Disabled people are entitled to a bus pass giving free off-peak travel on local bus services anywhere in England.

Eligibility and evidence you will need to provide

To be entitled to a disabled person’s bus pass, you must meet one or more of the criteria below and provide supporting evidence and include this with your application.

You will be eligible if:

  • you are registered with your local authority, or entitled to be registered as blind (severely sight impaired); or
  • you are registered, or entitled to be registered as partially sighted (sight impaired).

You will not be eligible if:

  • you are not entitled to be registered by your local authority.

Proving that you are eligible

Evidence we accept
  • a certificate of visual impairment (CIV) completed by an ophthalmologist;
  • form BD8 (issued from 1990, but replaced by the certificate of visual impairment);
  • evidence of registration with the local authority as being blind (severely sight impaired) or partially sighted (sight impaired);
  • blue badge - your pass will expire at around the same time as your blue badge;
  • evidence of residency at a registered home for the blind (severely sight impaired) or partially sighted (sight impaired); or
  • for veterans, the reasons for decisions’ letter under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCAS).

In general terms a person can be registered blind (severely sight impaired) if they cannot see (with glasses, if worn) the top letter of the eye test chart (used by doctors and opticians) at a distance of three metres or less.

Some people, who can read the top letter of an eye test chart at three metres, but not at six metres, may still be eligible for registration as blind if their field of vision is also severely restricted.

A person can be registered as partially sighted (sight impaired) if they have a full field of vision but can only read the top letter of the eye test chart at a distance of six metres or less (with glasses, if worn). However, if they can read the next three lines down at the same distance, but the field of vision is either moderately or severely restricted, they may still qualify for registration.

You will be eligible if:

  • you have both arms but are unable to carry out day to day tasks;
  • you have limb reduction deficiency of both arms;
  • you have bilateral upper limb amputation; or
  • you have a medical condition which affects the use of your arms. For example, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injury, motor neuron disease.

You will not be eligible if:

  • you have one arm and are able to carry out day to day activities.

Proving that you are eligible

Evidence we accept
  • documents which demonstrate that you have lost the use of your arms over the long term (12 months or more);
  • your blue badge - your pass will expire at around the same time as your blue badge; 
  • a letter from your medical practitioner who is treating you; 
  • for veterans, the reasons for discussion letter under Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCAS); or
  • visual assessment by staff (self-evident that the applicant has bilateral upper limb amputation).

You will be eligible if:

  • you have a learning disability which includes significant impairment of intelligence and social functioning skills. This can include downs syndrome and other learning disabilities.

You will not be eligible if:

  • you have dyslexia, dyspraxia or attention to deficit disorder - these would not qualify as a 'significant impairment of intelligence and social functioning';
  • your intelligence is not impaired, even if your disability affects your social functioning;
  • you are applying because of mental health problems; or
  • your condition started after you became an adult (for example a brain injury).

Proving that you are eligible

Evidence we accept Evidence we cannot accept

Information which confirms you:

  • have significant impairment of your intelligence and significant impairment of your social functioning;
  • are known to a local authority as having a learning disability.
  • have evidence of residency at a registered care home for the disabled; or
  • have evidence of attendance at a registered special school.

We may also ask you to send additional information such as a statement of education health care plan (EHCP) or special educational needs (SEN).

Information which says you have:

  • learning difficulties;
  • asperger's syndrome;
  • autistic spectrum disorder;
  • a letter which says you would benefit from having a bus pass; or
  • a letter which asks you to be considered for a bus pass because you need one.

None of the above provides evidence that your intelligence is significantly impaired.

You will be eligible if:

  • your hearing loss is severe or profound (greater than 70 dBHL in both ears)

You will not be eligible if:

  • your hearing loss is mild or moderate (69 dBHL or less, in your better ear).

Proving that you are eligible

Evidence we accept
  • confirmation that you are registered as profoundly or severely deaf from a local authority;
  • a letter from audiologist or audiological report which demonstrated that you have hearing loss of more than 70 dBHL in both ears; or
  • for veterans, the reasons for decision letter under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCAS).

Hearing loss is graded as:

  • 25 - 39 dBHL is mild - cannot hear whispers.
  • 40 - 69 dBHL is moderate - cannot hear conversational speech.
  • 70 - 94 dBHL is severe - able to hear some words when shouted.
  • > 95 dBHL is profound - unable to hear and understand even a shouted voice. 

You will be eligible if:

  • you have epilepsy and your current experience of seizures means that you would not be eligible for a driving licence;
  • you have diabetes and have suffered more than one hypoglycemic attack requiring the assistance of another person within the last 12 months;
  • you have a severe mental disorder which means you would be refused a driving licence or have your driving licence revoked by the DVLA; or
  • you cannot read a registration plate in good light at 20.5 metres (with lenses).

You will not be eligible if:

  • you are refused a driving licence by the DVLA as a result of the misuse of drugs or alcohol;
  • you are advised not to drive for medical reasons, or for the sake of your health, but are allowed to keep your driving licence. For example you are recovering from surgery or because driving would make the medical condition worse;
  • the reason you cannot drive is short term (less than 12 months) and you are not required to surrender your licence;
  • the reason you cannot drive is because of the side effects of medication that you are taking (unless your driving license is revoked or refused because of it);
  • you suffer from mental health issues (such as anxiety or depression) which would not cause you to be refused a driving license;
  • you have a life-limiting condition or serious illness, unless you are at risk of seizures as a result; or
  • you have dementia. Current DVLA guidance states you may be able to drive, but must notify the DVLA. The DVLA acknowledge that there are varied presentations and rates of progression, and the decision on licensing is usually based on medical reports. If you are subsequently refused a driving licence after such assessment, and you can provide evidence of this, you will then become eligible.

Proving that you are eligible

Evidence we accept Evidence we cannot accept
  • a letter from the DVLA indicating that your driving licence has been refused or revoked following an assessment;
  • a letter from the DVLA accepting the surrendered driving licence, together with evidence confirming the relevant medical condition would mean the applicant’s driving licence would be refused or revoked;
  • information from a medical professional which confirms that you would be refused a driving licence (other than because of drug or alcohol dependency); or
  • evidence which demonstrates you have one of the disabilities or medical conditions which would be covered by Section 92 of the Road Traffic Act 1933.

You will also need to show whether the refusal of the driving licence is permanent (for example because of a lifelong condition) or temporary (for example because of an isolated seizure).

  • advice not to drive because of medication (unless it explicitly states that you must hand back your driving licence or that a driving licence would be refused);
  • letter from the DVLA indicating that you have voluntarily surrendered your driving licence;
  • a letter which states you would be unable to drive but which does not give the reason;
  • anything which indicates that the reason you cannot drive is linked to the misuse of alcohol or drugs;
  • a letter which says you would benefit from having a bus pass; or
  • a letter which asks you to be considered for a bus pass because you need one.

Under the Road Traffic Act 1988 you may be refused a driving licence on the grounds of your medical fitness. Those currently barred from holding a licence include people with:

  • epilepsy (unless it is a type that does not pose a danger);
  • severe mental disorder;
  • liability to sudden attacks of giddiness or fainting;
  • inability to read a registration plate in good light at 20.5 metres (with lenses, if worn);or
  • Other disabilities which are likely to cause the driving of vehicles by them to be a source or dander to the public.

You do not have to apply for a driving licence in order to qualify. However, if you are in possession of a current driving licence you cannot apply under this category. Applicants under this category may have their details passed to the DVLA for the purpose of fraud prevention.

You will be eligible if:

  • you are unable to walk at all;
  • you can only get about by swinging through crutches (long term);
  • you are unable to walk more than 64 metres with severe discomfort;
  • it takes an excessive amount of time to walk a short distance (e.g. five minutes to walk 100 metres); or
  • the exertion to walk would constitute a danger to your life or would likely lead to serious deterioration in your health.

You will not be eligible if:

  • your mobility problems are short term (less than 12 months), or
  • you are able to walk relatively normal with the use of an artificial leg.

Proving that you are eligible

Evidence we accept Evidence we cannot accept
  • your blue badge - your pass will expire at around the same time as your blue badge;
  • current Personal Independence Payment (PIP) award letter (including the point’s breakdown) which shows eight or more points for moving around;
  • current DLA letter showing mobility component at the higher rate; or
  • for a veteran, proof of receiving War Pensions Mobility Supplement or the reasons for discussion letter under Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCAS).
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP) award of 6 points or less for moving around;
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP) award of moving around but no breakdown of how the points have been awarded;
  • DLA mobility component at the lower rate;
  • DLA care component at any rate;
  • a letter which lists your medical conditions;
  • a letter which says your mobility is affected by a medical condition;
  • a letter which says you would benefit from having a bus pass; or
  • a letter which asks you to be considered for a bus pass because you need one.

You will be eligible if:

  • you are unable to communicate in any language. For example, you are unable to make clear basic oral requests or you are unable to ask specific questions to clarify instructions.

You will not be eligible if:

  • you have speech but it is too low or difficult to understand. For example, you have a severe stammer; or
  • you cannot speak English, but you speak another language.

Proving that you are eligible

Evidence we accept
  • evidence that you have been awarded eight points or more for the communicating verbally activity of Personal Independence Payment (PIP);
  • a letter from social services, or another appropriate organisation providing support services, stating you are without speech; or
  • documents which demonstrate you are without speech.

Apply

Before applying online, please ensure you have the following to hand otherwise you will not be able to apply online: 

  • a digital passport quality photo to upload to your application;
  • a valid email address; and
  • your supporting evidence.

Apply for your bus pass

Further information

Approximately four to six weeks before expiry, we will automatically send you a reminder for a new pass. We will send this to the address you provided when initially applying for your pass. If you have moved house within the last five years, then please let us know your new address so we can keep your records up to date.

There is no automatic renewal for a disabled person's bus pass. When renewing your bus pass you will need to, once again, provide documentary evidence as you did when you applied initially, and ensure you meet one or more of the eligibility criteria.

If you have moved out of North Yorkshire and your pass is due to expire, then you will need to apply to your new local authority.

If you move away from North Yorkshire, you must return your pass and apply for a pass from your new local authority. Please include a covering letter to explain why you have returned your pass. If the pass holder dies, please return the pass to us.

If you move to another part of North Yorkshire, you should phone us and select option 3 to tell us your change of address.

If you need any help applying for your bus pass, our web chat service is available during office hours or you can phone us.

Assistance to complete your online application is available at the following libraries. Please phone the library before visiting, to check they are able to assist when you plan to visit.

Please remember to bring your supporting evidence with you.

Access to a computer and scanner, for uploading supporting evidence, is available at all local libraries. Please phone the library before you visit as you may need to go on a specific day or time.

When boarding a bus show your pass to the driver then place it on the ticket machine to record your journey. On some buses without this equipment, the driver will record your journey manually.

The North Yorkshire and York scheme allows some disabled pass holders to receive the free concession for a companion travelling with them in North Yorkshire and City of York. The companion entitlement is not generally available elsewhere in England. However, some scheme areas may allow free travel for a companion so do ask when you board the bus. You do not have to take the same companion on every journey, but they must board and get off the bus at the same location as you.

General terms and conditions of a bus pass

Use of the pass is subject to the terms and conditions of the North Yorkshire and York scheme as well as the terms and conditions of the operator on whose vehicle the journey is being made.

Possession of a bus pass gives no priority over other passengers and does not guarantee any person the right to a seat on any vehicle.

The county council reserves the right to amend the terms of the scheme and to withdraw, amend or replace any pass.

The pass remains the property of the county council and is not transferable. It may be used only by the person whose name and photograph appear on it. Any attempt to use the pass fraudulently will result in the pass being withdrawn.

The pass is not valid if it is out-of-date, illegible, damaged or altered.

Frequently asked questions

When exactly can I travel?

Your pass is valid for use on bus services in York and North Yorkshire from 9am to 6am the following morning on weekdays and anytime on a weekend and bank holidays. Elsewhere in England it can generally only be used from 9.30am to 11pm weekdays and anytime on weekends and bank holidays.

Can I travel anywhere in England for free?

Yes, but you cannot travel in other areas of the UK, for example Scotland and Wales.

Is my pass valid for travel in London?

Yes, your pass is valid for free off peak bus travel in London. Only London residents can enjoy the additional benefits offered by the London Freedom Pass such as free travel on the underground.

Can I use my bus pass on any bus service?

No. The vast majority of bus services will accept your pass for free travel. Some services such as tour buses, park and ride, or services primarily for the purpose of tourism are excluded. Your pass will generally entitle you to a reduced fare on these services.

Can I use my pass on any other transport?

No. Bus passes are not valid for taxis, rail services, tour buses, park and ride or coach services. They are only valid on eligible local bus services.

What do I do if my pass is lost or stolen?

You must tell us, as this will help prevent it being used fraudulently. We will send you a replacement pass.

Do I have to pay for a replacement pass?

If your pass has been stolen, and you can supply a crime reference number, there will be no charge. If your pass has been lost or damaged there will usually be a £5 charge.

I am moving house. What do I need to do?

You must contact us and notify us of your change of address.

If you are moving out of North Yorkshire you must return your pass, as you are no longer entitled to the concession from the county council. You will be able to apply for a pass from your new local authority.

A person is eligible for a companion pass if they cannot travel alone because of their disability. Companion passes are an enhancement to the national scheme and a discretionary element of the North Yorkshire English National Concessionary Scheme. 

You will be eligible if:

  • you are sight impaired (partially sighted) or severely sight impaired (blind); or
  • you require support whilst travelling because of your disability.

You will not be eligible if:

  • you are a child, but do not meet the evidence criteria below.

Proving that you are eligible

  Documents
Evidence we accept
  • Evidence that you are sight impaired (partially sighted) or severely sight impaired (blind). See accepted documents for blind or partially sighted above.
  • Current DLA award letter showing mobility component at the higher rate.
  • Current DLA award letter showing care component at the higher rate.
  • Current attendance allowance award letter showing award is at the higher rate.
  • Current PIP award letter showing enhanced rate mobility or daily living.
  • Evidence that you have a learning disability (see accepted documents above), are age 19 or under, and in full time education attending a special school.
  • We may also accept medical evidence which clarifies reasons for needing support whilst travelling. However, this will be on a case by case basis.
Evidence we do not accept
  • DLA award letter showing mobility component at the lower rate.
  • DLA award letter showing care component at the middle or lower rate.
  • Attendance allowance award letter showing award is at the lower rate.
  • PIP award letter showing standard rate Mobility or Daily Living.

Generally the companion entitlement is only valid for journeys in the issuing authorities’ area, however for some of our adjacent authorities there are reciprocal arrangements where the companion pass will be accepted. The pass will only be accepted for the cross boundary part of the journey, and not for onward journeys.

Participating authorities

  • East Riding of Yorkshire Council
  • West Yorkshire PTE
  • Kingston Upon Hull City Council
  • South Yorkshire PTE
  • North Lincolnshire Council
  • South Yorkshire PTE
  • North Lincolnshire Council
  • North Yorkshire County Council
  • North East Lincolnshire Council
  • City of York Council

Whilst you are entitled to free travel anywhere in England within permitted off peak times, your companion will only be entitled to free travel on journeys where the local authority allows this discretionary element. If you travel in an area where it is not permissible, your companion will have to pay for their own travel.

If you have lost or damaged your disabled person's buss pass, there will be a charge of £5 for a replacement.

If your pass has been stolen, and you have a crime reference number from the police, we can issue your replacement pass free of charge.

Please phone us and select option 3 to arrange for a replacement pass.

Once a replacement pass has been requested, your old one will stop working. If your pass was damaged, you will still be able to use it by showing it to the driver until your new one arrives. The driver must be able to tell that it belongs to you by clearly seeing the photo on the front of the pass.

In North Yorkshire and York you can use your pass on local bus services at any time, except between 6am and 9am on weekdays.

The following services are an exception to this and you can use your pass between 6am and 9am.

Service Time From Destination
X34 8.53am Middleton Tyas Scorton
24 7.40am Pateley Bridge Harrogate
29 8.42am Raskelf York
22 8.38am school days
8.13am school holidays
Ripon York
30 8.30am Reeth Richmond
80 7.50am Hutton Rudby Northallerton
136 8.12am Melmerby Ripon

You can travel free across the rest of England between 9.30am and 11pm on Monday to Friday, and all day on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays.

Exception to using your pass

You can use the pass on all registered local bus services in England with the following exceptions: 

  • You cannot use the pass on long distance coach services;
  • Passes are not valid on local park and ride services but discounted fares are available; and
  • Passes are not valid on services that operate primarily for the purposes of tourism; see below.

Services on which passes are not valid

Yorkshire Dales area - summer 2017

Service number Route Time
882 York - Ripon - Fountains Abbey Summer Sundays and Bank Holidays
825 Ripon ‐ Fountains Abbey ‐ Pateley Bridge ‐ Upper Nidderdale / Grassington Summer Sundays and Bank Holidays
830 Preston ‐ Lancaster ‐ Kirkby Lonsdale ‐ Ingleton ‐ Hawes ‐ Richmond Summer Sundays and Bank Holidays
830* Middlesbrough ‐ Darlington ‐ Richmond ‐ Hawes ‐ Ingleton Summer Sundays and Bank Holidays
833 Lancaster ‐ Bentham ‐ Ingleton ‐ Slaidburn ‐ Clitheroe Summer Sundays and Bank Holidays
859 Richmond ‐ Leyburn Summer Sundays and Bank Holidays
881 Morecambe ‐ Lancaster ‐ Ingleton ‐ Settle ‐ Malham Summer Sundays and Bank Holidays

* you can use this service only if your journey begins outside of North Yorkshire.

Scarborough area

Service Number Route
108 / 109 Scarborough Sea Front Tour buses
64 / 65 Scarborough Park and Ride Services
P1 / P2 Whitby Summer Seasonal Park and Ride
1 Whitby Summer Tour Services

Other areas

Service Number Route
127 Ripon ‐ Hawes Vintage Tour Bus
ME1 Moors Explorer: Hessle ‐ Hull ‐ Pickering ‐ Danby

Other service types

Generally community transport demand responsive services operated under Section 19 permit are not eligible services and concessionary pass holders are not entitled to free travel. A discounted fare will often be offered.

Use of your bus pass is subject to  terms and conditions (pdf / 40 KB).