Free bus pass entitlement: Are you going to lose free travel in major change?

Sadiq Khan quizzed by pensioner on future of free bus passes

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Free buses will be scrapped for millions of people in England under a new law. A Government move to increase the state pension age will see a large number of would-be retirees lose out on the privilege of free bus travel – a move Chancellor Rishi Sunak has been urged to axe.

State pension threshold in England is currently 66 – the same age people can apply for free bus passes at some bus firms.

But with an upcoming change to the eligibility age, many will miss out on a free bus pass for another year.

It comes at the same time as a cost of living crisis for much of the UK, with energy bills skyrocketing and tax increases for workers as of April 2022.

It has also been claimed that free NHS prescriptions could be axed for millions from April 1.

Am I going to lose my free bus pass?

Anyone who currently has a free bus pass will not lose it – the change is for incoming seniors when the state pension age changes.

The state pension age is currently 66, but the Government plans to raise it to 67 in 2028.

As eligibility for a free bus pass depends on your state pension age and when you were born, you can apply for one in the year you are due your first payments.

If you don’t know what your state pension age is, you can use this GOV.UK checker to find out: Check your State Pension age.

Those in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can travel for free on local bus services from the age of 60.

Campaigners have said the rules on free bus passes are already unfair and something needs to be done so that pensioners in all four nations are treated the same.

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What transport benefits can I get if I am elderly?

While bus passes may be scrapped for some, there are other discounts you can get on public transport if you’re of a certain age.

The Senior Railcard is an annual savings card bought for a one-off cost each year and it will allow you to make big savings on most rail fares in the UK.

Currently, a senior railcard will set you back £30 a year, and will give you a third off the cost of a train ticket.

All those over 60 can get a senior railcard, and you can purchase online or in most train stations.

If you live in the Capital, a London Freedom Pass gives you free or discounted travel for London residents across London transport networks, including trams, national rail, the underground, river services, and buses.

As with the senior railcard, you can apply for a London Freedom Pass online or at any London rail station.

But even these crucial passes have been subject to changes, with a temporary suspension of free travel for Older Person’s Freedom Pass and 60+ passengers during morning peak hours currently in place since June 2020.

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