State pension increases could leave Britons waiting years for free bus pass | Personal Finance | Finance


The state pension age, which is currently 66, is expected to go as high as 70 in the next 18 years. This could leave many Britons not just longing for their retirement but also waiting longer to receive certain entitlements which may feel out of reach.

Some UK entitlements like free NHS prescriptions and bus passes come with an age requirement.

For free bus passes in some parts of the country, this means having reached the state pension age. 

This age is constantly under review, usually influenced by general life expectancy figures in the UK. 

Free bus passes are available to Britons in England over the state pension and allows them free bus transport in the country. 


However, London, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland offer free bus passes to their residents from the age of 60.

Britons who meet the qualifying criteria can apply for the scheme on the Government website where they will be put in contact with their local councils.

Free bus passes are usually distributed by local councils, with Britons advised to check with them for the exact eligibility criteria and application process. 

Additionally, the postcode and age checker on the website can showcase when one can expect to be eligible for the bus pass. 


This card scheme provides for the cardholder and additional free travel for their companions where required for eligible disabled people of any age. 

Additionally, a new scheme in Scotland allows young people aged between five and 21 free bus travel. 

The Northern Ireland SmartPass system is available for those aged 60 upwards who are permanent residents in Northern Ireland. 

There are two different passes available in this system, the first for those aged 60 to 64 years old and the Senior SmartPass for those aged 65 and over. 

Anyone looking to apply for their first SmartPass are advised to not make their application any earlier than six weeks before the day they turn 60. 

Proof of residency is also required when applying for either SmartPass.

The disparity in age requirements across the different nations stems from the connection with the state pension age. 

Because the free bus pass and state pension age are interlinked in England, as the state pension age increases so will the age requirement for free bus passes. 

Current estimations show that the state pension could rise to 67 by 2028, with more rises imminent in the future.

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