Sadiq Khan quizzed by pensioner on future of free bus passes
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ONE OF the perks of reaching state pension age in the UK is that people will start to receive certain benefits like a free bus pass allowing them to travel to see friends and family for free. However, not everyone has to wait until hey reach this age to see if they could benefit from free or reduced travel.
Currently the state pension age for both men and women in the UK is 66, which is when people can apply for a free bus pass.
In the future they will have to wait until they’re 67 or 68, which has caused uproar among the older generation, who rely on such freebies to top up their state pension.
However, in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, people can hop on the buses for free when they are 60.
It’s the same in London – with Transport for London (TfL) offering its residents free off peak travel around the city when they reach 60 or above.
In the capital, anyone aged 60 and above can travel for free on TfL services from 9am on weekdays as well as at any time during weekends and bank holidays.
To take advantage of this, people will need to apply for an Oystercard which will also allow them to travel for free on National Rail services within London outside of peak hours.
Age UK said that although the age when people receive a free bus pass in England is later than other parts of the UK, there are ways they can travel for cheaper.
National Express offers a Senior Coachcard for people who are 60 and above which costs £12.50 and reduces the price of travel by a third.
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To see if someone can get free travel earlier than the state pension age they should use the “Apply for an older person’s bus pass” tool on the government website.
They’ll be asked to enter a few details like their postcode.
They should be given an answer straight away.
It’s also worth checking with someone’s local authority as some will offer concessions for travelling on local public transport.
Meanwhile in Scotland, not only do over 60s travel for free but Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also recently announced the introduction of free fares for all under 22s.
It means nearly a million more young people will be allowed to travel for free around Scotland from early next year.
The introduction of the new rule has been made to help young people find jobs while also encouraging green initiatives.
The rules are different again south of the border – in England, young people have to pay for travel although they get a reduced fare.
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People might also be entitled to free travel if they are disabled.
This usually applies to people who have a condition which makes it difficult to get around.
Citizens Advice recommends that some will be able to travel for free by bus, or get 30 percent off train tickets.
It offers more advice on free travel and concessions on its website.
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