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Free bus passes explained

Possible delay during April and May 2019

We are transitioning to a new Free Bus Pass IT system. Whilst we are working hard to minimise any impact to customers, our turnaround time has been affected. Please be aware our current turnaround time is 5 to 6 weeks – but we will continue to endeavour to do this more quickly

Important changes to concessionary bus travel from 1 April.

  1. When can I apply for a concessionary bus pass?
  2. How long is my bus pass valid for?
  3. How long will it take to get my bus pass?
  4. I am moving out of Surrey do I need to change my bus pass?
  5. When can I use my pass?
  6. What does a pass look like?
  7. What are the conditions of use?
  8. Where else can I travel using the pass?
  9. What can I do if I cannot get to a library to apply for a bus pass?
  10. Who is responsible for the bus pass scheme?
  11. Can my carer or companion travel for free too?

1. 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: The eligible age for both men and women is the woman's pensionable age. Visit the Gov.uk website to find out when you will be eligible using the State Pension Calculator. Age of eligibility is gradually changing from 65 to 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.

2. 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 for 3 months – 5 years depending on either the evidence received or the reason the benefit of a bus pass has been provided.

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.

3. How long will it take to get my bus pass?

The pass will be sent via second class post; if your application is successful.

  • Older persons free bus pass please allow up to 15 working days for your application to be processed.
  • Disabled persons free bus pass please allow up to 28 working days for your application to be processed.

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

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

5. When can I use my pass?

The older persons and disabled persons concessionary bus pass entitles the holder to travel for free between 9.30am to 11pm Mondays to Fridays and at any time at weekends and public holidays. A companion pass holder can take a companion for free with them only in Surrey within the conditions of travel for their pass.

Important changes to disabled and companion bus passes from 1 April 2019

From 1 April you will no longer be able to travel for free before 9.30am or after 11pm on weekdays with a disabled or companion pass.

Travel is still free between 9.30am and 11pm on weekdays and any time at the weekend and on public holidays.

Local bus operators might offer travel at a reduced fare for disabled pass holders. Please check with your local bus operator if they will offer this.

More information can be found on our Changes to concessionary travel for disabled and disabled companion pass holders page.

We have an easy read version of the guidance available to download below.

6. 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.

7. What are the conditions of use?

The pass cannot be transferred and is only valid for bus journeys within the time period prescribed below. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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

11. 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.

Files available to download

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