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Travel perks and discounts for older people

Find about the concessions, discounts and other schemes that allow older people to travel free or at a reduced cost.
4 min read
In this article
Older person’s free bus pass Senior Railcard discount Individual coach and train operators
London Taxicard scheme The Blue Badge scheme

Older person’s free bus pass

In England, you can get an older person’s bus pass for free travel when you reach the female state pension age, whether you’re a man or a woman. 

If you live in London, you can travel free on buses, tubes and other transport when you reach the age of 60 using the 60+ London Oyster photocard. The London Freedom Pass (for which you need to reach the state pension age) provides free or discounted travel across London transport networks, including buses, trams, national rail, the underground and river services. It also allows free local bus journeys nationally.

Use the Which? Money State pension eligibility calculator to find out when you’ll become eligible for a bus pass in England.

In Northern Ireland, you can get a SmartPass. To be eligible you must be aged 60-64 for a 60+ SmartPass and 65+ for the Senior (65+) SmartPass. For each, you must have been permanently resident in Northern Ireland for a minimum of three months.

In Scotland and Wales, you can get an older person’s bus pass from the age of 60.

How to apply for a bus pass

If you live in England or Wales, contact your local council for more information on how to apply.

In Northern Ireland, get a 60+/Senior (65+) SmartPass application form in person from a manned Translink bus or rail station or phone 028 9066 6630 (deaf and hard of hearing applicants can use textphone: 08001 9066 6630). Alternatively, email smartpass@translink.co.uk and ask for a form to be posted to you.

In Scotland, apply for a National Entitlement Card through your local council. The NEC scheme provides free travel on registered local and long-distance bus services throughout Scotland.

Bus pass renewal

The procedure for a bus pass renewal varies depending on your local council. Check with your council if you need to renew your bus pass annually or if it will be renewed automatically.

Senior Railcard discount

The Senior Railcard is a nationwide annual savings card for people aged 60 plus. The Railcard gives a one-third discount off most rail fares in the UK and costs £30 for one year or £70 for three years.

You can order it online from the Senior Railcard website or apply at most staffed railway stations.

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Individual coach and train operators

Some travel operators offer discounts for older people. For example, National Express has a Senior Coachcard, which costs £12.50 (plus £2.50 postage and packing) for 12 months travel and offers a third off your travel. You need to be 60 years old to apply.

London Taxicard scheme

If you live in London, the London Taxicard scheme provides subsidised transport for people with serious mobility problems who find it difficult to use public transport. It is funded by the London boroughs and TfL and managed by London Councils on their behalf.

You are automatically eligible for a Taxicard if you:

  • receive the Higher Rate Mobility Component of the Disability Living Allowance  (DLA)
  • receive 8 points or more for the Moving Around Activity component of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • are registered severely sight impaired or blind (not partially sighted)
  • receive a War Pension Mobility Supplement
  • receive the Armed Forces Independence Payment (mobility element).

In some boroughs there are additional eligibility criteria. For more details on eligibility, check the Taxicard FAQs on the London Council’s website. 

If you are not in one of the above categories, you may still be eligible. But you’ll need to complete an application form and provide medical evidence. You may be required to have a mobility assessment.

To apply for the scheme, you must fill in an application form for the London borough in which you live. Visit the application page on the London Council’s website. There is also information about the number of trips you are eligible for each year and the maximum fare you should pay.

The Blue Badge scheme

If you have substantial mobility problems or a disability (including certain non-visible disabilities), you may be eligible to apply for a Blue Badge.

A Blue Badge allows eligible people to park closer to their destination. This includes parking for free on yellow lines, in some ‘pay and display’ parking bays and dedicated disabled parking  spaces. The permit can be used in any vehicle as long as the badge holder is present (whether they are driving or being driven by someone else).

Find out more about Blue Badge eligibility, how to apply and where you can use one:

Further reading

Benefits for older people

Read about the benefits available in later life: Attendance Allowance, PIP, Winter Fuel Payment and more.

The Blue Badge scheme

A Blue Badge allows people with disabilities to park closer to their destination. Read about eligibility and applying.

Last updated: 21 Apr 2021