looking to apply for the travel card discount must share their postcode through the Government’s online tool.

After this point, applicants will be sent the contact details of their local councils who are in charge of processing all claims.

Claimants are encouraged to contact their local council, not to be mistaken for a local authority, as soon as possible to begin their application.

Outside of the Government’s free bus pass scheme, Age UK outlines other potential travel discounts which pensioners can apply for in order to save money.

These include the Senior Railcard which is an annual savings card purchased once a year and can be used to discount most rail fares in the UK.

Furthermore, residents in London can buy a London Freedom Pass which gives pensioners a free or discounted travel across the city’s transport networks.

On its website, the charity said: “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.”

According to the Government’s schedule, the next change to the state pension will likely be sometime after 2026, so free bus passes in England are unlikely to change until then.





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