How to apply for a bus pass
Central Bedfordshire Travel Pass - no time restriction
This means that you (and your companion, if applicable) can board a bus at any time in Central Bedfordshire and travel free as far as that bus goes. If that bus takes you outside of Central Bedfordshire, you may not be able to return free until after 9.30am on weekdays.
To travel free on local buses, these must be registered as “local services” which is a legal definition covering most buses (and some coaches) running to a fixed timetable. Most long distance coaches are excluded from the scheme.
You are not allowed to travel free on excursions, tours or school services which are closed to the general public. Please contact us if you are in any doubt as to whether the service you want to use is a local bus.
The English National Concessionary Travel Scheme - time restrictions
The English National Concessionary Travel Scheme allows people of state pension age and over (or younger people with a qualifying disability) to travel on local buses free of charge anywhere in England.
The English National Concession applies at off-peak times - 9.30am to 11.30pm on Mondays to Fridays and all day Saturdays and Sundays.
Valid in England only
Your English National Concessionary Travel Pass is valid for free off-peak travel anywhere in England but not in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
You may use your Travel Pass at any time within the Borough of Luton. At off-peak times, you may travel as far as the bus goes, but in the morning peak you are restricted to journeys wholly within the area of Luton, Dunstable and Houghton Regis. This concession also applies to companion passes.
You may use your Travel Pass at any time for journeys starting in Hertfordshire. This concession also applies to companion passes. Please note that your pass is not valid on community transport or dial-a-ride, and you are not permitted to travel on commuter coach services to central London prior to 9.30am on Mondays to Fridays.
There is no concession for Central Bedfordshire pass holders before 9.30am. If you have a companion pass, you and your companion may travel free on any bus within Bedford Borough during off-peak periods.
If you were born before 6 April, 1950 then you are eligible for an older person's bus pass.
If you were born after 5 April, 1950, the age at which you become eligible is tied to changes in the State Pension age for women. This affects both men and women.
Women born after 5 April, 1950
If you are a woman born after 5 April, 1950, you will become eligible for an older person’s bus pass when you reach pensionable age.
Men born after 5 April, 1950
If you are a man born after 5 April, 1950, you will become eligible when you reach the pensionable age of a woman born on the same day.
The Government service and information website carries a State Pension age calculator. You can check when you will become eligible by entering your date of birth into the calculator. (NB enter your gender as female).
There are seven categories of disability under which a person can be entitled to concessionary bus travel. An eligible person is someone who:
- is blind or partially sighted
- is profoundly or severely deaf
- is without speech
- has a disability, or has suffered an injury, which has a substantial and long term adverse effect on his or her ability to walk
- does not have arms or has long-term loss of the use of both arms
- has a learning disability, that is, a state of arrested or incomplete development of mind which includes significant impairment of intelligence and social functioning, or
- would, if he applied for the grant of a licence to drive a motor vehicle under Part III of the Road Traffic Act 1988, have his application refused pursuant to section 92 of that Act (physical fitness) otherwise than on the ground of persistent misuse of drugs or alcohol.
You are automatically eligible for a bus pass if you can prove (with an award letter or exemption certificate) that you:
- are in receipt of Higher Rate Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance (HRMCDLA), or
- have received a score of 8pts or more under PIP activity 12 (Moving Around), or
- have received a score of 8pts or more under PIP activity 7 (Communicating Verbally), or
- are in receipt of War Pensioner’s Mobility Supplement (WPMS)
You are also eligible if you have been issued with a disabled person’s parking badge / Blue Badge.
If you cannot provide any of the above, the following evidence is required:
Blind or partially sighted
We need to see:
- a Certificate of Vision Impairment or
- proof that you are registered with Social Services or
- a letter from an eye specialist (optometrist)
Profoundly or severely deaf
We need to see:
- proof that you are registered with Social Services or
- a letter from an aural specialist
We need a letter from a medical practitioner.
Without both arms
We need evidence of limb reduction or amputation.
Without the use of both arms
We need a letter from medical practitioner which confirms that you are unable to use your arms to carry out day-to-day tasks.
Disability or injury
If you have a disability or injury which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on your ability to walk (i.e. you can only walk with excessive labour and at an extremely slow pace or with excessive pain or breathlessness), we will need:
- a letter from medical practitioner which states that your walking ability is long term and substantially impaired
- we reserve the right to send you to a physiotherapist for independent assessment of your ability to walk
If you have a learning disability which significantly impairs intelligence and social functioning, we need:
- a letter from a medical practitioner
- proof that you are registered with Social Services
You can apply if you would be refused a driving licence on medical grounds (other than for the persistent misuse of drugs or alcohol) under Section 92 of the Traffic Act 1988, including conditions such as:
severe mental disorder
liable to sudden attacks of giddiness or fainting
inability to read a registration plate in good light at 20.5 metres (with glasses, if worn)
other disabilities which are likely to cause the driving of vehicles by them to be a source of danger to the public
If you apply on this basis, we need:
a letter from DVLA indicating that your driving licence has been refused or revoked, or
a supporting letter from medical practitioner.
We reserve the right to send you for independent assessment of your condition.
You need to provide:
- a colour passport photograph. We can only accept passport quality and size photos. These must be recent (taken within the last 12 months) and full face. We may have the facility to take your photo at your local customer service centre – please 0300 300 8308 to check
- proof that you are a Central Bedfordshire resident (e.g. council tax statement, recent utility bill, recent bank statement, letter from solicitor)
Application on the grounds of age
If you are applying on the grounds of age, we need proof that you have reached state retirement age (e.g. passport, birth certificate, marriage certificate, state pension book or entitlement card).
Application of the grounds of disability
If you are applying on the grounds of disability, you must be of fare-paying age and must provide proof of your disability.
You can send your application and supporting documents to:
Central Bedfordshire Council
You can hand deliver your documents to any of our customer services centres.
Please do not send valuable documents through the post (passport, driving licence). Either take them to a customer services centre or post copies.
Your Travel Pass will be posted to your home address within 10 working days of your application being approved.
If you require a Companion Pass, we need your GP (or qualified medical practitioner) to sign and stamp a certificate to confirm that you are unable to use public transport without another person to accompany you.
Your doctor may charge for making this assessment.
Please call us on 0300 300 8308 straight away.
We may be able to tell you if it has been handed in. If your pass has been lost or damaged, we will issue you with a replacement for which there may be a charge of £10. This charge cannot be refunded if you later find your pass.
Please report the theft to the police. There is no charge for replacing a stolen pass, provided that it has been recorded as a crime and a crime reference number is obtained.
As soon as you have a crime reference number, call 0300 300 8308 for a replacement.
The English National Concessionary Travel Scheme applies only to buses. However, people who hold a Travel Pass issued by Central Bedfordshire Council can also travel for half the normal adult fare on:
- First Capital Connect trains between Sandy, Biggleswade and Arlesey and any station as far as Hadley Wood, Crews Hill and Royston
- First Capital Connect trains between Bedford and Elstree & Borehamwood
- East Midland trains between Bedford and Luton Airport Parkway
- London Midland trains between Bedford and Bletchley
You may travel at the discounted rate between any pair of stations within the limits above. Discounts are valid from 10am on Mondays to Fridays and all day Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays. You may purchase discounted tickets from any staffed ticket office (or from ticket vending machines by purchasing a CHILD ticket).
They are not available on-line. You must carry your valid Concessionary Travel Pass with you throughout the journey and must show it on demand.
Scheduled coach services are not included in the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme, except those which are registered as local services (for example, Green Line 757, Stagecoach X5 or Stagecoach 99). Some coach operators (e.g. National Express) operate concessionary half-fare schemes on scheduled coach services. Concessions may not be valid on every day of the week, or on every route, so check when booking your ticket whether you qualify for a discounted fare.
These are designed to offer a door-to door service for people who are unable to use ordinary public transport because of frailty or due to a temporary or permanent disability. The vehicles are constructed for ease of access, even for wheelchair users.
The staff can give you a greater level of assistance than can the staff of conventional bus services; the drivers can escort you to or from your door, but cannot transfer you from your wheelchair. You will need to be a member of your local scheme (an annual charge usually applies) and will need to book both the outward and the return part of your journey, giving as much notice as possible.
The driver will collect your fare on the bus. If you are a registered member of a dial-a-ride scheme AND you have a Central Bedfordshire Travel Pass, you can travel at a concessionary fare (currently £1.50 per single trip, £3.00 return).
We no longer issue separate passes for dial-a-ride users, although existing passes will be accepted until their expiry date.