Concessionary travel on local buses
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
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
- 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
- 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
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.
Applying for a 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
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
- Receipt of your application does not automatically mean
we must 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.
- 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.
Application forms and Guidance notes
Click here for guidance notes for the older
Click here for the form for an older person's
Click here for guidance notes for the disabled
Click here for the form for a disabled person's
Click here for the form and guidance notes for a
Click here for the form for a replacement
Replacing a lost, damaged or stolen
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.
Renewing an existing pass that has expired or is due to
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
- 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.
- 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
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.
Using your pass - 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
- 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.
Using your pass - elsewhere
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 £35 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
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
- 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.
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
website. Other bus operators in Northumberland may offer
concessions in addition.
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 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 2013 to 31st March 2014.
the full guidance notes for the scheme, click here.
the application form for taxi tokens, click here.
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.
list of the participating taxi operators, click here.
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.
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
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 21st