Free bus pass age is rising – how to check if you can get pass earlier

Sadiq Khan quizzed by pensioner on future of free bus passes

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A free bus pass is something that older people can look forward to in retirement as it can help cut costs when having to attend appointments or do the weekly shops as money for transport won’t have to be paid. In Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland people can apply for an older person’s bus pass (also known as a free bus pass) when they reach the age of 60.

However, in England free bus passes can only be claimed when a person reaches their state pension age.

While this is 66 at the moment, the Government has plans to increase it to 67 between 2026 and 2028.

Beyond this, it will rise to 68 by 2046.

Alternatively, there are other free travel passes that can be accessed earlier by those approaching state pension age.

If someone is 60 or over, and lives in a London borough, they can get free travel on transport services with an Oyster photo card.

This 60+ Oyster photo card allows free travel on bus, Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground, Transport for London (TfL) Rail, excluding between West Drayton and Reading.

People can travel free on TfL services from 09:00 weekdays and anytime at weekends and on bank holidays.

Travel is also free on most National Rail services from 09:30 on weekdays and anytime on weekends and public holidays.

How to apply
Britons can apply for a 60+ London Oyster photo card from two weeks before their 60th birthday.

People need to provide an active email address as well as details from a valid, machine-readable passport or your valid UK driving licence (full or provisional).

Additionally, each person needs to provide a colour image of their valid, machine-readable passport. This must be in .png or .jpg format and be less than 6MB. The image must show their photo, personal details, and passport number.

Finally, applications should include a digital photo of someone in a .jpg, .bmp or .gif file format and should be less than six MB. The debit or credit card registered at one’s address should be provided to confirm they live in a London borough, and pay £20.

After a year, Britons will need to reapply for their 60+ Oyster photo card by providing proof of their London borough address, and pay an additional £10, which is non-refundable.

Before the year runs out TfL will let people know how and when to do this.

When people apply for your 60+ London Oyster photo card, TfL will set up a photo card web account for each person. One can check their application status when they sign into their account.

Alternatively, Britons can text their application reference number to 07624 809 330 and receive a response from their SMS service (standard network charges apply.)

When reaching state pension age, each person in the UK can get a free bus pass.

To check when this is available, the Government has a free-to-use tool which allows users to check on their state pension age, Pension Credit age and free bus pass age.

To start, users will need to identify if they’re checking on their state pension or free bus pass age, which will be the same for those based in England.

Once an option is selected, users will need to enter their date of birth.

Users will then be presented with an exact date for when they can claim their free bus pass and/or state pension.

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