Freedom Passes for older people

English National Bus Scheme

The scheme entitles all older and most disabled freedom pass holders to free travel on local bus services in England outside London between 9.30am and 11.00pm Monday to Fridays and all day at weekends and on public holidays. To be able to benefit from this concession, you must have a freedom pass with the rose logo and a security hologram.  

What is the definition of a 'local' bus?

The definition of a 'local bus' will be self-evident in most cases, but in a few instances could include some longer distance buses and coach services where part of their route is registered as a local bus service. If in doubt, freedom pass holders can check with the service operator or local Transport authority in that area.

I have a second home in London and my main home is outside Greater London. Can I apply for a Freedom Pass?

The definition of a 'local bus' will be self-evident in most cases, but in a few instances could include some longer distance buses and coach services where part of their route is registered as a local bus service. If in doubt, freedom pass holders can check with the service operator or local transport authority in that area.

Are all Freedom Pass holders able to use their pass anywhere in England?

A few disabled passes are issued under the discretion of your local borough and the Government has given local councils no powers to extend the eligibility of these passes to include the national bus concession. These passes will not have the rose logo and security hologram.

I have a discretionary disabled pass which does not have the rose logo and security hologram. Does this means I am losing any entitlement to travel?

No. You are advised to contact the local transport authority of the area in which you wish to travel in advance to find out about the accessibility of buses in that area.

Will I be able to use my Freedom Pass on local buses in London which are not part of the Transport for London bus network?

In most cases, yes. A list of eligible routes is available on the www.freedompass.org  website. You can also check with the relevant bus company.

Will I be able to use my Freedom Pass on National Express coaches?

In most cases no. However, there are a few places where National Express provides a local bus service and in these cases the freedom pass will be accepted within the eligible times. You should check with National Express before you travel - www.nationalexpress.com  or 08705 808080

What happens if I want to travel on a bus outside London outside the times that my Freedom Pass is accepted (9.30am to 11.00pm)?

Generally, you cannot use your pass to travel outside of these times and will have to buy a valid ticket for the journey. It is advisable to check with the relevant bus company before you travel or you can contact Traveline (http://www.traveline.org.uk/  or 0871 200 2233).

I am visiting Scotland/Wales/Ireland. Can I use my Freedom Pass there?

No. There are no reciprocal arrangements between England and other countries for the acceptance of each others' concessionary passes.

What happens when a bus service starting in England reaches the border with Scotland or Wales?

The national bus concession guarantees free off-peak local bus travel for eligible residents within England, but not within Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. However, local transport authorities do have the discretion to make special arrangements (which are funded locally) where they feel they are appropriate. This could, for example, include free travel on cross-border journeys. It is advisable to check with the relevant bus company. 

If I am allowed to travel beyond the border with England or Wales, would I be able to use my pass for a return journey starting in England or Wales?

It will be for the local transport authority making the arrangements with neighbouring authorities in England and Wales to determine eligibility for free return journeys.


I have a relative/friend visiting London from elsewhere in England and they have a national bus pass. Can they use this in London?

People holding a national pass issued by another English authority can use that pass on local bus services in Greater London between the hours of 9.30 am and 11.00 pm Monday to Friday, anytime at weekends and on public holidays. Passes from outside London are not valid on the tube, trams, DLR and National Rail at any time.

I have a relative/friend visiting from Scotland/Wales/Ireland. Can they use their concessionary travel pass in London?

No. There are no reciprocal arrangements between England and other countries for the acceptance of each others' concessionary passes.  

If I experience poor service when using my pass outside London who do I complain to?

You should complain to the relevant bus company in the first instance. If you are not satisfied with the response you can complain to the relevant local transport authority.