Free bus passes explained

Page contents

When can I apply for a concessionary bus pass?

You can apply up to 28 days in advance of the date you are eligible.

  • Older persons concessionary bus pass: You will be eligible when you are aged 66.
  • Disabled persons concessionary bus pass: The eligible age is from when you reach bus fare paying age (your 5th birthday) until you reach the eligible age for an older persons bus pass. Please note: when you reach eligible age you will be transferred from a disabled to an older persons bus pass at the first instance of reapplication/replacement.

When can I use my pass?

In line with the statutory government guidance on concessionary travel as issued by the Department for Transport, the older persons and disabled persons concessionary bus pass entitles the holder to travel for free anywhere in England between 9.30am to 11pm Mondays to Fridays and at any time at weekends and public holidays.

In addition to the statutory minimum scheme requirements, a Surrey companion pass holder (identified by a +C on your pass) can also take a companion for free with them on journeys that start in Surrey at these times.

Please note: the commercial decision taken by some bus operators to provide additional concessions to older persons and/or disabled persons concessionary bus pass holders outside the statutory times does not form part of the councils English National Concessionary Travel Scheme (ENCTS).

How long is my bus pass valid for?

Usually for five years from the date of issue. The expiry date can be found on the bus pass.

A disabled persons concessionary bus pass can be issued from 3 months up to 5 years depending on either the evidence received or the reason a bus pass has been issued.

For example:

  • Eligible DWP Benefits – in line with entitlement date (3 months to 5 years)
  • Medically unfit to drive – will be reviewed annually (12 months)
  • Blue Badge – in line with expiry date (3 months to 3 years)
  • The date you become eligible for an older persons concessionary bus pass.

We reserve the right to set the expiry date of any concessionary bus pass we issue; an existing disabled persons concessionary bus pass will only be reviewed upon reapplication, within 8 weeks of the expiry date on the issued bus pass.

How long will it take to get my bus pass?

Please allow up to 15 working days for your application/re-application/replacement to be assessed.

  • If your application/re-application is successful the pass will then be sent via second class post.
  • If your application/re-application is not successful we will write to you via letter/e-mail.

My bus pass is expiring, what do I need to do?

You should renew or reapply when your bus pass is approaching expiry. You can do this up to 8 weeks before the expiry date printed on your bus pass.

You will need to provide a recent proof if you have changed address. You will also need to provide recent proof if you are reapplying for a disabled persons bus pass or a companion permit, (identified by a +C on your pass).

We will send you a reminder letter, one month before your pass is due to expire. It is important that you let us know if you have changed address.

If you were sent an automatic 12 month extension to an older persons bus pass during 2021 we will automatically renew your older persons bus pass for an additional 3 years. This will be sent one month before your current pass is due to expire.

I am moving out of Surrey do I need to change my bus pass?

You should re-apply to the local authority you are moving to. You should return your bus pass to the address printed on the reverse of the bus pass with a note explaining why it has been returned.

What does a pass look like?

The card designs are similar except that the older persons pass has a blue band on the right hand side of the card and the disabled persons pass has an orange band. A pass holder with a companion pass has as +C in the top right hand corner.

What are the conditions of use?

The pass cannot be transferred and is only valid for bus journeys within the time period prescribed; the statutory times of use are 9.30am - 11pm Monday to Friday and at all times at weekends and public holidays. The pass must be shown to the driver on boarding and to any authorised official on demand. Use of the pass is subject to the terms and conditions of the bus operator. The pass remains the property of Surrey County Council and should be surrendered if the holder is no longer entitled to the pass or no longer requires it. Should the pass be stolen or lost you should report it to the county council immediately. A replacement charge of £10 will be payable.

Where else can I travel using the pass?

Anywhere in England but not Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. Conditions of use may vary from one authority to another. However the statutory times of use are 9.30am - 11pm Monday to Friday and at all times at weekends and public holidays. Companion passes will not usually allow free travel for the companion outside of Surrey. It is wise to check before travelling in other areas of England.

What can I do if I cannot get to a library to apply for a bus pass?

We understand that not everyone will be able to get to one of the designated libraries to apply for a bus pass. In this case, you can apply online and you will need to upload a photograph. However, we still need to see documental proof and this needs to be taken to a library. If there is someone who can go to the library for you then they can apply on your behalf taking with them proof of your identity, address, age, National Insurance number, and disability or impairment. A passport photograph will also be required.

If you do not have access to the internet and no one can apply for you, please contact us for further advice.

Who is responsible for the bus pass scheme?

Surrey County Council are responsible for the administration of this national travel scheme within Surrey.

Please note that the County Council participates in a number of data matching exercises both nationally and locally. The data you have provided may be disclosed for the purposes of preventing and detecting fraudulent activity. You can find out more information about the processing in question by clicking on this link National Fraud Initiative

Can my companion travel for free too?

If you hold an older persons or disabled persons bus pass and have difficulty travelling you could be entitled to travel with a companion. This pass entitles you and your companion to free travel within Surrey. If you travel outside of Surrey your companion may be asked to pay. Having a companion pass does not mean that you must travel with a companion at all times. You can still travel on your own if you are able to, however the companion cannot use the pass to travel alone and the pass holder must be present at all times.

To qualify for a Companion Permit, (identified by a +C on your pass), you will need to provide a letter from either Social Services, Sight for Surrey or a medical professional involved in your care, stating that you require assistance in order to travel. Alternatively please supply a copy of your PIP with 12 points for the "Planning and Following a Journey" activity.

Contact us

  • E-mail:
  • Telephone: 0300 200 1009
  • SMS: 07860 053465
  • Address: Free Bus Pass, Environment, Transport & Infrastructure, Quadrant Court, 35 Guildford Road, Woking GU22 7QQ

Surrey ENCTS (Free bus pass) - Privacy notice

For information relating to how your personal information is used, please see Surrey ENCTS (Free bus pass) - Privacy notice

Subscribe to our newsletters for latest news and events.