Free bus pass entitlement may be affected due to state pension age change

Sadiq Khan quizzed by pensioner on future of free bus passes

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A free bus pass can help older people get out and about if they need to, or for their own leisure. This could be for tasks such as attending doctor’s appointments, picking up medication, or simply visiting friends or family. Regardless of the reason for a free bus pass, it can be a lifeline to life outside the home, and so many people are keen to understand the entitlement. 

State pension increases are set to impact when a person can receive the sum from the Government.

However, free bus pass entitlement could also be impacted as an indirect result of these changes.

The free bus pass age varies depending on what part of the country a person lives in.

In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, people can expect to receive their free bus pass at the age of 60.

Devolved governments have control over travel, hence the reason for this age in the respective regions.

There is a key difference, though, for individuals who are living in most parts of England.

Here, the free bus pass age is directly aligned to the state pension age. 

The Government website states: “In England, you can get a bus pass for free travel when you reach the state pension age.”

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At present, state pension age is 66, so this is when people can expect their free bus pass.

However, with the state pension age set to rise in the near future, a free bus pass entitlement may be longer away for older people.

One of the key exceptions to the rule is in the capital, London, where entitlement differs.

Those living there can travel free on buses, tubes and other transport such as the DLR or tram when they reach the age of 60.

But this is only permitted for travel which occurs within the capital city, somewhat preventing travel further afield. 

State pension age changes could be closer than people may have originally anticipated.

This is due to a review which is set to be undertaken by the Government on the timetable for implementing age rises. 

It is to consider bringing forward the age at which people become eligible for the state pension to 68.

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Under the review, this could be moved to 2037 to 2039, a significant difference from the current timetable.

At present, a gradual rise to 68 is planned between 2044 and 2046.

The review will take place from now until May 2023, with the Government considering a wide range of choices.

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