This free bus pass benefit was created to support older people in getting around, whether it is to attend doctor’s appointments, undertake the weekly shop, or to see friends and family, the free bus pass helps keep older Britons from being isolated and stuck in their home or area. Currently, those who live in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and London can get a free bus pass at the age of 60. This is because devolved nations have control over their own travel policy.
However, in England, eligibility for the free bus pass is aligned with the UK’s state pension age which is currently 66 years.
Under existing Government legislation, the state pension age threshold is set to increase to 67 years old within the next decade with the white paper for this set to be published by early next year.
This change to the state pension age could force many Britons to wait even longer for travel support than they previously anticipated.
The change to the state pension age is due to be implemented by 2028 and will rise further to 68 between 2044 and 2046.
READ MORE: Pensioners could get ‘lifeline’ payment worth up to £370 per month
There is speculation currently as to whether the increase to 68 may be brought forward to as soon as 2033, however no confirmation on this has been made.
This change is based on the Government’s expectations regarding life expectancy and retirement in the UK.
A previous review of the state pension age in 2017 suggested that retirement should make up a third of a person’s life.
The current Work and Pensions secretary Mel Stride recently said the pension would be increased even though life expectancy in the UK is not rising and that a final decision will be delivered in a matter of months.
He told MPs: “I think there are various moving parts in assessing where we should go with the state pension age.
“One of them is life expectancy and more precisely, what proportion of your life should we expect people to have in retirement as opposed to not in retirement?
“Another is the cost, and if you look at the consequences of us living longer, and you look at that, for example, as expressed in the financial stability report that the Office for Budget Responsibility produces every year, where it casts out 50 years and says ‘what are the public finances likely to look like given the demographic change that’s going on?’, the cost of pensions being an element within that, it all gets pretty hairy.”
“So there is also certainly this other element of ‘what’s the cost going to be’? I think there are other issues – intergenerational fairness, when you look at the split between how long somebody works to support those that are not working.”
READ MORE: NS&I announces December 2022 Premium Bonds prize winners
Off-peak travel is when you travel any time between 9.30am and 11pm, this can be up to midnight in some areas, through Monday to Friday, and all day at weekends and on public holidays.
Similar travel schemes are available for other groups across the country, offering discounts on bus journeys.
Those who have certain disabilities can also apply for free travel passes and includes people who are deaf or unable to speak, someone who cannot walk very far because of disability, illness or injury, those with a severe learning disability and those who don’t have arms or can’t use their arms.
People who have been refused a driving licence because of their health provided it’s not because of problems with drugs or alcohol, are able to get one.
Those who are claiming Universal Credit from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) may be able get 50 percent off their travel while looking for work.
If people think they may be able to apply for a free bus pass, they should get in touch with their local council.