Concessionary Travel

also known as: Bus pass - older people, Disabled bus pass.

Free bus travel throughout England, for people over the age of eligibility and for anyone with a disability

Introduction

Northumberland County Council participates in the government's English National Concessionary Travel Scheme (ENCTS). The national scheme entitles passholders who are resident in England to free off-peak travel on local bus services throughout England. The scheme is free and easy to use, once you have your pass. You can nip into town more often, or explore new places. Just check the bus times and let someone else do the driving. Travel for free and go further by bus!

Two groups of people qualify for a concessionary travel pass: eligible older people and people with a disability.

Eligible older people means:

  • Anyone born before 6th April 1950 (men and women);
  • If you are a woman born after 5th April 1950 you become eligible when you reach the age of eligibility for state pension;
  • If you are a man born after 5th April 1950, you become eligible when you reach the pensionable age of a woman born on the same day.

To check whether you are an eligible older person, click here to see the government's age calculator or phone 0800 731 7898.

Disabled people means anyone who meets any of the criteria shown on the Guidance Notes for the Disabled Person’s pass.

If you want to apply for a new pass, you can apply by post at Concessionary Travel, Passenger Transport Unit, Northumberland County Council, County Hall, Morpeth NE61 2EF.

Alternatively you can apply in person at one of the county council's Information Centres; click on this link for the addresses. You can call our customer services team by phone on 0845 600 6400 for more information - your call is charged at local rate.

If you are shortly to reach the age when you become eligible for an Older Person’s pass but have not yet done so, you can apply in advance, but please do not apply more than a month in advance; we will keep your application on file as we cannot issue a pass until you become eligible.

If you are unable to travel alone, and can meet other criteria, you can apply for a Companion Pass. This enables a friend, relation or carer of your choice to travel with you. You will need certification to show you are unable to travel alone, and the application form (see below) shows you how to apply.

Please note the following important points:

  1. Receipt of your application does not automatically mean we will issue you with a pass. If your application is incomplete or unclear, or omits the necessary supporting evidence, we will have to contact you. This will result in your application being delayed.
  2. We aim to send out bus passes within 15 working days of receiving a valid application. This means one that demonstrates that you are eligible, is fully and properly completed, has all the necessary supporting evidence and has nothing else that we need to query.

If you have lost or damaged your concessionary bus pass or it is faded so details cannot be seen, you can apply for a replacement from where you obtained the original pass. The charge for a replacement pass is £15, unless you have had your pass stolen and can provide a Crime Number, in which case replacement is free.

If your pass does not work on the Smartcard reader when you get on the bus, but there is no obvious sign of damage, you can have a free replacement pass. All you need to do is take the defective pass to an Information Centre and show it to the staff there who will request a new pass for you.

It may be necessary to issue a replacement pass that is only valid for 6 months where we do not have a complete up-to-date record of why you qualify for a bus pass.

For a form to apply for a replacement pass, click on the link above.

If the pass was issued by Northumberland County Council, you should do one of the following

  1. If you have an older person’s pass, take the pass and evidence you are still at the same address to one of our Information Centres.
  2. If you have a disabled person’s pass, take the pass and evidence that you are still at the same address and that you are still disabled to one of our Information Centres. The evidence that you are still disabled is outlined in the Guidance Notes for a Disabled Person’s or Companion Bus Pass – click on the link above.
  3. If you have moved, take evidence that your new address is still in Northumberland and (if you are applying for a disabled person’s or companion pass, evidence that you are still disabled) to one of our Information Centres.

You need to do this as soon as possible at least four weeks before the expiry date so we can issue you with a new one. We aim to send passes out within 15 working days

If you have moved to Northumberland but still have a pass from where you used to live, you should apply for a new pass straightaway. Full details are available by ringing Northumberland County Council on 0845 600 6400.

In Northumberland the scheme is operated by Northumberland County Council.

For bus journeys starting in Northumberland, the Council has extended the times when passes are valid as follows:

  • Holders of Older people’s passes can travel all day from 9.00 am on Mondays to Fridays (with no evening time restriction) and all day Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays.
  • From 1st September 2013, holders of Older peoples bus passes can also travel before 9am on journeys boarding in Northumberland if they have a hospital appointment letter with them proving they need to travel before that time.
  • Holders of Disabled people’s and Companion passes can travel free all day any day.

The national scheme entitles pass holders to free travel on any off-peak local bus in England. The definition of a local bus may include some tour buses and the element of any long-distance coach service that is registered as a local bus service – if you are in doubt you should check with the bus operator.

The national scheme offers free local bus travel for those eligible from 9.30 am until 11 pm on Mondays to Fridays, and all day Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays

You cannot use the pass on the Metro system in Tyne and Wear or on local train services. Residents of Northumberland who hold a valid concessionary bus pass can also purchase a Nexus Gold Card which allows free off-peak travel on the Metro system. The Gold Card costs £25 for a year's travel and can be bought from Nexus Travelshops. See the Nexus website for more details.

Concessionary passes issued by English authorities are not available for use in Scotland. However holders of English passes are able to travel on parts of some cross-border routes from Northumberland, provided the journey starts or ends in England.

Northumberland County Council have agreed additional benefits for free travel in Scotland on the following local bus services where your journey either starts or finishes in England:

  • 18/19, 260 - Berwick to Duns
  • 60 - Berwick to Galashiels via Duns
  • 67 - Berwick to Galashiels via Kelso
  • 34, 235, 236, 253 - Berwick to Eyemouth
  • 131 - Newcastle to Jedburgh

On the following local bus services, free travel is only available for journeys wholly in England:

  • 710 - Newcastle to Coldstream/Kelso
  • 32 - Berwick to Swinton
  • 87 - Berwick to Kelso

These details are also shown in the guidance notes.

Passes issued in Scotland are not generally available for use on buses in England, but the Scottish authority may offer travel on sections of route in Northumberland on cross-border routes. If you have a pass issued in Scotland, contact your local authority for details.

Some local bus operators in Northumberland offer concessionary fares without direct involvement from the local authorities. Examples are Arriva's Teen Card and Go North East's Get-Around schemes for young people and students. For more details look at the Arriva or the Go North East website. Other bus operators in Northumberland may offer concessions in addition.

Northumberland County Council provides a concessionary taxi token scheme for eligible residents across the county. The scheme offers tokens to the value of £50 for a cost of £10, and you use them like cash for journeys by taxi to cover the cost of all or part of the fare.

To qualify for the scheme you need to show that you can fulfill all of the following criteria:

  • You live in Northumberland;
  • You are disabled, and are unable to use public transport because of your disability;
  • There is no car or van in your household;
  • You are in receipt of certain means-tested benefits, as listed on page 3 of the guidance notes.

You can apply at any time throughout the year, but you can receive only one allocation of tokens in the period 1st April 2014 to 31st March 2015.

Your Taxi Token application form only covers the period up to the following 31st March. If you want to receive Taxi Tokens after that you must contact us for a new application form. These will not be sent out automatically.

Please note that there are some parts of Northumberland where no local taxi firms accept tokens. Before you apply for tokens, we strongly recommend that you check the attached list of taxi firms to make sure there is one in your area that does accept tokens. Once you apply for tokens, we regret that we cannot refund the cost in any circumstances.

If after reading these documents you need any further information or have any questions, please call into one of our Information Centres or call Customer Services on 0845 600 6400.

Statutory Notice

We have published a Statutory Notice for bus operators in Northumberland who participate in the scheme. This is our Notification of Arrangement for Concessionary Travel Scheme for April 2013.

To see the Statutory Notice click here.

To see a revised Statutory Notice applying from 1st September 2013 click here.

Any questions?

If you have further enquiries about concessionary travel in Northumberland, you can contact us by sending an email to ConcessionaryTravel@northumberland.gov.uk.

This page was last updated on 22nd May 2014