Concessionary travel

Concessionary travel

Free bus travel is available throughout England for people of an eligible age and for anyone with a disability.

Concessionary travel – 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.

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 6 April 1950 (men and women)
  • if you are a woman born after 5 April 1950, you become eligible when you reach the age of eligibility for state pension
  • if you are a man born after 5 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 7317898.

Disabled people are identified as anyone who meets any of the criteria shown on the guidance notes for the disabled person’s pass.

Applying for a pass
If you want to apply for a new pass, you can apply by: 

Email:
Older person's pass Disabled person's pass Email the completed form to: Concessionarytravel@northumberland.gov.uk

By post
Concessionary Travel
Passenger Transport Unit
Northumberland County Council
County Hall
Morpeth
NE61 2EF

In person
You can apply in person at one of the county council's information centres. You can call our customer services team by phone on 0345 600 6400 for more information. Your call is charged at local rate.

If you are nearly at the age when you become eligible for an older person’s pass but have not yet done so, you can apply in advance.

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 to travel with you. You will need certification to show you are unable to travel alone.
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 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 allows us to check you are eligible, your application is properly completed, has all the necessary supporting evidence and has nothing else we need to query.
Application forms & guidance notes
Replacing a lost, damaged or stolen pass
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, which would mean 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 six months where we do not have a complete up-to-date record of why you qualify for a bus pass.
Renewing an existing pass that has expired or is due to expire
If the pass was issued by Northumberland County Council, you should do one of the following:
  • 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.
  • If you have a disabled person’s pass, take the pass and evidence you are still at the same address and you are still disabled to one of our information centres. The evidence you are still disabled is outlined in the guidance notes for a disabled person’s or companion bus pass.
  • If you have moved, take evidence your new address is still in Northumberland and (if you are applying for a disabled person’s or companion pass, evidence you are still disabled) to one of our information centres.
You need to do this as soon as possible (at least four weeks before expiry) so we can issue you with a new one. If you have moved to Northumberland but still have a pass from where you used to live, you should apply for a new pass straight away. Full details are available by ringing Northumberland County Council on 0345 6006400.
Using your pass in Northumberland
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 9am on Mondays to Fridays (with no evening time restriction) and all day Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays.
  • Holders of older people’s bus passes can also travel before 9am on journeys boarding in Northumberland, if they have a hospital appointment letter proving they need to travel earlier.
  • Holders of disabled people’s and companion passes can travel free all day any day.
Using your pass elsewhere
The scheme entitles pass holders to free travel on any off-peak local bus in England. Local buses may include some tour buses and any long-distance coach service registered as a local bus service. If in doubt, check with the bus operator.

The national scheme offers free local bus travel for those eligible from 9.30am until 11pm 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 with a valid concessionary bus pass can 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 cannot be used in Scotland. 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 has agreed additional benefits for free travel in Scotland on the following local bus services, where your journey either starts or finishes in England:
  • 18, 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 in Northumberland on cross-border routes. If you have a pass issued in Scotland, contact your local authority for details.
Other travel concessions on local buses
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 websites. Other bus operators in Northumberland may offer additional concessions.
Statutory notice
We have published a statutory notice for bus operators in Northumberland who participate in the scheme.
Taxi token scheme – Northumberland
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 fares.

To qualify, you need to show 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 two of the guidance notes.
You can apply at any time throughout the year, but you can receive only one allocation of tokens within the period 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016. Please note: there are some parts of Northumberland where no local taxi firms accept tokens. Before you apply, we strongly recommend you check the attached list of taxi firms to make sure there is one in your area that accepts tokens. Once you apply for tokens, we regret 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 0345 6006400.
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, or phone 0345 6006400.

This page was last updated on 22 June 2015.